This dish takes me back to when I first moved to Canada and would hang out with my cousin and her husband. He’s the one who got me into lifting weights way back when. After work they would pick me up and head over to their place where we’d work out in their home gym and my cousin usually had this simmering on the stove for us after we were done working out. Our evenings consisted of working out, having dinner and playing a bootleg copy of Tetris. Good ole days!
4 lbs chicken – cut into serving size pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 cloves of garlic – thinly sliced or crushed
1 teaspoon fresh ginger – crushed/sliced
2 tablespoon vegetable oil (one that can withstand high heat)
1 medium onion – chopped
1 medium tomato – chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
dash of black pepper
1/4 hot pepper (I used Habanero)
1 green onion or chive (scallion) – chopped
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried)
1 lime or lemon or 3 tablespoons of vinegar
1/2 teaspoon green seasoning
1 can chickpeas (Channa) 540 ml/194 fl oz
* I used chicken legs since I love the flavor you get from dark meat. If using chicken breast, I would sill toss in a couple pieces of dark meat just to balance things a bit.
In a large bowl place the cut pieces of chicken and pour the vinegar/lime or lemon juice and work between all the pieces of chicken. Rinse with cool water and drain. Then add all the ingredients, except the oil, sugar, chick peas and water. Allow this to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or 2 hours to get best results.
In a large heavy pot – I used an enameled cast iron pot, as I didn’t want to dig for the iron pot I got in Trinidad a few years back. A heavy pot enables better distribution of heat and makes stewing the meat much easier. Heat the oil on high heat, then add the brown sugar and stir. This is a bit of a tricky process and it’s important you get it right. No worries, I have faith in you. You want the sugar to completely dissolve, then start going frothy and finally it will go to a rich dark brown colour. DON”T let it go black or really dark brown or it will give the dish a bitter taste. Follow with the pics below.
As soon as you get the rich dark brown colour, add the pieces of seasoned chicken and stir so every piece gets colored with the caramel we just made. Use a spoon with a long handle when putting the seasoned chicken into the pot, as the hot oil/sugar combo can cause some splattering. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium/low, cover the pot and allow that to cook for 15 minutes (stir occasionally).
If there’s any marinade left in the bowl – keep it. While this cooks, open and rinse the can of channa (chick peas). I like to rinse any canned beans I use as I don’t care for the liquid it’s packed in, plus it’s usually loaded in sodium. After a good rinse, empty it into to bowl with the left over marinade.
By this time the chicken should have a nice rich brown colour. Remove the lid and turn up the heat to cook off all the liquid which developed as the lid was on. The key is to burn off ALL that liquid.
As soon as the liquid burns off, add the leftover marinade and chick peas to the pot. Give it a good stir and add the 3/4 cup of water. Bring this up to a boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow this to cook for about 12 minutes. Stir a couple times during this cooking period. After 10-12 minutes, check to see if the gravy is runny or thick. If you find that it’s too thin, turn up the heat and cook off some of the liquid. For me,, the perfect consistency is like a stew or thick soup as I usually eat this on a bed of rice and love thick gravy.
Give this one a try – it’s loaded with flavour and I’m sure it will be a hit with your family and friends! Please leave me your comments or questions below as it’s always appreciated. Even if it’s just to say hello. And don’t forget to check out the links at the side for the Cooking Videos, connect with me on Twitter and to join our select group on Facebook. See the images on the right side of the page to get started. And before I go I’d like to invite you to check out our new store, stocked with everyday cooking items. Including the cast iron pot I used in making this recipe. Browse The Caribbean Store. Do check out the huge selection of pepper sauces (Hot sauces) while you’re there!