Target Health Blog

Roast Cardamom/Curry Chicken Thighs with Sumac, Cilantro, Mango, Dates and Chopped Pistachios

October 2, 2017

Target Healthy Eating

There are three aspects of my latest recipe that make it especially good: First, you marinate ingredients overnight. Second: the wide variety of herbs and spices, creates the depth and levels of flavor. Third: the 25 fresh garlic cloves, surprise many people; however, if roasted long enough, garlic takes on an unbelievably sweet nutty taste, without which this recipe would not be as good as it is. Put off making this, until you have collected all the spices. I get my spices from, FreshDirect and a little family owned Asian market a few blocks away. Once you have all the herbs and spices, give it a try. It's worth it! The second time I experimented with this recipe, was to show off with our wonderful house guests, who, I might add, gobbled it up, with nothing left over. Because the natural juices are so-o flavorful, you've got to serve this chicken dish with rice, couscous, mashed potatoes, risotto, or orzo, to help soak up the gravy au natural. In addition, serve warm pita or flat bread to sop up the juices. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.


Zest of 1 fresh lemon

4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Zest of 1 fresh orange

4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Zest of 1 fresh lime

4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sumac

2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard

4 Tablespoons honey

1/2 cup cream sherry or Madeira

1/2 cup chicken stock or broth

1 bay leaf

1 pinch chili flakes

1 pinch black pepper

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon cardamom

2 teaspoons curry powder

8 chicken thighs (skin on, bone in)

3 cups sliced carrots (1/4-inch thick)

1 onion, halved and thinly sliced

25 fresh garlic cloves, sliced

2 cups sliced dates

3 mangos cut in cubes

1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

2/3 cup fresh cilantro, well chopped

2/3 cup fresh parsley, well chopped

2 scallions, chopped (for roast)

2 scallions, thinly sliced (for garnish)

1/2 cup pistachio nuts, toasted, then chopped, for garnish

This recipe is great because of the myriad of ingredients like orange, lemon, lime, mango and dates. I'm also experimenting with new spices like sumac. The Madeira also adds a special touch. In my recipe for chopped chicken liver, I swear it's the Madeira that makes such a difference. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.


1. Do all of your chopping, slicing, zesting, first.

Chop several items on one cutting board, to save time. Here, we're slicing onion, garlic and carrots. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.
Having peeled 3 mangos, we're now cutting into bitesize pieces. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

2. Zest of one lemon

3. Zest of one orange

4. Zest of one lime

5. Quarter the lemon, lime and the orange lengthwise, removing any seeds. Thinly slice crosswise into small wedges Reserve slices.

6. In a saucepan, whisk together lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, oil, mustard, honey, salt, bay leaf, chili flakes and black pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool.

Mustard-honey mixture is now cooling. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

7. In a very large bowl, add the honey mixture. Next, add carrots, onion, garlic slices, chopped scallions, dates, thyme, curry, flax seeds, cream sherry, chicken stock or broth, orange and lemon slices, cilantro. Stir this mixture several times.

8. Add chicken thighs to the bowl with sauce, stir sauce over the chicken several times. Cover and let marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

All of the ingredients will be covered and marinate overnight in the fridge. Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

9. Heat oven to 425 degrees.

10. Line a large roasting dish with parchment (optional) to make cleaning easier, later.

11. Transfer all ingredients, including all of the marinade, to a large roasting dish that can go from oven to table. Chicken should be skin side up.

This is my favorite oven to table large size, baking dish. -  From your bowl of marinating ingredients, first put the chicken into the baking dish, with the skin side facing up. Then slowly, with a large spoon, add all of the fruit and veggies, over the chicken. Finally, add all of the liquid. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.
Going into oven to roast. Another secret of this flavorful recipe, is the amount of fresh sliced garlic. When I told our house guests that there were 25 garlic cloves (large slices), they were quite surprised. People don't realize that when you roast garlic for this amount of time, it becomes sweet and so delicious, you can eat it plain, as a regular vegetable. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.
Out of the oven. This chicken is so moist and delicious! I must confess that as I'm putting this newsletter together, everything about this recipe is making me hungry. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

12. Roast until chicken is browned and cooked through, about 30 to 40 for thighs.

13. While chicken is roasting, make saffron jasmine rice, with curry, golden raisins, and toasted pine nuts

14. When the chicken is done, give the sauce in the pan a stir; if the sauce looks too dry add 2 to 3 Tablespoons chicken stock or broth or wine. Add the parsley and scallions and stir into the sauce. If you want the sauce thicker, mix some chickpea flour into several Tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt, and add to the sauce, mixing the flour very well into the rest of the sauce.

15. Continue roasting the carrots until they are tender, about 7 to 12 minutes longer.

16. Serve the chicken and saffron rice with sauce spooned over.

17. Sprinkle the chicken with the toasted, chopped pistachio nuts.

The aroma of herbs and spices filled the air and beckoned us to begin the feast, which we did with gusto! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.
With our relatives visiting us from Germany, we started this meal with chilled Pouilly-Fuisse and a tomato/avocado/cucumber salad with an extra virgin olive oil & fresh lemon, dressing. Then the new recipe, the chicken thighs with all of the luscious gravy, served over one of my oldest most reliable recipes, saffron/curry rice with golden raisins and toasted pine nuts. Both dishes will be finished by the time we clear the table for dessert; which is a simple and refreshing, strawberry/blueberry mousse. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.
Dessert: Fresh mango, Cheese & grapes, Blueberry cake. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

Last week, we all saw Mary Jane by playwright, Amy Herzog at New York Theater Workshop, where THI is a patron. On another evening, we saw Prince of Broadway, a lovely musical review of some of the productions of director/producer, Hal Prince. Prince of Broadway was playing at the Samuel J. Friedman, Broadway Theater of Manhattan Theater Club, where THI is also a patron. We enjoyed both of these shows and recommend them highly. 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

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