Spiced Chicken with Pimentos and Almonds

Cumin and coriander are featured here and in the recipe, but this dish couldn’t be more of a contrast to the next. This one is a variation of a Madhur Jaffrey recipe from her book Indian Cookery and makes the most marvellous, fragrant curry. I use only enough cayenne pepper to add a mere hint of heat, but if you prefer more than just a tingle, increase the quantity to a ¼ or even ½ a teaspoonful. Serve with a saffron-scented rice.


  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
  • 100 g/4 oz onions, chopped
  • 2.5 cm/1 inch piece of fresh root ginger, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 25 g/1 oz blanched almonds
  • 350 g/12 oz red peppers, seeded and sliced
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 7 tablespoons groundnut oil
  • 850 g/1 lb 14 oz boned chicken, cut into finger-sized pieces
  • 250 ml/8 fl oz cold water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice


Grind the coriander and cumin seeds to a fine powder in an electric coffee grinder. Mix with the onions, ginger, garlic, almonds, peppers, turmeric, cayenne pepper and salt. Process in small batches in a processor or blender until reduced to a smooth paste.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan, and add the paste. Fry, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes until most of the water has evaporated, leaving a thick paste. Add the chicken, water and lemon juice. Mix well, and bring to the boil. Taste and add extra lemon juice if necessary. Cover and cook very gently for about 15 minutes until the chicken is tender.

Serve with saffron rice.