With the winter chill continuing to make its way through the country, comfort foods are the need of the hour. We’re talking indulgent, piping hot meals that are a warm hug in a bowl. And this original Chidambaram Chicken recipe by culinary expert Padma Lakshmi fits the bill and how!
Adventurous, innovative, and certified spice enthusiast Padma Lakshmi’s tryst with food has produced some of the most flavourful creations the culinary world has seen. The Top Chef host is known to share her love for food with her followers on Instagram, and a quick scroll is all one needs for a month’s worth of dinner inspiration. In a recent post on the social media platform, the host and author shared the recipe for her go-to meal, Chidambaram Chicken.
Padma Lakshmi’s cooking repertoire includes recipes passed down through generations
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The quick, one-pot meal recipe is a reflection of the influence her Indian heritage and cross-cultural experiences have had on her culinary style. In the past, Lakshmi has launched several products, including frozen Indian meals that draw inspiration from recipes that have been passed down in her family through generations. In her show, Taste The Nation, she has spotlighted the food culture of immigrants, often referencing her childhood South Indian favourites like rasam and dosa.
This recipe, taken from her award-winning debut cookbook Easy Exotic is named after her uncle and is one that she’s been whipping up since she was in college. Featuring pantry staples like ginger, garlic, chilli pepper flakes, and basmati rice, this is a quick, one-pot meal that’s perfect for a weeknight dinner. Get the recipe here, or note the full steps down below.
How to make Padma Lakshmi’s Chidambaram Chicken
2 whole boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts (halved and cut into 1-inch pieces), 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil, 2 onions (diced), 2 large cloves of garlic (minced), 1 tbsp ginger (peeled and minced), 1 tbsp garam masala, 2 red bell peppers (diced), 1/8 – 1/4 tsp dried red chile pepper flakes, 1 cup water, 1 cup plain yoghurt,½ cup fresh mint minced, salt and pepper to taste, basmati rice (to serve)
1. In a big bowl combine chicken with a seasoning made of 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper, and a pinch of garam masala. Set aside.
2. Add oil to a big skillet or non-stick pan set over medium heat and sweat the onions for 5-6 minutes.
3. Add garlic, ginger, and bell pepper to the pan, and cook. Stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes more. Turn the heat down to low if the vegetables are catching.
4. Add the garam masala while stirring for another minute or two.
5. Stir in chilli flakes and then add the chicken. Toss to coat chicken evenly, then add 1 cup of water, cover the pan and let simmer.
6. Stir in the yoghurt and taste for salt, adjusting the flavour as per your preferences. Turn down the heat and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through.
7. Sprinkle mint over the top and turn off the heat.
Those who are vegan or eat plant-based can swap the chicken for a meaty mushroom-like hen of the woods or pressed, firm tofu. Before plating your meal, stir everything together. Serve with warm basmati rice.
Hero image: Courtesy Sushmita Chatterjee/Unsplash; Feature image: Courtesy Padma Lakshmi