Braised chicken with chillies

Neil Perry
Braised chicken with chillies.
Braised chicken with chillies. 

The chicken can be replaced with seafood - thickly diced blue eye or whole prawns - but they will take only minutes to cook.


12 pearl onions, peeled

2 tbsp unsalted butter

olive oil

1kg chicken thigh fillet, bone in, skin on

sea salt

5 dried long red chillies

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

2 bay leaves (fresh, if available)

1 piece of orange rind


Bring a small saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the pearl onions, reduce the heat to low and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the onions from the water and set aside.

Melt the butter with a splash of oil in a wide pan over medium heat. Put the chicken pieces into the pan in a single layer and season with sea salt. Cook the chicken slowly, turning occasionally until the skin is golden brown - about 5 minutes. Pour off any excess fat at this point.

Put the chillies in a bowl with 500ml boiling water and soak for about 30 minutes. Remove the chillies, reserving the water, and roughly chop. Blend or process the chillies, garlic, cumin and the chilli water until smooth.

Add the chilli sauce, bay leaves and orange rind to the chicken and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low, cover and braise the chicken until it is tender and the sauce has thickened a little - about 30 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and orange rind, adjust seasoning if necessary. Divide the chicken among 4 large bowls and serve with steamed jasmine rice and cucumber salad.