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Chicken and Apricot Masala

 1 cup dried apricots
 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
 1 teaspoon ground cumin
 1 teaspoon ground coriander
 4 cloves
 4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
 1 tablespoon minced garlic
 1 tablespoon minced ginger
 1/4 cup peanut oil
 1 cinnamon stick
 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
 1 teaspoon salt
 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
 4 medium tomatoes, cut into  1/2-inch dice
 2 tablespoons tomato paste, diluted in  1/2 cup water
 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves.

1. Soak apricots overnight in 2 cups cold water, or cover with 2 cups hot water and
soak until swollen and softened, 2 to 3 hours.

2. Prepare masala: In a small bowl, combine hot pepper flakes, cumin, coriander,
cloves, cardamom, garlic and ginger. Add  1/4 cup water, and stir to make a paste.
Set aside.

3. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat oil and cinnamon stick. Add onions
and salt, and sauté until onions begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add masala, and stir.
Add chicken, and stir for about 5 minutes. Add apricots and their soaking liquid, diced
tomatoes and diluted tomato paste.

4. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Check
cooking liquid about halfway through; if chicken is covered with liquid, remove
cover for remainder of cooking. Transfer to a large bowl, sprinkle with cilantro
and serve hot.