Spicy, Saucy Chicken

The recipe title isn’t terribly informative, right? In addition to delicious and addictive (which I thought were a little too much to add in a recipe title) spicy and saucy were the only adjectives I could come up with to categorize this dish.  It’s appropriate too, because the only thing I had on my mind when I made this was that I needed something that was, well, spicy and saucy.

This recipe for super saucy chicken turned out to be everything I dreamed it would be as I added some of my favorite ingredients to a pot, turned it on, and crossed my fingers.  Cumin, tomato, paprika, garlic, ginger, and sriracha work together to make a slurpable chicken dish that feels so right on a tortilla, ladled over rice, or eaten with a spoon. It’s a fantastic flavor combination that doesn’t really know where it belongs except on my plate.

As this was the kind of dish that grew out of a craving coupled with zero desire to go to the grocery store, I’ve included alternatives to some of the less common ingredients on this list to encourage you to make it tonight!


The Recipe (because I’m tired of repeating those adjectives)
A note on the subjectiveness of spiciness: 1 tablespoon of sriracha was the perfect amount for my weak ability to handle the sensation of a burning mouth. If you’re a person who enjoys some serious kick, add it to taste. However spicy you like it, this chicken goes wonderfully in a tortilla or over lime cilantro rice (pictured above without the cilantro), or both!

Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, minced*
1 tbsp cumin seeds*

2 cups water
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp sweet paprika
4 bone-in chicken thighs, skins removed*1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp sriracha (depending on how spicy you like it, add more or less to taste)*
2 tsp black pepper

In a large pot, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Once the pot’s hot, add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook for 8 minutes, or until the onion starts to turn golden brown, stirring occasionally.

Add the garlic, ginger, and cumin and fry for a minute. Then, add the water, tomato paste, paprika, chicken, sriracha, black pepper, and another pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower it immediately to a very faint simmer (the water should be just barely moving – this cooking method is awesome and results in super moist and tender chicken). Cover with a lid and cook for 40 minutes, turning the chicken from time to time.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare Pioneer Woman’s lime cilantro rice, if desired.

When the chicken is fully cooked, remove it to a cutting board. Tear or cut the meat away from the bone, and set aside.

Bring the pot back up to a boil, and reduce the liquid by half. Then, taste and correct for salt and spiciness (feel free to add a splash of cream if it’s too spicy) and add the chicken back in.

Spoon over rice and eat immediately!



  • Substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts if you want, but start checking the chicken for doneness around 8 minutes.
  • Substitute 1 teaspoon of ground ginger for the fresh, or omit
  • Substitute 1 tsp of ground cumin if you don’t have the seeds
  • Substitute ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper for the sriracha, adding more to taste


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