Spiced Chicken w/ Pomegranate Arils

by Kiran on January 24, 2012 · 70 comments

in Chicken, Curries, Indian, Lunch/Dinner

Hey friends, Happy National Peanut Butter Day!!!

I forgot about this day today, but I have an equally (or more) delicious recipe :)

There’s something about handling raw meat which is so unappealing. It’s slimy, often bloody, bones and fats running all over — ewww!!! I know, a food blogger having doubts and ick! factor about food.

Hey, I am just human. A terribly-afraid-to-touch-raw-meat kinda human.

Not really afraid. More ICKY than afraid.

On the other hand, I can literally bathe myself with spices. Love the aroma, taste and versatility. Absolutely love star anise. It’s such an underused spice. It is usually used in meat recipes. One small star anise goes a looooooonnggg way, so be subtle in usage.

Opened the refrigerator one day and saw a sad tub of pomegranate arils, waiting to be consumed. I made this recipe and had leftovers for sangria.

Yeah, spiced chicken and sangria goes hand in hand. I dare you to try it 😀

We made this spiced chicken, had sangrias and woke up with an urge to go for antique prop shopping. Weird right? Well, it worked out great for my prop collection, but doing that definitely burnt a huge hole in my pocket. That’s what sangria does to you. It goes to your head and you end up shopping, frivolously. Heh.

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  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 small star anise, whole
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1/3 cup red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh yogurt
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • cilantro & toasted cashew nuts for garnish


  • 1 lb skinless chicken, chopped bite size (i used thighs and breast)
  • 4 – 5 red chilies
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Wash and pat dry chicken pieces. Place it in a bowl.
  2. In a spice grinder, blend red chilies, coriander + cumin seeds with fresh ginger.
  3. Evenly distribute spice blend all over the chicken pieces. Sprinkle in 1 tsp salt.
  4. Marinade chicken in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours, or overnight.
  5. Remove marinated chicken from refrigerator to get the chill off at least an hour before cooking.
  6. Heat a skillet on medium. Add cooking oil.
  7. Once hot, add whole star anise, cinnamon stick and sliced onions. Fry till onions are lightly browned and translucent.
  8. Sear in marinated chicken on medium-high heat. Once lightly seared, add fresh yogurt and stir to combine.
  9. Cover to cook on low-medium for 30 minutes.*
  10. Open lid to stir chicken pieces every now and then to avoid burn.
  11. Once chicken is fully cooked-through and gravy thickened into paste, add pomegranate arils and salt. Mix to combine.
  12. Serve hot with rotis/chappatis/rice, garnished with cilantro and cashew nuts.

*Note: cooking time may vary depending on the size of chicken pieces.


Off to redeem National Peanut Butter Day with a jar & a spoonful. If you have sangria’s on your mind, recipe is coming up on Friday! You won’t want to miss it :)

Are you comfortable prepping raw meat? I just can’t stand it. Ewww!!!

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{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nami | Just One Cookbook January 24, 2012 at 7:10 PM

I’m okay with raw meat as long as it doesn’t have a shape of head, neck, feet…you know obvious “shape”. =P

Spiced chicken with pomegranate…that sounds really good!
Nami | Just One Cookbook recently posted..Tomato Bacon Pasta


2 Kiran January 30, 2012 at 12:55 AM

I would faint if I’d ever come across with head, neck of feet.. I am talking of animals 😉


3 Velva January 24, 2012 at 8:24 PM

This is a wonderful chicken dish. The spices and pomegranate really bring it to a new level. Beautiful.



4 Kiran January 30, 2012 at 12:56 AM

Welcome to Recipebox and thanks for the compliments :)


5 anh@anhsfoodblog.com January 24, 2012 at 11:38 PM

I love that antique spoon! :) And the chicken sounds totally delicious!
anh@anhsfoodblog.com recently posted..Happy Lunar New Year! – Vietnamese sticky rice, coated in mung bean


6 Kiran January 30, 2012 at 12:57 AM

Thanks sweetie :)


7 Gayatri January 25, 2012 at 1:31 AM

Wow! This looks so good. I’m definitely going to try and make this for my husband. While I am vegetarian, I have no problem prepping raw meat. Strange but true.
Gayatri recently posted..Munch Bunch 6 – Japanese


8 Kiran January 30, 2012 at 1:02 AM

Thanks sweetie — do make it for the Husband and let me know his opinion on taste :)

Aahhh, the things we Indians do for our husbands :)


9 chinmayie @ love food eat January 25, 2012 at 1:34 AM

I am vegetarian but I have no problem handling raw meat. I wash my hand a million times after cooking though 😉 My husband who is a non vegetarian runs away from the kitchen if i am cooking meat! He can’t stand the sight of it. lol…


10 Kiran January 30, 2012 at 1:03 AM

Major LOL’s here 😀


11 Maureen January 25, 2012 at 7:06 AM

The only raw meat I cannot handle is liver. I swear it moves all on its own.

This dish looks SO good. I’m glad you made it for us :)
Maureen recently posted..Day One of Homemade Vanilla Extract


12 Kiran January 30, 2012 at 1:06 AM

Hahaha!!! I share similar view on livers 😉

I am glad you loved this recipe :)


13 vianney January 25, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Your spiced chicken looks amazing!! I love star anise. I could not see raw meat when I was expecting my second child, but normally do not have a problem with it.
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14 Kiran January 30, 2012 at 1:21 AM

Thanks sweetie — star anises’ are generally used in meat recipes. Of course, it’s also very prevalent in beverages.


15 Carolina HeartStrings January 25, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Always love your recipes. So different and exotic sounding to us over here.
Carolina HeartStrings recently posted..AUTISM – EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS


16 Kiran January 30, 2012 at 1:24 AM

Thanks dear :)


17 Katherine Martinelli January 25, 2012 at 3:44 PM

I absolutely adore pomegranate and this dish looks right up my alley!! Antique prop shopping sounds like so much fun, I’m envious! Gorgeous shots as always Kiran :-)
Katherine Martinelli recently posted..Barefoot Contessa Lemon Chicken


18 Kiran January 30, 2012 at 1:25 AM

Thanks sweetie — I wish it was possible for us to go antique prop shopping. Together :)


19 Glamorous Glutton January 25, 2012 at 5:32 PM

What is National Peanut Butter Day for!? ; ) as you know I really don’t have a problem with the handling meat thing, but do sympathise if you find it icky. Great looking props, the sangria might be to blame but these were a great choice. GG
Glamorous Glutton recently posted..Sweet Cherry Pie Pops


20 Kiran January 30, 2012 at 1:28 AM

It’s a day where Peanut Butter becomes the center of attention 😉


21 Juliana January 25, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Most of the time I can handle raw meat…yours chicken dish with pomegranate looks delicious, I like the spices that you have in this chicken dish. Beautiful pictures as well Kiran.


22 Kiran January 30, 2012 at 1:30 AM

Thanks sweetie — have a great week ahead :)


23 Ashley - Baker by Nature January 25, 2012 at 7:22 PM

I’ll take your dare!! This looks beautiful, and if it goes well with sangria – color me sold!!
Ashley – Baker by Nature recently posted..Ultimate Banana Bread


24 Kiran January 30, 2012 at 1:31 AM

The dare is on! Let me know how it tastes (spiced chicken + sangria) 😉


25 Vijitha January 25, 2012 at 7:49 PM

I am loving that antic spoon and the chicken smothered with the spices looks so spicy good. I cook chicken with pomegranate molasses and garnishes with its arils. This dish looks very good and I will try your version soon.
Vijitha recently posted..Chocolate mousse with avocado – Valentine’s day special


26 Kiran January 30, 2012 at 1:34 AM

Thanks sweetie — I’ve never use pom molasses. A must try and hopefully, soon :)


27 Carolyn Jung January 25, 2012 at 8:39 PM

So true! Raw meat is definitely messy. But it’s so worth it when the results look as delectable as this spiced chicken dish. 😉
Carolyn Jung recently posted..“Wine and Wishes,” “Martinis & Manicures,” and More


28 Kiran January 30, 2012 at 1:35 AM

Thanks sweetie — your comment definitely made me smile :)


29 Rebecca January 25, 2012 at 9:55 PM

looks great I am with you not a big fan of raw meat either but like to eat it
Rebecca recently posted..Cajun spiced yogurt sauce


30 Kiran January 31, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Thanks sweetie — I just handled a raw meat, and it was NOT GOOD!


31 Ann January 25, 2012 at 11:15 PM

The recipe and the props are lovely! Well worth it! My niece is the same way about handling meat…you can’t explain it, but it’s there! Your photos are – as always – lovely!
Ann recently posted..Cauliflower Steaks with Olive Relish and Tomato Sauce


32 Kiran January 31, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Thanks sweetie :)


33 Jenny @ Savour the Senses January 25, 2012 at 11:30 PM

I am not a huge peanut butter fan, but this recipe might win me over! I love the addition of the pomegranate!
Jenny @ Savour the Senses recently posted..Wild Rice & Vegetable Stew


34 Kiran January 31, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Welcome to Recipebox and thanks for commenting. I did not incorporate any peanut butter in this recipe :)


35 Jenny @ Savour the Senses January 31, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Oh haha I was thinking since you were talking about national peanut butter day that it was in the recipe, got it! =)
Jenny @ Savour the Senses recently posted..Deviled Eggs


36 Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella January 26, 2012 at 12:56 AM

This looks great and I wish I had seen this recipe a few days ago when I had some arils that needed eating! Next time :)
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella recently posted..The Winery, Surry Hills


37 Kiran January 31, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Aww.. Next time, OK? Thanks sweetie!!


38 Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb January 26, 2012 at 3:07 AM

I dont feel that comfi either cutting meat. especially after watching them cut the head off the chicken or when I watch these people cutting beef for me in the market (remember the markets in india?). But its part of cooking so just do it is my moto and then at least I can enjoy the end result. =)

Your spiced chicken is tempting me and its lunch time. Gorgeous idea to combine it with pomegranats. I have bookmared this. thanks a lots for sharing Kiran! =)
Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb recently posted..Spätzle – Middle European noodles


39 Kiran January 31, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Thanks for sharing this recipe with your readers, sweetie :)


40 Nash at Plateful January 26, 2012 at 3:59 AM

I don’t mind handling raw meat as much as I mind prepping raw fish–the fishy stench is so difficult to wash away! Girl, wish I could join you on your pro hunting spree, totally loved that vintage spoon–there’s no chance of finding vintage stuffs where I live :( Oh, and I love spicy chicken dishes–in fact i have one really spicy chicken recipe coming up next on my blog :)
Nash at Plateful recently posted..Spice Crusted, Pan-fried, Sole — Manthal Fry


41 Kiran January 31, 2012 at 3:25 PM

For fishy stench, marinating it in a little lemon juice and turmeric usually helps. I wish I could go on antique shopping spree with you and the rest!! Bet it would be funner 😀

Can’t wait to see your spicy chicken recipe!!!


42 Sophie January 26, 2012 at 5:20 AM

Yum!! Waw too! What a festive & colourful dish!
I love marinated chicken a lot & these spices, are spices that I adore! I also love pomegranata’s!

Cashews , I love a lot too! :) thanks for sharing this magnificent chicken dish with us! 😉
Sophie recently posted..Gluten-free spaghetti with spinach, garlic & smoked bacon


43 Kiran January 31, 2012 at 3:26 PM

You are welcome sweetie — and thank you for making me smile :)


44 Kelly @ Inspired Edibles January 26, 2012 at 3:52 PM

What a lovely chicken recipe and your presentation is so beautiful too…
Kelly @ Inspired Edibles recently posted..Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos with Avocado and Arugula


45 Kiran January 31, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Thanks sweetie :)


46 Jennifer (Delicieux) January 26, 2012 at 9:29 PM

As a vegetarian who cooks meat for her meat loving fiance I can certainly sympathise regarding the ick factor of dealing with raw meat! However your chicken dish looks fabulous! I love all of those spices.
Jennifer (Delicieux) recently posted..Orange Scented Olive Oil Cake


47 Kiran January 31, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Oh! I’ve heard a lot of vegetarians having to go through with cooking meat — such courage and vigor — BRAVO!


48 Reem | Simply Reem January 26, 2012 at 9:45 PM

I have to agree with Nami, as long as there is no head or face I am Ok with raw meat…
God, does that make me cruel….LOL
I love your pictures dear and a wonderful recipe.


49 Kiran January 31, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Nope, you aren’t cruel at all — I am a wuss 😉


50 Kristi Rimkus January 27, 2012 at 9:10 AM

I had no idea it was National Peanut Butter Day – there’s a day for everything, isn’t there? I don’t blame you for not wanting to touch raw meat. I use food handlers gloves when I’m cooking chicken just because you have to handle it so much to cook it. Anyways, this dish looks incredible, and your pictures are fantastic as always!
Kristi Rimkus recently posted..It’s Another Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup Recipe


51 Kiran January 31, 2012 at 3:51 PM

Me too! There’s a day for everything, and it’s getting harder to keep up these days 😀 Need to get me one of those food handlers. Appreciate for any recommendation?


52 lisaiscooking January 27, 2012 at 10:21 AM

The spices sound great with the chicken, and I love the cashews on top! Maybe I should have some sangria this weekend. I don’t mind being inspired to shop. 😉
lisaiscooking recently posted..Grilled Carrot Salad with Brown Butter Vinaigrette


53 Kiran January 31, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Wahoo! Try the sangria recipe and go for shopping. Provided you don’t drive 😉


54 Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake January 27, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Beautiful, vibrant colours! On totally didn’t know about peanut butter day, very interesting. 😀
Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake recently posted..Ryori Ryokan Hanaoka, Takayama – best value, best meals we had in Japan


55 Kiran January 31, 2012 at 4:03 PM

Thanks sweetie — there’s always a different day for celebrations here in the States 😀


56 Magic of Spice January 28, 2012 at 12:41 PM

I am not a big fan of touching raw meat, but do OK with it, weird I guess since I am a vegetarian 😉 I adore your spice choices here…great dish!
Magic of Spice recently posted..What’s on the side? Vegetarian "Meatballs" with 5 Star Flair


57 Kiran January 31, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Magic of Spice,
Thanks sweetie — but I am amazed at every vegetarians’, who confessed to working with meat :) Bravo!


58 Asmita January 28, 2012 at 9:22 PM

I love the spices you have used to make this chicken. Must be absolutely delicious!
I have no problem in handling raw meat.
Asmita recently posted..Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad


59 Kiran January 31, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Thanks dear — I am still struggling with meat handling :)


60 Annapet January 29, 2012 at 1:39 PM

See, I will sure miss out on this because I cannot stop eating POMEGRANATES. This will be something someone else should make for me, hiding the pomegranates, too, so I don’t eat them [lychee and mango share the fate].

Thanks for this chicken recipe. I think I have everything in the ref/pantry. Except the pomegranates, of course ;-).
Annapet recently posted..Yuzu Cream Filling for Macarons


61 Kiran January 31, 2012 at 4:20 PM

You cracked me up with your pomegranate obsessions :)


62 Rosa January 31, 2012 at 4:25 AM

What a great dish! So mouthwatering. Those falvors are marvelous.




63 Kiran January 31, 2012 at 4:20 PM

Thanks dear :)


64 easyfoodsmith February 2, 2012 at 7:49 AM

You are so right about the ‘icky’ factor! And I thought I was the only one who still suffered from it despite so many years of handling it in the kitchen. Your spicy chicken sounds delicious. I love using whole garam masala in meaty dishes…it does wonders to the dish!


65 Kiran February 4, 2012 at 1:17 AM

So relieved I am not alone in this issue :)


66 Katie {Epicurean Mom Blog} February 3, 2012 at 11:32 PM

Wow. Just WOW! What a fabulous dish!! Can’t wait to try it!


67 Kiran February 4, 2012 at 1:18 AM

Thanks sweetie — just let me know how it tastes :)


68 wine month club March 21, 2013 at 8:18 PM

This was unquestionably an interesting and insigtful look
into your entire world. Do you think you’re arranging to jot down some additional from the potential?
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