Smokey Chicken Curry with Quinoa

Recipe: Smokey Chicken Curry with Quinoa


This is not a traditional Indian chicken curry. It’s a multi layered flavour explosion melding Indian spices with Mexican and Moroccan flavours, producing a hot smokey warming lemon-rich spiced sauce that changes with every mouthful. Served with a lighter option of quinoa over rice which gives the overall dish a lighter more modern touch. Less bloating and more room for beer…


Notes: Curry is best made the night before so the spices have time to settle and develop. The difference in taste from straight out of the oven to when it’s been sat for 6 hours+ is worlds apart. If you are cooking the same day, make sure once out of the oven the lid is removed and curry is left to sit for at least 20 – 30 minutes before serving so the sauce has time to settle.


Smokey Chicken Curry with Quinoa

Serves 4



8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Cooking oil (vegetable or sunflower oil)
4 leeks
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Large knob ginger, minced
1/2 tsp sumac
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp allspice
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp chipotle paste
Black pepper
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp lime juice
4 large tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
2 red chillies
1 litre strong chicken stock
150g baby spinach
Coriander for garnish
4 servings of Quinoa (cooked to packet instructions with vegetable stock rather than water)



  1. Preheat oven to 180C degrees (fan forced 160C).
  2. Roast fennel seeds and grind into a powder, set aside with your other spices.
  3. Slice leeks in half lengthwise, then chop into 1cm pieces. Wash, drain and fry leeks in a cast iron pot / Le Creuset using a splash of oil over a medium heat until nice and soft.
  4. Next add garlic and ginger cooking for 1 minute, followed by cumin, coriander powder, turmeric, sumac, allspice, paprika and pepper, cooking for a few minutes further until fragrant. You might need to add an additional splash of oil so spices don’t stick to the pan and dry out.
  5. Stir in chipotle paste and chopped tomatoes (and any juices from the tomatoes). Cook 5 – 7 minutes further on a low heat, stirring mixture around, ensuring it doesn’t dry out. This part is important as it’s where the foundation of flavours develop and infuse the curry. You want to keep cooking the mixture until its nice and thick and has good colour.
  6. When your spice and leek mixture is developed enough add chicken stock, whole chicken thighs, chilli, fenugreek leaves, lemon and lime juice. Stir, bring to a rapid boil for 2 minutes and then place a lid on top and transfer to the oven to cook for 1 and a half hours, checking half way through to make sure liquid hasn’t reduced too much. If so, add small splashes of water to loosen.
  7. Remove from oven. Using a wooden spoon quickly break chicken up into bite size pieces (this should be easy as the chicken will be soft). Next pile spinach on top of the curry then replace lid and let it wilt into the sauce (he steam inside the lidded pot is going to do this). After a few minutes remove lid and stir spinach through evenly. This means you will have nice fresh tasting spinach that hasn’t been overcooked.
  8. Let curry sit for 20 – 30 minutes before serving to infuse and develop its flavours. When ready serve curry with, quinoa, yoghurt and coriander garnish.



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