Ginger Chicken with Peanuts and Coconut
This is a version of a recipe from a dear family friend, Perin Irani, who is a colleague of my sister Lalitha. Perin has a strong presence that fills any room she is in with enthusiasm, and she is as passionate about food as she was about her work as an ob/gyn specialist in the Parsi community of Mumbai (she is now retired). The Parsis trace their roots back to a group of Persians who fled Iran when the Islamic powers took over, because they wanted to protect their religion, which is based on the teachings of Zoroaster, worshiper of the sacred fire. Zoroastrians, later known as Parsis, eventually settled in Mumbai and Navsari (Gujarat). Their food habits and religious backgrounds are an interesting blend of their roots (Iran) and influences from their migration (Gujarat and Mumbai).
Skinning and cutting up a whole chicken is simple, albeit a bit messy. From its cavity remove all the gizzards and innards (these are usually contained in a small paper sack). You can save them for another use. Using one hand, hold the chicken in a squatting position (the chicken, not you) on a firm surface or on a clean, damp dishtowel. With the other hand, firmly peel the skin away from the bird, starting at its neck and moving toward its legs. It’s not possible to remove the skin completely from the wings; just remove what you can. Trim off and discard the excess fat. (Some cooks save the trimmed fat and render it for other uses.) To cut the chicken into 8 pieces, I usually start at the legs. Hold the legs clasped together with one hand, and slip the other hand into the neck cavity for leverage. Now wring the chicken, as you would a wet towel, twisting and separating the two halves. Separate the 2 legs and cut each leg in half at the joint, creating thigh and drumstick pieces. Stick your thumb in the neck cavity and pull off the neck bone and cartilage. Slice each breast alongside the breastbone. Cut each breast in half crossways so that one half of the piece has the wing attached to it. You can cut the wing off at the joint if you wish.
To reconstitute coconut, cover with ½ cup boiling water, set aside for about 15 minutes, and then drain.o reconstitute coconut, cover with ½ cup boiling water, set aside for about 15 minutes, and then drain.
Total Timeunder 1 hour
One Pot MealYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationdiabetic, egg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, low carb
Taste and Texturegarlicky, herby, hot & spicy, meaty, nutty, savory, spiced
- 2 tablespoons Ginger Paste
- 1 tablespoon Garlic Paste
- 1 chicken (3½ pounds), skin removed, cut into 8 pieces (see Notes)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- ¼ cup raw peanuts (without the skin)
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 3 to 5 dried red Thai or cayenne chiles, to taste, stems removed
- ½ cup shredded fresh coconut; or ¼ cup shredded dried unsweetened coconut reconstituted (see Notes)
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
2008 Raghavan Iyer