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Aromatic Chicken from Madura


3½ pound chicken, cut into quarters, or 4 chicken quarters

1 teaspoon sugar

2 Tablespoons coriander seeds

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

6 whole cloves

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1 small onion

1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced

1¼ cups chicken broth or water

salt and freshly ground black pepper

basmati rice and deep-fried onions (optional) to serve


1. Cut each chicken quarter in half to obtain 8 pieces. Place in a flameproof casserole, sprinkle with sugar and salt and toss together. This helps release the juices in the chicken. (Use the backbone and any remaining carcass to make chicken stock for use later in the recipe, if you like.)

2. Dry-fry the coriander, cumin, and whole cloves until the spices give off a good aroma. Add the nutmeg and turmeric and heat briefly. Grind in a processor or with a mortar and pestle.

3. If using a processor, put in the onion and ginger until finely chopped. Otherwise, finely chop the onion and ginger and pound into a paste with a mortar and pestle. Add the spices and broth or water and mix well.

4. Pour over the chicken in the flameproof casserole. Cover with a lid and cook over gentle heat until the chicken pieces are really tender, about 45-50 minutes.

5. Serve portions of the chicken, with the sauce, on steamed basmati rice, and sprinkle with deep-fried onions if you wish.