My chicken and fig curry was one of the most popular dishes from our Indian dinner a few months back. My friend Gonzo, an amazing cook who occasionally cooks with me for Chez Nous Dinners, insisted that figs are not a traditional flavor in Indian dishes, but I decided to give it a try anyway! I suppose you can substitute dates for a more authentic flavor grouping. Occasionally, I add apricots if I am low on figs! All the combinations I have tried were delicious.
The chicken marinates overnight in yogurt (I make my own yogurt for this dish), which gives it a lightly tart flavor that pairs wonderfully with cinnamon and figs. Additionally, the sweetness asks for a fairly mild spice, so none of your friends will be running for a cup of milk with a burned tongue.
I made it as part of four curries for our original dinner (with Goat Biryani, Dal Makhani, and a Chili Fish curry made by Gonzo). These were more than enough for 18, however the dish itself will probably serve 6-8 on its own paired with some rice and Naan.
This is an extremely quick dish to make, and the flavors (imbued by letting the meat marinate overnight) make it feel like it took much longer than it did! Enjoy!
This dish can be made up to 3 days in advance. Today, I made a triple batch to feed a hoard of 19 high school seniors for Friday!
Chicken and Fig Curry
12 dried figs, chopped 3 tbsp olive oil
2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, small pieces 2 large onions, finely diced
1 1/3 cup of yogurt 1 large cinnamon stick
3 tsp garam masala, divided 5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chili powder, divided 2 inch ginger, minced
salt and pepper
- Combine chicken, yogurt, half the garam masala, half the chili powder, season. Cover and marinate overnight.
- Pour boiling water over figs.
Soak 10 min. Drain.
Add to chicken mixture.
- Heat olive oil in Dutch oven.
Add onion and cinnamon stick, 10 minutes.
Add garlic and ginger, 4-5 minutes.
Add chicken, mix and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Stir every few minutes.
Total cooking time: 40 minutes plus marinade overnight, serves 6-8