Chicken Masala with Figs and Golden Raisins

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I had a very busy day on Saturday and by the time I got home around 5PM the last thing I wanted to do was cook dinner. Ever have those nights?

I do! More often than I’d like to admit.

But we had a bunch of leftover ingredients in the fridge that I wanted to use up before our upcoming trip, and since I hate to waste food, I used that to motivate myself to get off my lazy butt and cook something. Earlier last week, I bookmarked a Nigella Lawson recipe that looked absolutely delicious, so I decided to recreate her dish using what I had on hand.

Chicken Masala with Figs and Golden Raisins l

This Chicken Masala with Figs and Golden Raisins is the perfect comfort dish for a cozy night at home. Everything gets cooked in one pan, which makes cleanup soooo much easier.

On a side note, does anyone else get really excited about one-pan dishes!? Meeeeee!

Chicken Masala with Figs and Golden Raisins l

I highly recommend using chicken thighs for this recipe because they stay very juicy as the masala simmers. But if you prefer chicken breasts (or if that’s what you already have), they’ll do the trick.

Vegetarians and vegans, I am sure this would be great with organic tofu as well. If you try that version, let me know.

Chicken Masala with Figs and Golden Raisins l

We ate this masala with whole wheat couscous, which was great at soaking up all of the sauce. Yum!


Chicken Masala with Figs and Golden Raisins
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • ¾ cup dried figs
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 cloves (or ¼ teaspoon ground)
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic (3-4 large cloves)
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1.5 onions, chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 Tablespoons tomato paste, diluted in ½ cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped (for serving)
  1. Combine the dried figs and raisins in a medium bowl with 2 cups of hot water. Soak for 2 hours. (Or soak in a bowl of cold water overnight.)
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, coriander, cloves, red pepper flakes, cardamom, garlic and ginger. Add ¼ cup water, and stir to make a paste. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of oil. Add half the chicken and brown on all sides for 4-5 minutes. Do not cook completely. Remove from pan and onto a plate or bowl, set aside. Add the remaining chicken and repeat, adding to the bowl once browned.
  4. Add the remaining Tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the cinnamon stick. Add onions and salt, and sauté until onions begin to soften, 3 minutes. Add the spice mixture and stir. Add the chicken back to the pan, then add the figs, raisins and their soaking liquid. Stir. Next, add the diced tomatoes and diluted tomato paste.
  5. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. At the 10 minute mark, remove the cover from the pan and allow the liquid to reduce for the remainder of the cooking time. Serve hot with couscous and sprinkle each dish with fresh cilantro.
Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson.
Chicken Masala with Figs and Golden Raisins l


  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
    March 8, 2016 - 4:13 pm | Permalink

    This looks so delicious!!! Ah! Swoon-worthy and I just love the raisins and figs! They are the best pops of sweetness!

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      March 8, 2016 - 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Rebecca! I love them too! I add them to everything.

  • Beverley @ Born to Sweat
    March 9, 2016 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    ahhh i love Nigella. I could seriously listen to her all day and walk away with a better grasp on grammar and vocabulary than 10 years of schooling could give me!
    definitely interested in this recipe, but would substitute with tofu! thanks for sharing

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      March 9, 2016 - 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Agreed!!! Nigella is incredible. Also LOVING your new blog, Beverley!

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