Indian spiced chicken with coconut

Diana Henry:  From The Oven To The Table  Book Review 

I love Diana Henrys books, and this one is no exception. In fact I would say it’s my favourite! 

The sub-title says it all,“ Simple Dishes That Look After Themselves”


As much as I love cooking, I’m often a lazy cook, and an even lazier cleaner upper ( I absolutely loathe washing dishes) SO dishes without dishes is a win for me. 

The book has everything I love about a good recipe book. Delicious recipes, obviously, with interesting ingredient combination and beautiful images is what most expect from a recipe book, and rightly so. ( Hard cover,  with a ribbon should also be standard in my opinion.)
I have a few additional criteria, I love recipes that tell a story, that evoke a memory or simply entertain me. I love a good description either of how the recipe came about ( such as this one) or what the recipe involves. I don’t necessarily need a long, overly flowery intro, I just simply want to know a little more about the recipe or the authors process. Diana Henry does this beautifully, I enjoy her almost mater of fact writing. The chapter openers and introduction are my favourites to read, and this book ticks all the boxes for a well written read

The book is divided into unusual chapters, focusing on one pot or quick easy cook meals, as opposed to the standard breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipe collections. Arranged into Simple Suppers, Chicken Thighs ( yes a whole chapter on Diana Henrys favourite ingredient) Veggies from the seasons, Grains & Pulses, Weekends, High Days & Holidays, and Something Sweet, all the chapters have a wonderful variety of one dish meals or accompaniments.  All the recipes follow the theme of one dish recipes, hands free oven cooking, where the oven, not the stove is the focus of the cooking of the dish. Simple yet throughly delicious, time savers but not not light on taste, only time. No fancy terms or fussy techniques. Just a roasting dish and an oven ( and a well stocked pantry ) are for the most part all that are required to make the recipes in this book. It’s a modern, current and very useful book. I can’t recommend it highly enough.



When I read the description of this recipe, I was sold! “ This dish is not from India. I just made it up to feed my longing for Indian spices.” 
Well I couldn’t agree more, a longing for Indian spices is a perfectly good reason to make up a recipe.

Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients for the spices, it’s worth it ! 

The dish is slightly sweet from the sweet potatoes, so I omitted the brown sugar, which you might need if using the chilli, which I also omitted because of an 8 year old who has a sensitive palate.

Other than making the spice paste it’s a simple one dish recipe and is now a family favourite!

Serves 6

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 60 minutes 


For the spice paste 

5ml/ 1 tsp black mustard seeds

5ml / 1 tsp black peppercorns

15ml / 1 tablespoon cumin seed 

15ml / 1 tablespoon coriander seeds 

5ml / 1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

2 red chills, deseeded and chopped 9 optional – I omitted ) 

3 cloves garlic, grated 

2cm fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

30ml / 2 tablespoons malt vinegar 

1 tablespoon cooking oil

For the chicken

1,8kg Free Range Chicken, giblets removed 

Sae salt & black pepper 

15ml/ 1 tablespoon cooking oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, grated 

2 cm fresh ginger, peeled and grated 

400g can Cherry tomatoes in thick juice

5ml / 1 teaspoon brown sugar ( optional) 

400g can of coconut cream

400g sweet potato, scrubbed and cut into chunks

To serve

Coriander, raita and naan bread 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200oC
  2. Start by making the spice paste: dry fry the mustard seeds in a hot frying pan until they start to pop.( less than 1 minute)  Add the peppercorns, cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, and cinnamon. Cook for only 2 minutes ( don’t allow the spices to burn or they will taste bitter.
  3. Place the toasted spices with the ginger, garlic, chillis, vinegar and oil in a mini food processor and blend to a paste. Alternatively you can do this by hand in a pestle and mortar. 
  4. Divide the spice paste mixture in half and use the first half to rub all over the chicken and in the cavity, and set aside.
  5. In a casserole dish large enough to fit the chicken and veggies, heat the oil. Sauté the onion until soft then add the ginger, garlic and remaining spice paste. Cook for 2 minutes. 
  6. Add the tomatoes, seasoning and sugar if using, cook for 5 minutes until slightly reduced. Add the coconut cream, and heat through. Place the whole chicken in the sauce with the sweet potatoes scattered around. 
  7. Cook for 20 minutes uncovered. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, reduce temperature to 180oC and cover. Cook for 30 minutes. Remove lid and cook uncovered for a further 15 minutes. The bird should be cooked when the thigh juices run out clear when pierced with a Sharpe knife.
  8. Serve with coriander, raita and naan bread.

Indian inspired one dish Chicken with naan bread and raita

THIS IS NOT AN AFFILIATE LINK, Ive included the link to amazon for anyone interested in Diana Henrys other books 

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