Indian Spiced Chicken and Tomato Rice

Today’s guest poster is Vivek of Vivek’s Epicurean Adventures. Talk about a guy who can cook! I met Vivek over a year ago at one of the many Fido wine classes I’ve enjoyed, and since then have shared many food adventures with him around town.

When he asked if I had any special requests for my Meal Train meal, I didn’t hesitate to tell him that I’d been craving Indian food. I knew he could hook me up right. And believe me, he did!

Please welcome Vivek and thank him for passing along some amazing family recipes!


~Indian Spiced Chicken and Tomato Rice~

by Vivek Surti of Vivek’s Epicurean Adventures

The food of India – warm with spices, rich in aroma, and plentiful in flavor – is what I grew up on. My parents and grandparents never missed an opportunity to tell us a story about the homeland, celebrate a holiday with a bountiful feast, or secretly indulge with us in a sweet snack. My memories of food are thus different than most. We never grew up with fried chicken, biscuits, meatloaf, or pasta. But talk about black eyed peas? I like those! Creamy rice with lentils and spinach? Oh yeah! Or cauliflower seasoned with onion and cumin? Now, we’re talking, people!

So, I figured I’d treat Beth and family to a little Indian home cooking and maybe even rile up Baby Eats’ Indian side!


This is a recipe I grew up on and ate all the time. My mom makes chicken a few different ways, but this is her quick and easy go to recipe that she can whip out in under half an hour. I’ve come to learn a little bit of the recipe over the years and it always comforts me after a long trip for work or even on a lazy weekend.


The tomato rice was always made as a dish for my vegetarian sister. But it was so delicious that I can’t imagine eating chicken without it. I’ve even eaten it as a snack with a spoonful of homemade yogurt. This chicken and rice warms my soul and I was extremely happy to share it with Beth as her and her husband welcome Baby into this world.


Indian Spiced Chicken and Tomato Rice


For Tomato Rice:

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cloves cardamom, crushed

1 cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves (fresh preferably, but dried works)

1 cup rice

2 cups water

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

2 tablespoons ghee (or butter)

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped (optional)

kosher salt

For Mom's Indian Spiced Chicken:

2 onions, grated

2 tomatoes, grated

1 cinnamon stick

2 cardamom cloves, crushed

3 cloves

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon ginger grated

1 tablespoon garlic grated

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp cumin

1 tablespoon yogurt

1 whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces (or 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into chunks)

1/2 cup water (or chicken stock)

Juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro

kosher salt


For Tomato Rice:

Heat a little bit of oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion, cardamom, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves to the oil and let cook until aromatic and the onions are starting to turn a deep brown, about 10 minutes. Add the rice and season with salt. Toss the rice in the oil and spices to get everything well coated. Cook the rice for about 1 minute before adding the water. Bring the rice to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to medium low and cover the pot. Add chopped tomatoes to the rice. Cook for 20 minutes until the rice is tender. Before you are ready to serve, add the ghee to the rice and then garnish with cilantro.

For Mom's Indian Spiced Chicken:

Heat some oil in a pot over medium heat and add the cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves, bay leaf. Once the oil is perfumed, about 2 minutes, add the grated onion and tomato and cook until these vegetables start to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, turmeric, cayenne, and cumin and cook for about 5 more minutes. Cook this mixture down until all the moisture is evaporated - it should look like a seasoning paste, not so much like a tomato sauce. Add the yogurt and cook for about 30 seconds before adding in the chicken. Season everything with salt and then add the water. Let this simmer for about 25-30 minutes until all the chicken is cooked and tender.

Once the chicken is tender and the sauce has reduced, add lime juice to taste (you may not use the whole lime - but add as much as you like!). Lastly before serving, sprinkle with some fresh cilantro and serve with tomato rice. Or just eat it straight out of the pan. I won't judge you, I've done it before!