Coconut Milk Spiced Chicken with Dates

I recently found a version of this recipe in the LA Times, and decided to put it together yesterday. I made a few alterations, and ended up with something so delicious that my whole family was asking for seconds!

Here’s what you need:

About 2.5 pounds boneless/skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chile-garlic paste, or hot and sweet chile sauce, or gochuchang, or some combination

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

5 cloves of garlice, thinly sliced

2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated on a micro plane

2 cans full-fat unsweetened coconut milk

15 dates, pitted and cut in half

handful or two of golden raisins

Here’s what you do:

1. Place half the chicken on paper towels and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in an oven-safe skillet over high heat. Add the chicken (seasoned side down), season the other side, and allow to cook and brown, undisturbed, about 6-8 minutes. Flip the chicken, and allow to brown on the on the other side for another 3-5 minutes.

2. While the first batch of chicken is browning, prepare the second batch of chicken accordingly (pat dry and season). Also, make the spice paste. In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, chili-paste, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, garlic and ginger.

3. When the first batch of chicken is browned (it won’t be cooked through), follow the same procedure with the second batch, adding the other tablespoon of olive oil as needed.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

5. When the second batch of chicken is browned, remove from the pan and reduce heat to low. Add the spice paste to the pan, and cook until fragrant, about one minute, stirring constantly.

6. Pour the first can of coconut milk into the pan, and scrape up any browned bits. Add the second can and mix.

7. Nestle the chicken into the coconut milk, and cover your pan with foil. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

8. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes. Then, add the raisins (stir them in), and the dates (scatter them over the top), and bake another 25 minutes, until the chicken is very soft and the dates are carmelized.

Enjoy over rice, or with some chapati!

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