Make Ahead

Chai-Spiced Chicken, Barley, and Chickpea Stew

February 18, 2013
2 Ratings
  • Serves 4 to 6
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. —Kukla

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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 teaspoon 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

5 Reviews

Kukla October 10, 2013
You are welcome kav1234! Please let me know did you like the dish or not.
deneen October 1, 2013
Made this over the weekend & it got huge thumbs up from everyone in the house. Will definitely become part of my repertoire.
Kukla October 1, 2013
Thanks a lot deneen!!! It’s so good to know that you and your family liked my recipe!
Kukla October 10, 2013
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!
Kukla February 19, 2013
Thanks a lot Suzanne! You are very kind as always!