What’s cooking today: Chicken & Chickpea Curry

What’s cooking today: Chicken & Chickpea Curry
Chicken & Chickpea Curry. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Chickpeas and chicken go beautifully together and both suit exotic spicing, whether Asian or north African. This dish, cooked in a tagine, sits somewhere between Moroccan and Indian cuisines.

Many of the spices common to Indian cuisine are also a regular feature of many Moroccan dishes. It’s in the spices that accompany them and the strength of each spice that the differences and distinction of each food culture emerge.

That’s the intriguing thing about spices; change their combinations, leave this out and add that in, and the overall profile of the resulting slice mix becomes something quite different.

This is sort of Indian and kind of Moroccan. Something like that.


2 Tbsp ghee (clarified butter)

1 large onion, chopped

2 chunky garlic cloves, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick

6 cardamom pods

3 cm piece ginger, peeled and grated (or 1 tsp ground ginger)

Salt to taste

1 scant tsp black pepper

2 tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp ground cumin

115 g tomato paste

1 tsp sugar

4 to 6 chicken thighs, trimmed of fat

1 x 400g can chickpeas, including the brine (aquafaba)

1 x 400 g can chopped tomatoes

A drizzle of olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

Coriander, for garnish


Sauté onions and garlic in ghee with bay leaves, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods until the onions are golden brown. 

Add grated ginger, salt, black pepper, cumin and 1 tsp of the ground turmeric. 

Stir in the tomato paste and sugar and braise, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Add chicken and brown on all sides. 

Add the chickpeas and their brine and the chopped tomatoes and stir. 

Sprinkle another tsp of ground turmeric, a little more salt and a drizzle of olive oil on the skin of the chicken thighs and leave the chicken skin exposed at the top of the cooking broth. 

Cover and cook in a 200℃ oven for 40 to 50 minutes; after the first 20 minutes, remove the lid and continue cooking. 

Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves over just before serving. Squeeze lime juice over on the plate. Serve with wilted bok choy, seasoned, and couscous. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido. Order his book, foodSTUFF, here

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

This dish is photographed on a plate by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.


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