Georgian-influenced chicken stew with adjika
I will admit that I do love Georgian adjika. Adjika comes in several forms, the sauce that is made from fresh ingredients, click here for the recipe, and the powder that is available in markets and on Amazon. For this recipe, I chose to use the dried variety.
When I was creating this recipe I was considering how to extract all the flavours of adjika that include the subtler notes from the blue fenugreek, in the sauce. I decided on slow-cooking the stew loaded with adjika early so the spices have time to bloom and permeate the meat and dish. I also added red peppers which are common in the adjika recipe and a hint of tomato for both colour and as a base flavour.
The stew is a flavour bomb, loud and satisfying. The adjika blooms saturating the stew with both the chilli and the underlying spices giving the dish a very nice and addictive flavour profile. The chicken is tender and infused with spices and the potatoes add a lovely counterbalance to the texture. This is a familiar stew, and yet so different to the Indian palate, my guests loved it. I served it with Lebanese bread so that we could sop up all the sauce easily.
For more recipes by Zafar, click here.
2-3 tablespoons oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 red peppers, thinly sliced
3-4 tablespoon tomato paste
6 boneless chicken thighs, halved
1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
1-2 tablespoons adjika powder
Salt, as needed, see note
4 cups chicken stock or water
10-12 baby potatoes, halved, or, 2 large potatoes, cubed
Mint, roughly torn, for garnish
heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat and add the onions. Sautè till the onions are translucent and are just starting to turn golden. Add the peppers and fry till the peppers are soft and cooked.
Add the tomato paste and sautè for 1 minute. Add the chicken and fry till the chicken is cooked through and turns white and solid, about 6-7 minutes on a medium flame. Add the ground coriander, adjika and salt and fry for 1 more minute mixing the contents well to coat the chicken.
Add the stock and bring it to a boil. Simmer gently closed for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Check the liquids towards to end of the cooking time and add more if needed. Add the potatoes, top with more water if needed and simmer for an additional 15 minutes till the potatoes are cooked through and soft.
NOTE: Adjika is available in powdered form and it is different from the adjika paste. The recipes are quite varied in terms of ingredients used and the spiciness of the powder. Adjust the amount of adjika powder used to suit your palate. In addition, adjika usually has a lot of salt in the mix. Be careful when adding extra salt, you may not need it at all.