Chicken with figs

Many great dishes must have originated from rainy weather.

I’m sure there are many rain-shy cooks, like me, who deterred by the wet outdoors, and looking for a quick meal, have resorted to store cupboard bingo and created something that, just works.

This is that dish for me. My accidental curry, which came about because I happened to have some dried figs lying around. I’ve made time and time again, for me and for friends. Many ask for it now. It’s very little effort and time spent in exchange for a really gorgeous dish.

Chicken with figs

Yields: enough for 2-3


  • 600g chicken thigh fillets, chopped into cubes
  • 250g Greek yoghurt
  • 1 large cooking onion (or two small)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1.5 tbs grated ginger
  • 12 dried figs, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¾ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 2 tbs rapeseed oil

The first thing to do is to boil the kettle and pour boiling water over the figs – and leave them to soak while you deal with the rest of the ingredients.

Now to the thighs. I love to use chicken thighs in curries. The meat is a lot more tender than breast and doesn’t dry out easily, I like to pick them over to trim off any extra fat  – but this is a personal preference. Once you’ve chopped the chicken into cubes, add them to a bowl along with the yoghurt, crushed garlic, grated ginger, chilli powder and garam masala.  Finally, take the figs from out of the water and chop finely and add to the mixture too. Stir and leave to one side.

In a lidded frying pan, heat the oil and add the onion and the cinnamon stick, fry over a medium heat until they are translucent, soft and golden. Then, add the chicken and all of the accompanying yoghurt from the bowl. Put a lid on the pan and leave to cook through, stirring every five minutes or so.

You’ll notice that the colour of the curry will darken as it cooks through and the liquid will start to reduce. I find that cooking it for around 15-20 minutes gives a sauce with a lovely dark colour and consistency – just perfect for eating with rice. Just remember to take out the cinnamon stick.