The Musette: Chicken Vesuvius with lemon rice

One of our Asian friends loves spicy food so I made him a number of dishes including my Chicken Vesuvius dish which adds heat through a bunch of different aromatics: cayenne, black pepper, Serrano chillis, spicy mustard and other the warming spices. I like to dial down the heat with cashew cream, so that the dish has only a lingering heat, as well as a smooth, rich finish. The sauce can also happily be used with other meats, fish and tofu.

I’ll provide the recipes for the accompanying dishes in subsequent Saturdays.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 750g (1 1/2 lbs) chicken thighs, skin off
  • 120ml ( 1/2 cup) mild vinegar, such as rice
  • 10 fat garlic cloves
  • 1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 Serrano chilles, roughly chopped up1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 240ml (1 cup) chicken stock
  • 50g (1/3 cup) raw cashews
  • 120ml (1/2 cup) single (half-and-half) cream
  • 1 tbsp neutral flavoured coconut oil
  • sea salt to taste
  • chopped coriander (cilantro) and chopped green chilli, for garnish


1.Add the vinegar, garlic, ginger, all the spices, mustard and chopped chilles to a food processor and purée until very smooth. Make a couple of incisions on each thigh, just so that the marinade can get deep into the meat. Rub the paste all over the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours.

2. Soak the cashew nuts in hot water for 2-3 hours too.

2. Add the coconut or vegetable oil to a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they start to get brown at the edges, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken and all the marinade and sauté, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes, until the spices are intensely aromatic. You may need to add a splash of water if you see the paste sticking to the bottom of the pan — don’t let those spices burn!

3. Add the chicken stock and gently simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. Keep the lid off and stir every few minutes.

4. While the chicken is simmering, make the cashew cream. Drain and then add the cashews, cream and a splash of water to a blender and purée into a smooth mixture.

5. Add the cashew cream to the pot once the meat is very tender. Keep simmering for around 10 minutes, until the sauce has the desired consistency (I like mine quite thick). Check for seasoning. Garnish and serve immediately with rice recipe below). Enjoy!

6. I let my dish cool and refrigerated it overnight, re-heating it the following day. This will sit happily in the fridge for a day or two should you have any leftovers.

Method for successfully cooking rice, every single time

I cook my rice in the microwave! You get lovely separate grains – so important – and it’s perfect to eat straight away or reheat later. I work on the basis of 50g (1/4 cup) Basmati rice per person.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 300g (11/2 cups) Basmati rice, rinsed and well-drained
  • 600ml (2 1/2 cups) boiling water


1.Put rice and water in a large glass bowl and cover with a plate.

2. Cook for 14 minutes on medium then allow 10 minutes standing time.

3. Season to taste

If you don’t have a microwave, cook it on the stove using the same proportions, but with cold not boiling water, in a saucepan with a well-fitting lid. It should cook in 15 minutes with 10 minutes standing time. Season to taste.

To turn the above boiled into lemon rice. Add the zest and juice of 2 lemons and 1/4 tsp ground turmeric. In a frying pan, heat 1 tbsp neutral flavoured vegetable oil (I use coconut) and when hot add 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds. Once they start to splutter, turn down the heat and add 1 -2 dried bird’s eye chillies and 5-6 fresh (or dried) curry leaves. Add the lemon rice to this mix and gently stir through.

33 Comments on “The Musette: Chicken Vesuvius with lemon rice

  1. That I am definitely going to have to try sometime soon. I’ve been looking for new dishes lately to pull me out of the winter cooking rut I’ve been in. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I guessed ‘Vesuvius’ would = hot! Being a veggo I’m not into chicken part but I’ll give the lemon rice (sans chillies & curry leaves) a go. I always microwave my rice too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 💜 Why was I NOT!!! informed and invited 😪😭🤔 ?

    Sounds Delish 😋 ; good on yer Control Freak, I look forward to being invited to such a repast next time you are Down Under staying in Furnished Apartments so as to have a kitchen and dining area.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The Musette: Coconut Red Lentil Dal and Pineapple Raita – View from the Back

  5. Pingback: The Musette: Chickpeas with Spinach, and Kachumba Salad – View from the Back

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