What's for Dinner: Chicken with Basil, Cilantro and Macadamia Nuts

Yes, there are lots of ingredients in this recipe, but the process is quick and simple: Just mix up a bright and flavorful Indian marinade, then add the chicken and you're almost there. Try it once and you'll be hooked.

Credit: Chilis to Chutneys: American Home Cooking with the Flavors of India by Neelam Batra

Servings: 5


  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 5 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 to 4 jalapeno peppers to taste, stems removed
  • 1/3 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil, firmly packed, plus some for garnish
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, firmly packed, soft stems included, plus some for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/3 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, all fat and skin removed, cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces


In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal S-blade and with the motor running, process the ginger, garlic and peppers until minced by adding them through the feed tube. Add the macadamia nuts and process until minced.

Add the oil, lemon or lime juice, yogurt, basil and cilantro and process until everything is smooth. (Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the work bowl once or twice.) Add the spices and salt and process again to incorporate.

Put the chicken thighs in a medium bowl. Add the processed mixture and mix until the pieces are fully coated with it.

Cover with plastic wrap and marinate the chicken thighs for at least 12 and up to 48 hours in the refrigerator.

Transfer the chicken and its marinade to a large skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, over moderately high heat until the thighs are golden and tender and the marinade sticks to the pieces, 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer to a serving platter or dish, garnish with basil or cilantro and serve.

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