Chicken Xacuti

This Indian spicy chicken dish is absolutely worth the effort

Cooking dishes from cuisines that you may not be familiar with can be intimidating, especially when it comes to recipes with many ingredients. Gusto TV's One World Kitchen helps you navigate through Argentinian, Japanese, Indian, Italian and Thai cuisine with a new cookbook, One World Kitchen: The Cookbook. The spice paste recipe in the cookbook is so versatile, you’ll want to make extra to add it to BBQ sauces and soups.


If you don't have ghee, use clarified butter instead

Spice paste

1 tbsp roughly chopped fresh ginger
1 tbsp roughly chopped garlic
8 dried long red chilies
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
10 black peppercorns
1½ tsp cumin seeds
1½ tsp fenugreek seeds, (methi seeds)
1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes

Place the ginger and garlic in a mortar and pestle along with a splash of water and some salt and freshly ground pepper. Pound until you have a smooth paste. Set aside.

In a heavy cast iron skillet set over medium-low heat, toast the chilies, poppy seeds, coriander, peppercorns, cumin, and fenugreek, stirring with a wooden spoon until the spices become fragrant. Be careful that the spices don’t burn, as they will take on a bitter, off flavour. Add the coconut, and toast for 30 to 60 seconds or until golden brown, again being careful not to burn. Let the mixture cool.

Using a spice grinder (or a coffee grinder set aside for spices), grind the spices and coconut to a powder. Transfer to a bowl, and mix in the reserved ginger and garlic paste. Set aside.


ghee, clarified butter or vegetable oil
1 medium Spanish onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
8 to 10 pieces skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 cup water
2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Heat the ghee in a large heavy-bottomed ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add onions, reduce heat to low, and cook until soft, browned, and caramelized, about 40 minutes.

Add spice paste, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to release the oils from the spices. Add turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves and stir to combine, then stir in the water.

Season the chicken thighs with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add them to the pan, and toss to coat in the sauce. Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes. (After 20 minutes, check that the sauce is still covering the chicken, adding small amounts of water as needed.)

Just before serving, add the lemon juice to the pan. Serve with rice.