Close Up Of Bowl Of Chicken Soup Finished With a Yogurt Sauce and Herbs Next to Another Bowl of Soup.

Indian Spiced Chicken Stew – Unique Twist On A Classic

Indian spiced chicken stew is a unique spin on a classic soup dish. Blending warm, earthy spices with succulent chicken thighs and hearty vegetables, this stew is abundantly satisfying and wholesome.

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Two Bowls of Chicken Stew Next To Cutting Board of Bread and Lemons.

Preserved Lemon In Indian Spiced Chicken Stew

While preserved lemons aren’t commonly found in a lot of American cuisines, they are widely used in India and North Africa. Since they are not as popular in North America, I’ll give you a quick rundown on preserved lemons. 

Lemons are preserved in salt-water brine that ferments for several weeks or months. This fermentation process changes the physical makeup of lemons creating a new ingredient with familiar flavors.

Preserved lemons are a mellow version of their fresh counterparts. They boast a pleasant tang and a subtle umami flavor.  They’re also slightly sweet and fruity and have a concentrated lemon flavor without the tartness that typically accompanies citrus fruit.

Another real benefit of preserved lemons is the ability to utilize the fruit in its entirety. For fresh lemons, the flesh, zest and juice are widely used. The white, pithy part of the peel is overly bitter and, therefore, isn’t used when cooking. However, the entire peel of preserved lemons – pith and all – can be used. In fact, the peel of preserved lemons is the real star of the show. 

Preserved lemons aren’t just for soups and stews. They’re also wonderful additions to vinaigrettes and sauces, compound butter, marinades and hummus just to name a few. You could even use the brine in Bloody Marys.

I love the preserved lemon in this Indian Spiced Chicken Stew because it effortlessly creates depth and complexity. Preserved lemon is its own little balanced ingredient that adds sweet and salty, acidic and savory flavors. 

If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge with preserved lemons, that’s ok! Replace the preserved lemon in this recipe with a fresh lemon. Just cut in half, squeeze the juice into your stew and toss both halves of lemon directly into your pot while it simmers. Remove the lemon halves before serving.

Indian Spiced Chicken Stew - Unique Twist On A Classic

What To Serve With Indian Spiced Chicken Stew

Indian Spiced Chicken Stew is hearty and nourishing enough to be served as a complete meal all on its own. Even so, it’s nice to have different pairing options. Especially if there are leftovers for the next day. 

My favorite options are:

  • Basmati or long-grain white rice
  • Naan or a similar flatbread
  • Scallion pancakes
  • Focaccia bread
  • Riced cauliflower 

Love Soups and Stews As Much As I Do? Check Out These Other Recipes From Ever Harc:

Close Up Of Bowl Of Chicken Stew With Piece Of Bread Next To Another Bowl of Soup and Cutting Board.

What To Do With Leftover Indian Spiced Chicken Stew

Quite honestly, I set out to cook soups and stews specifically with leftovers in mind. Unlike some dishes which can dry out or lose their integrity after the first day, soups reheat super well. Which makes them great to eat on multiple times making them a total time-saver in the kitchen. 

Indian Spiced Chicken Stew is no exception. 

If storing in the refrigerator, allow your Indian Spiced Chicken Stew to cool and transfer to an airtight container. Properly stored, your stew will keep in the fridge for 3 days. 

Beyond 3 days, I recommend freezing leftovers. When freezing, I like to transfer soups and stews to a freezer bag and freeze flat. This allows for optimal storage in my freezer. Frozen food also thaws much quicker when frozen flat. Indian Spiced Chicken Stew will keep in the freezer for 3-4 months.

Close Up of Bowl Of Chicken Stew With Bread and Bowls In Background.

Method

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in your Dutch oven or pot of choice over medium heat. 

Pat chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper. Place in pot and cook until golden brown on each side, about 3-5 minutes per side. So as not to overcrowd the chicken while it cooks, you may need to work in batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate. 

Add another tablespoon or so of olive oil.  Then add the onion and celery and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until softened. 

Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or until fragrant. 

Next, add the tomato paste, garam masala and crushed red pepper and cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly. 

Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Gently drop the tomatoes into the pot. Allow to blanch for 30-60 seconds or until the skin of the tomatoes crack. Remove from the boiling broth and transfer to an ice bath. Once cool, peel the skins and add back to the pot. 

Add the chicken thighs, preserved lemon and coconut milk. Partially cover and allow to simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. 

While the stew simmers, prepare the yogurt sauce by adding the zest of one lemon and the juice of half a lemon to the yogurt. Mix thoroughly. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. 

Remove the chicken thighs and shred.  Add the shredded chicken back to the pot. Usually, the tomatoes will naturally break apart as the stew simmers, but sometimes I like to help them along by smooshing them with the back of my wooden spoon at this time. 

Add the potatoes, butternut squash and carrots to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Partially cover and allow to cook until fork-tender, about 35-45 minutes. 

Serve in a bowl over rice or with bread or naan. Top with the yogurt sauce and fresh herbs. Serve with lemon slices if desired and enjoy!

Overhead View Of Someone Holding Bowl of Chicken Stew Over Soup Pot Next to Towels and Herbs.
Close Up Of Bowl Of Chicken Soup Finished With a Yogurt Sauce and Herbs Next to Another Bowl of Soup.

Indian Inspired Chicken Stew

Blending warm, earthy, fragrant spices with succulent chicken thighs and hearty vegetables, Indian Spiced Chicken Stew is flavorful, satisfying and wholesome.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Indian
Servings 10 servings
Calories 319 kcal

Ingredients
  

Indian Spiced Chicken Stew

  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1" pieces
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 small preserved lemon, deseeded and minced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1" finger of ginger, grated or minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 ½ lbs petite gold potatoes, halved
  • 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 13.5 oz can of coconut milk
  • 3-4 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 tbsps tomato paste
  • 2 tbsps garam masala
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped cilantro, parsley or mint optional

Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice

Instructions
 

  • Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in your Dutch oven or pot of choice over medium heat.
  • Pat chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper. Place in pot and cook until golden brown on each side, about 3-5 minutes per side. So as not to overcrowd the chicken while it cooks, you may need to work in batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  • Add another tablespoon or so of olive oil. Add the onion and celery and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until softened.
  • Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or until fragrant.
  • Add tomato paste, garam masala and crushed red pepper and cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly.
  • Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  • Gently drop the tomatoes into the pot. Allow to blanch for 30-60 seconds or until the skin of the tomatoes crack. Remove from the boiling broth and transfer to an ice bath. Once cool, peel the skins and add back to the pot.
  • Add the chicken thighs, preserved lemon and coconut milk. Partially cover and allow to simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
  • While the stew simmers, prepare the yogurt sauce by adding the zest of one lemon and the juice of half a lemon to the yogurt. Mix thoroughly. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
  • Remove the chicken thighs and shred. Add the shredded chicken back to the pot. Usually, the tomatoes will naturally break apart as the stew simmers, but sometimes I like to help them along by smooshing them with the back of my wooden spoon at this time.
  • Add the potatoes, butternut squash and carrots to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Partially cover and allow to cook until fork-tender, about 35-45 minutes.
  • Serve in a bowl over rice or with bread or naan. Top with the yogurt sauce and fresh herbs. Serve with lemon slices if desired and enjoy!
Keyword Indian Spiced Chicken Stew, Chicken Stew, Indian Flavors, Hearty Stew

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Skye Sauchelli
3 months ago

This looks absolutely incredible! I love the twist, too! Indian cuisine is my absolute favorite but I don’t eat it too often! So why not cook more of it, right! We are in charge of creating the life we love!

Christine
3 months ago

We love Indian cuisine. I can’t wait to try the preserved lemon with this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

Karen Kasberg
3 months ago

Looks and sounds delicious! Might have to give this a try! Thanks for sharing!!