turmeric chicken

In an effort to share more of our very most every day meals, the ones I throw together with whatever’s left in the fridge, or the staples I can make with my eyes half closed at the end of a long day, I’ve started posting occasional short, simple posts just about these meals.  I call it vær så god, Norwegian for “bon appetit.”

When I really can’t think of what to make for dinner, I fall back on one of two things: salmon or chicken thighs.  Both are flavorful, pretty quick to cook, and lend themselves to infinite variations in how you spice them, whether it be with a marinade (except that takes planning ahead, bah), a spice-herb rub, or a sauce.  I mostly roast my chicken thighs, forgetting the wonderful succulence that is braised chicken.  You don’t get crispy skin when you braise your chicken, that’s the major drawback.  But, the meat comes out so juicy in a good braise, it’s fairly easy to forgive the skin for not crisping up.

I recently got Louisa Shafia’s new book, The New Persian Kitchen.  It’s full of accessible but interesting recipes, and the very first one I tried was this recipe for turmeric chicken.  It’s almost laughably easy – just sprinkle some turmeric and salt on your chicken, brown it, add garlic and water, squeeze on a lime – but the intensity of the flavors and that juicy, juicy braised chicken belie how little effort you had to put into them.  It’s perfect accompanied by some rice and any simple steamed or sauteed vegetables you’ve a hankering for.  This is going to be one of my new go-to’s for evenings when I’m so tired and lazy I can barely lift a spatula but I’m still craving good food.  (Which, when it comes down to it, is quite a lot of my evenings!)  Go forth and braise, my friends!  (I was going to say “braise the roof,” but I restrained myself.  I hope you are as proud of me as I am…)

Vær så god!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Turmeric chicken
Serves: 2-4
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or coconut oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ¾ cup water
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 juicy limes, halved
  • Sumac, for garnish (I actually totally spaced on adding the sumac - even though I have sumac! - and it was fine without it)
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the turmeric with 2 tsp. salt and 1-2 tsp. ground black pepper. Rub the chicken pieces all over with this spice blend.
  2. In a large skillet or braising pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken skin side down and let it cook undisturbed for 7 minutes, until burnished and brown. Flip the chicken pieces and brown them on the other side for another 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the shallot around the chicken and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the water and garlic to the pan and give a little stir. Bring the water to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer. Cover and let the chicken gently cook for 25 minutes, until cooked through and tender.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, turn the heat back up and cook thr sauce down until it reaches the thickness you want. (I did a couple minutes, as Louisa suggests.) Pour the sauce over the chicken and squeeze the limes over. Garnish with a sprinkling of sumac, if using, and serve.
Adapted in the minutest way from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia


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22 Responses to Turmeric chicken

  1. Mimi says:

    Isn’t turmeric wonderful! S fragrant. Love this!

  2. cara says:

    This looks incredible! And just the kind of thing I want to make on a weeknight.

  3. Justina says:

    This looks really good! What are you serving on the side? Is it kale and mushrooms?

    • Emily says:

      Hi Justina, yes it is. I sauteed mushrooms, then added some garlic and kale plus mustard seeds and a pinch of coriander in there too.

  4. Kate says:

    Yum. I also turn to chicken thighs often when I’m in need of a comforting dinner without any attending, and they’re such a perfect way to gently highlight other flavors. I’ve been curious about cooking with coconut oil (I usually use olive oil, thanks to a Spanish mother it’s my go-to), so might give that a try. Thanks for the inspiration, and the heads-up about what sounds like a great book.

    • Emily says:

      Yeah, chicken thighs are pretty much the best. I use a lot of olive oil too, but when I’m frying at a fairly high heat I try to remember to use coconut oil since it’s more stable.

  5. Kathryn says:

    I do love this series; it’s such wonderful inspiration and this dish sounds absolutely delicious! Chicken thighs always gone down well and this braising liquid sounds so full of flavour that you end up with something really special.

  6. Jen says:

    I made this tonight and it was delicious!! Thank you for posting. I have been hearing about you through Food52 and I am very excited to subscribe to your blog! Cheers!

  7. Yummy! This looks like an Americanized Indian dish, but most importantly it looks easy, and that’s always pretty important. I would call my go-to dish stir fry, as I can use any leftover veggies and meats in the fridge and magically make it delicious with the addition of a sauce, but this looks like a good busy night dish if I were to plan menus.

  8. Andy says:

    This was sooooo easy. I’m no cook but I can read a recipe, this is the best i’ve yet produced, it got really good comments at our gathering, “so fragrant” and the Limes were such a good touch. Thanks for this

  9. Sharon says:

    Hi. A friend is allergic to garlic and onions. Does it take away much to leave out the shallots and garlic?

  10. Donna Kuper says:

    What is sumac and where do you get it? I’ve been looking all over. But even without sumac, this dish is deelish. I’m making it for the third time tonight with steamed asparagus and leftover brown rice.

    • Emily says:

      It’s a spice commonly used in middle eastern cooking. It might be something you would have to order online from a spice company.

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