This easy one-pot turmeric chicken and rice is pure winter comfort food, with warming Indian spices and plenty of vegetables.
I work with kids as a speech therapist during the day, and I remember a while back I asked one of my kids what his favorite food was and he said, “chicken and rice”. I remember thinking, “Really? What’s so special about chicken and rice?”
Well, I am here to literally eat my words. Chicken and rice cooked together, especially with turmeric and other warming spices, a generous splash of wine, and some pops of colorful veggies, definitely qualifies as favorite-food material. Plus this dish is made with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, which are my absolute favorite cut of chicken. And you only have to use one pan! There is basically nothing not to love about this dish.
One-pot turmeric chicken and rice is going to be on my dinner menu pretty much every week for the rest of the cold months. Turmeric is a vibrant superfood that gives great color and flavor to the chicken and the rice. It goes perfectly with a bit of smoked paprika, coriander, cumin, and just the tiniest touch of cinnamon. If you like Indian food, you’ll notice this dish tastes a lot like biryani. I added onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, and carrots with the rice for vegetal goodness, and raisins, peas, scallions, and cilantro for extra pops of flavor and freshness toward the end of cooking.
This makes a pretty big batch of turmeric chicken and rice, so it’s perfect for sharing with someone who might need a little extra comfort food right now. I brought some over to my inlaws, who haven’t had much time to cook since they’ve been taking care of my brother-in-law after his accident last week. He came home from the hospital day before yesterday, though, and is already looking much better. This would also be a great meal to bring to a new mom or a new neighbor. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to get a special delivery of one-pot turmeric chicken and rice?
Get those forks ready to dive in and fluff up all that rice!
- 5-6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (2 to 2½ pounds)
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons ghee or avocado oil
- 1½ teaspoons turmeric, divided
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- One 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, cored, deseeded, and chopped
- ¾ cup white wine
- 2¼ cups low-sodium or homemade chicken stock
- ½ cup raisins, soaked briefly in hot water and rinsed
- ¾ cup frozen green peas (optional)
- ¼ cup sliced scallions (dark green parts only)
- Chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Pat the chicken dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a very large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the ghee and sprinkle on about half the turmeric. Add the chicken pieces skin side down, and sear until very well browned, about 6 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook for 4 minutes on the second side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes, until somewhat softened. Stir in the ginger, garlic, and spices, including the remainder of the turmeric. Cook for one minute, until the ginger and garlic are fragrant. Add the rice and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for another minute. Add the carrots, tomatoes, and wine, and let the liquid bubble away for a minute. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to dislodge any browned bits. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
- Nestle the chicken pieces into the rice, skin side up, also pouring in any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Cover the pan, transfer it to the oven, and bake for 35 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the raisins, peas, and scallions on top of the rice. Bake for 5 more minutes.
- If you like your chicken skin a bit crispy, raise the oven temperature to broil (or move the pan to the broiler) and remove the lid. Broil for 3-5 minutes, until the skin is deeper brown and dry to the touch.
- Transfer the chicken to serving plates, fluff and stir the rice, and serve hot with cilantro and lime wedges.
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