Chicken in a spicy plum curry

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Le dish.

Now when I say spicy, I mean full of spices and not just hot chillies. And when I say curry, it’s more of thick gravy. But it tastes amazing, probably one of the better chicken dishes I have made in a while. I have to say that my lemongrass chicken still stands out though.


Umian Lake. It falls on the way to Shillong from Guwahati.

We went to Umiam Lake the other day and I was mesmerised by the weather, the rain, the clouds and the greenery. It was heartbreakingly pretty. The lake, which actually a reservoir from a dam on the Umiam river, is just the perfect getaway if you are looking for some peace of mind. And I learnt they have house boats too! Definitely my next stay in Shillong would be in one of those.


DSC_0106 (2)We got a kilo of plums and two pineapples back from the trip. Yay! I was so excited to begin cooking with fresh seasonal fruits I had to get them.

Coming back to the dish, it is very simple (like most of my recipes) and you don’t really have to do much. The plums were not sour, but not sweet either. So we had to add a lot of extra flavours.

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Red, juicy and a fun to eat – plums!


Ingredients –


  • Chicken – 500 grams, preferably the meaty parts (thighs and breast)
  • Ginger & garlic paste – 2 tablespoon
  • Lemon juice – 2 tablespoon
  • Coriander seeds – 1 tablespoon
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tablespoon
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tablespoon
  • Green cardamom – 3-4 whole
  • Paprika powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Chilli powder – half tablespoon
  • Turmeric powder – half teaspoon
  • Flour – three-fourth cup
  • Chicken stock – 1 cup
  • Plums – 5-6 medium-sized, de-seeded and chopped
  • Balsamic vinegar – 1 and half tablespoon
  • Sugar – 2 tablespoon (1 spoon will do if your plums are sweet)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil – 1 tablespoon (any vegetable oil)
  • Coriander leaves to garnish
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Toasting the spices.


Method –


  • In a large bowl, mix the chicken pieces with the ginger-garlic paste, salt and lemon juice and leave for at least an hour. I left mine overnight so that it absorbs maximum flavour.
  • In a small pan lightly toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and cardamom together. Now grind them in a blender to form and coarse spice powder. In a large bowl, mix flour, turmeric powder, chilli and paprika powder and add the powder. Mix well. You can season this slightly.
  • Heat oil in a large flat pan. It’s important to have a flat pan so that you can spread the chicken out. It will cook evenly and you don’t have to keep stirring.
  • Coat the chicken pieces in the spice mix one-by-one, just a light layer. Dust off any excess powder and gently place them on the pan. You can turn down the heat as you add them to the pan.
  • After you have added all the pieces, just give the pan a nice shake from the handle. Turn up the heat and fry for 2 minutes till the spice coating is nicely brown. Keep your eyes on the chicken all the time!
  • Now lower the heat again and turn over all the pieces to the other side. The smell right now will be incredible. Just add a little more oil at this stage to help the frying. Turn the heat up and fry for another 1 and a half-minute or till the other side browns.
  • Once they have got that colour, remove them from the pan and onto a plate. It’s sauce time!
  • You’ll see that the spice powder bits are left over in the pan. Add the chicken stock to this. If you like some white wine, add half the stock and half a cup of white wine. Let it come to a bubble and add the plums, followed by the balsamic vinegar and a little salt.
  • Let this come to a nice boil. Scrape the charred powder bits into the sauce to turn it into gravy. Place the chicken back into the pan now. You don’t need to stir, just shake the pan from the handle.
  • Cover the pan and let it bubble away for seven minutes on a low heat. After that, just turn the chicken onto to the other side and cover and cook for another seven-eight minutes on a low heat.
  • Add the sugar now and a little more water if it looks a little dry. Cover a cook for another five minutes. You could just add a little cashew paste right now to make it a little rich in texture. But I am happy with this as it is.

DSC_0159Garnish with the coriander leaves and serve it with some rice or flatbread. It is good and easy, and you should make it for your friends next weekend and receive warm applause. Happy cooking!

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