March 15, 2014


Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are pan seared and cooked in a turmeric and coconut sauce. The addition of cracked baby potatoes completes this comforting meal.

Turmeric Chicken and Cracked Baby Potatoes
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Turmeric is one of the main ingredients in curry. Since curry is not popular in my household and since I have limited use for turmeric in my cooking, it spends most of its time in the back of the spice cabinet. It is much like those oh-this-is-nice gifts I received that get thrown in the back of the closet. Unlike those gifts, this spice is very beneficial. Among a list of other benefits, it is also known to be an anti-inflammatory, a cancer fighter, and an immunity booster. Because of this, I am trying more to incorporate it into my cooking.

This chicken recipe was specifically design to use turmeric which provides the dish a distinctive yellow color. The addition of coconut milk and cilantro gives it an Indian-Asian flair. The baby potatoes are par-boiled and pan seared to add color. They are slightly smashed to crack the skin to soak in the flavors. This last step is not only fun but also a great stress reducer.

At this point, I would like to mention that my husband wanted to call this dish Smokehouse Chicken. Why? It is because my latest batch (seen here) was cooked in a cast iron skillet on medium high heat. It got so hot and created so much smoke while the chicken seared that the whole house was filled with smoke long after the cooking was done. My husband was persistent with the name, so much so that I found a trail of sticky notes that read “Smokehouse Chicken” that went from the hallway, to the bathroom, throughout my bedroom, to my pillow when I went to bed. If nothing else, it gave me a good chuckle.

Anyway, the moral of the story is if you use cast iron, you may want to cook at a lower temperature than medium high. It seared the chicken a little faster and produced more smoke than my other skillets. It has something to do with the fact the cast iron has greater thermal mass than a lot of other on and so forth.

Turmeric Chicken and Cracked Baby Potatoes



1 1/2 lb. whole baby potatoes, about 1 to 1/2-inch diameter
2 1/4 tsp. salt, divided
2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 6 pieces)
1 1/8 tsp. black pepper, divided
6 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 cup low sodium chicken broth, divided
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup or more chopped cilantro for garnish


Place potatoes in a pot. Add enough water to cover potatoes. Add 1 tsp. salt. Bring to boil on high. Reduce heat to medium cover loosely. Cook for 5 minutes (potato should still be firm but soft enough to insert a toothpick). Drain. Set aside.

Unfold chicken thighs to obtain flat pieces. Season with 3/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Preheat a large heavy bottom skillet on medium to medium high heat. Add 2 tsp. oil. Working in batches, sear chicken on both sides until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side (thickest part of chicken may not be thoroughly cooked. It will finish cooking later.). Remove from pan and set aside.

Add 2 tsp. oil to skillet on medium heat. Add potatoes and season with 1/4 tsp. each of salt and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes, turning to brown skin. Remove from heat. Using a sturdy mug or an unopened canned good, smash potatoes just enough to split skin and slightly flatten, but keeping potato intact. Remove from skillet. Wipe off any black bits with paper towels.

Return skillet to the stovetop, add 2 tsp. oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes stirring frequently. Add coconut milk, 3/4 cup chicken broth, turmeric, paprika, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Stir to blend. Return chicken to skillet. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 5 minutes. 

Combine cornstarch with 1/4 cup chicken broth. Increase heat. Stir cornstarch mixture into sauce working it throughout. Allow to come to boil to thicken sauce. Tuck potatoes into sauce. Bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Check chicken for doneness by cutting through the thickest part. It should no longer be pink and juices should run clear. Garnish with cilantro, adjusting quantity to your desire (I love cilantro and add add a generous amount).  Serves 6.

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