Apricot Chicken Masala

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Who loves Indian food? I do!

apricot chicken masala

When I was first married, I made dinner for my in-laws. I made an Indian curry dish, assuming that everybody likes Indian food. It is now family lore that my father in law scooped the first spoonful into his mouth, then looked up and said in all seriousness, “Is this some sort of joke?”

I wasn’t sure how to respond to that. Apparently it was the spiciness that got to him. Some people think that baked potatoes and plain tofu are just the right level of spice.

I like a little more flavor.

A while ago, I saw a picture of this recipe on Facebook. It came from the NY Times and it looked so appetizing. I’m big on eating with my eyes.

So I made it. And wow!apricot chicken masala

If you want a recipe that you are going to eat too much of, then Apricot Chicken Masala is your recipe. This Indian dish was so full of flavor, I could not stop eating it!

It was bursting with the aroma and taste of spices (not hot spices, just flavor spices) and the apricots were an unusual and fun ingredient. Little bursts of sweetness in the savory. This is not a hot dish, just packed with the fragrant flavors of cumin, coriander, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and garlic.

I didn’t even bother making rice, we just ate chapati with it. (I’ll share that recipe later.)

I hope that you’ll be a little adventurous and give this a try.

Apricot Chicken Masala


  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to your desired level of spiciness)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods, slightly crushes, or about 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 good sized onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • about 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast or chicken thighs cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, or 4 fresh tomatoes diced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste, diluted in 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro


  1. Cut the apricots into halves or quarter depending on their size. Soak in about 1 1/2 cups water, until they are swollen.
  2. Combine the pepper flakes, cumin, coriander, clover, cardamom, garlic and ginger. Add about 1/4 cup water and stir. Set aside.
  3. In a large saute pan over medium heat, heat oil and cinnamon stick. Add the onions and 1 teaspoon salt and saute until onions begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add spice mixture and stir. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over chicken and mix until well distributed. Add chicken to saute pan and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add apricots and their soaking liquid, diced tomatoes with their liquid and tomato paste.
  4. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes. Check the cooking liquid about halfway through. If it is very soupy and the liquid covers the chicken, remove the cover for the remainder of cooking.
  5. Transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle with cilantro.
  6. Serve with basmati rice or chapatis or naan.

Recipe Source: NY Times Cooking: Chicken and Apricot Masala (I used the review to adjust a few things so it wasn’t quite so soupy.)

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