Chai-Spiced Chicken, Barley, and Chickpea Stew

By • February 18, 2013 • 7 Comments

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Author Notes: This hearty stew is a taste of India. It contains the contents of 2 teabags (1 tablespoon) Chai Spice Black Tea, which adds an exotic, spicy aroma and flavor to the dish. It is delicious served with a dollop of plain yogurt, with flatbread on the side.

The Chai spices I used (Stash’s Premium Chai Spice Black Tea) is a blend of premium black teas and spices: ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom. I also added fresh ginger, garlic, and ground cumin.

Food52 Review: The hardest part of this recipe is carrying the groceries into the house! I'm not known as an especially organized cook, but with this recipe I wanted to make sure I followed it to the letter. I got my mise-en-serious-place which made putting the soup together a breeze (and it also took very little effort). The payoff was a stew that had real depth of flavor and texture. Served with warm naan, it made a truly a delicious meal. I didn't need to make any adjustments to the recipe -- the finished product is so good that I don't see a reason to.deneen

Serves 4 to 6

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Leaves from 2 teabags Chai spice black tea, emptied
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 finely chopped roasted red bell peppers (can be from a jar)
  • One (15-ounce) can good quality tomato sauce + 1cup water
  • 5 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock or store-bought low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1/2 cup quick-cook pearl barley
  • Two (15-ounce) cans organic chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
  • Plain yogurt and flatbread, for serving
  1. Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt; add to pot and cook, turning once, until browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Reduce heat to low and let oil cool a little. Add the ginger and garlic. Sauté until the ginger and garlic just start to brown.
  2. Add cumin, red pepper flakes, and the tea leaves; sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in the roasted red bell peppers and tomato sauce. Rinse the tomato sauce can with 1 cup water and add it to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 15 minutes.
  3. Return reserved chicken with any accumulated juices and 4 cups of chicken stock to the pot. Scrape up any browned bits. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, occasionally stirring, until chicken is tender, about 25 minutes.
  4. Combine 1/2 cup barley and 1 1/2 cups chicken stock in a 2-quart saucepan with a lid. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to low heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes.
  5. When the chicken is cooked, transfer to a plate. Add barley and chickpeas to the pot; bring to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes. Using 2 forks, shred chicken and add to stew. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and simmer for a couple more minutes. Taste and season with salt and more lemon juice, if needed.
  6. To serve: Ladle hot stew into bowls; garnish with cilantro or parsley. Place a serving dish with plain yogurt and a plate with flat bread on your table.

Comments (7) Questions (0)


6 months ago Kukla

You are welcome kav1234! Please let me know did you like the dish or not.


6 months ago kav1234

I would love to try this recipe for the weekend thanks for posting. - Kavin Austin Blake


7 months ago deneen

Made this over the weekend & it got huge thumbs up from everyone in the house. Will definitely become part of my repertoire.


7 months ago Kukla

Thanks a lot deneen!!! It’s so good to know that you and your family liked my recipe!


6 months ago Kukla

Thank you so very much deneen for choosing to test my recipe from so many choices and especially for your wonderful review!!. I read reviews for each and every Community Pick and think yours is one of the best!


about 1 year ago Kukla

Thanks a lot Suzanne! You are very kind as always!


about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

How wonderful!! I bet that chai spice in the stew is amazing. What a great idea.