Clever cumin

Mallika Basu - Clever cumin


jeera-chicken-small.jpgDid you all have good Christmases? Mine had all the makings of a traditional festive session – drunkenness, senility and a verbal catfight. And lots and lots of eating, of course.

Having finally settled back into work and realised the true meaning of the second box of chocolate bicuits I consumed – I am now thinking hard about the get-back-to-shape diet.

I have memories of my mother permanently dieting throughout my childhood. She was always coming up with devious ways of serving up low calorie Indian feasts without us noticing.

One trick she used with recipes was to marinade the meat beforehand to tenderise it and give it more flavour. The other was to not use onions because they soak up all the oil when they brown.

Jeera chicken uses both clever techniques. The marinating does add to cooking time, but let’s be honest – all it requires is for the chicken to be left sitting in a corner after five minutes of fussing. Also, without the onion you don’t get a gloopy curry sauce.

I made this for hubby and he licked the plate clean. This recipe serves two very hungry people and is best served with roti:

4 tbsp thick Greek yoghurt
500gms of chicken, roughly 2 thighs and 2 drumsticks
1 tsp whole cummin
2 tsp jeera powder
Quarter tsp chilli powder
Quarter tsp turmeric powder
4 cloves garlic
1″ ginger
Quarter tsp garam masala
1 tbsp sunflower oil

Make deep gashes along the sides of the chicken. Marinate the chicken pieces in the yoghurt and cummin powder for an hour. Chop finely or puree the ginger and garlic.

After an hour, heat the oil and when hot add the ginger and garlic. When they start turning brown, add the whole cummin, the turmeric and chilli powders. The cummin will sizzle up and when it does, add the chicken along with the marinade.

Fry for a few minutes on either side and when slightly brown, lower the flame, cover and simmer until cooked. Only add water if the chicken starts sticking to the pan. This dish is cooked in the yoghurt and the chicken’s own juices.

Add salt to taste and serve hot.

17 responses to “Clever cumin”

  1. starsapphire says:

    Thanks for the recipe Mallika 🙂

    What does yoghurt do to the chicken during marination? Does it help to tenderise the chicken?

  2. Meena says:

    Happy New Year to you and your family, Mallika!! Hope you all have a great time ahead!

  3. CookingChat says:

    This sounds very tasty! Jeera is not a spice I’m familiar with–is it a blend or a single spice? I’ll have to stop by our local Indian grocery to find it and make this!

    BTW, don’t know if your quick cooking includes making creative use of leftovers, but I’m hosting a new “Leftover Tuesdays” event in January, would love to see what you’d come up with for it. Details over on

    Happy New Year!

  4. mandira says:

    Mallika, the jeera chicken sounds amazing. I am looking forward to making it soon. Happy Holidays and have a wonderful new year!

  5. Priya says:

    Jeera chicken looks delicious !

    Wishing peace, health, and happiness in 2007 and always. Happy New year to you and your family !

  6. Nidhi says:

    Nice recipe Mallika and great pic too!

    Here’s Wishing you a very Happy New Year. May God bless you and your family with all the happy things in this coming year.

    Cheers, Nidhi.

  7. sra says:

    Hi Mallika! You have a nice style, engaging and made me smile.

  8. Mallika says:

    Nanie – the yoghurt tenderises the chicken and gives it a lot more flavour. And David jeera is cummin. Cooking chicken in this and very little else is superb. This recipe comes with a rare Mallika quick and yummy guarantee…

  9. […] Tikka Masala has no place my kitchen – self-respecting Indian and weight watcher as I am. Give me a jeera chicken served with some lemony channa (chickpea) salad, any […]

  10. Nancy Nicosia says:

    This was wonderful – I’m Italian but I love Indian food at restaurants. I’ll be back often to learn to cook Indian at home.

  11. Mike says:

    Mallika if this is dieting I can’t wait to start! I love all food and I’m happy to have found your blog!

  12. anj says:

    its nice u no. thnx 4 dat

  13. Flit says:

    I can’t recall how I found this recipe, but we just made this and it is completely delicious.

  14. sb says:

    The fiance calls this one a revelation. I second that motion.

  15. The Cook says:

    I made this with chicken breasts instead of thighs and we had it on pita breads. Fantastic! Will be making it again (sans chilli) for my little one!

  16. Lakita Suber says:

    I absolutely understand everything you have stated. In reality, I browsed through your additional blogposts and I believe you’re definitely right. Best wishes with this site.

  17. Viknes says:

    Hey, it doesn’t say how much cumin powder is required for marinating the chicken? Thanks 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *