Chicken with Three Spices

A mildly-spiced and aromatic dish that I first came across when I worked at the Hole in the Wall in Bath. Although I usually make it with chicken, it tastes lovely made with other white meats, too. Try using turkey, pork or veal. The spiced meat with its creamy sauce is delicious alone, but even better with slices of mango, or hot banana fritters.


  • 1 teaspoon whole cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 25 g/1 oz butter
  • 100 g/4 oz onions, chopped
  • 1 × 1.75 kg/4 lb chicken, quartered, or 4 boned chicken breasts
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 150 ml/¼ pint chicken stock
  • 150 ml/¼ pint double cream
  • peeled and sliced mango, or banana fritters to serve (optional)


Slit the cardamom pods and extract the black seeds. Grind to a fine powder in an electric coffee grinder with the coriander and cumin seeds. Melt the butter in a shallow flameproof casserole and sweat the onions for 5 minutes, until soft. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and then rub in the spices. Add to the onions and fry without browning for 5 minutes, turning so that each piece is sealed all over.

Cover the casserole tightly and leave in a preheated oven, 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2, for 15–20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and the juices run clear. Put the chicken pieces on to a warmed serving dish, cover and keep warm.

Lift the casserole back on to a direct heat, add the stock and reduce fast by half. Stir in the cream and reduce by half again. Taste and adjust seasoning, then coat the chicken with the sauce. Arrange the mango slices or banana fritters, if using, around the chicken and serve.