Moroccan Braised Chicken with Dates and Vegetables

This is a delicious Moroccan inspired dish but without the chickpeas (we should try to limit the types of protein to one) and without the strong preserved lemons. This dish is great for vata as it is unctuous and soft but can also work for healthy pitta body types with fewer spices. The vegetables lighten the dish and the flavourful broth is absolutely perfect with simple herb cous-cous, barley cous-cous, quinoa or rice. Kapha can also enjoy this curry but should have it as it is, as a stew rather than with a heavy grain or can opt for the vegetarian version below.

Serves 4

Spice blend

  • 2” large cinnamon shard
  • 1½ tsp. of sesame seeds
  • 1¼ tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1½ -2½ tbs. vegetable oil (kapha please use 1½, pitta 2 and vata 2½)
  • ¾ tsp. caraway seeds
  • ¾ tsp. ginger paste
  • ½ tsp. sweet paprika (for colour)
  • 1 medium-large onion, sliced
  • 4 small chicken thighs, bone in but skinned and trimmed of all fat
  • 4 fat cloves garlic, grated into a paste
  • 1 small courgette, sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
  • 500ml chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 6 large dates or quartered lengthways or other dried fruit (figs or apricots)
  • salt to taste lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. tomato puree
  • Large handful of chopped parsley to serve

Grind the spices to a fine powder, the pestle and mortar normally does this quite quickly.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, Add the onion and cook gently until soft and colouring at the edges. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes or until it smell cooked. Add a splash of water if it looks like it will burn. Stir in all the spices.

Add the chicken, stock, seasoning and tomato puree. Bring to a boil and simmer gently, covered, for 18 minutes. Add the carrots, cover and cook for about 8 minutes. Add the courgettes (or other vegetables) and cook until the chicken and vegetables are all done, another 6-7 minutes or so. Stir in the dates and adjust the liquid quantity by burning off excess water or adding a splash from the kettle. Stir in the parsley and serve.

Vegetarian version – Leave out the chicken, use vegetables stock add a few other vegetables and finish with the 1/2-3/4 can of chickpeas or 50g of fresh chickpeas, soaked overnight, cooked (they normally take 1½ hours).

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