Mom’s Chicken With Turmeric Tahini, Chickpeas, and Onions

April 28, 2021 Updated: April 28, 2021

This easy sheet-pan dinner exudes exotic aromas and makes an exciting colorful presentation. It smells like the butter chicken I get from my favorite Indian restaurant. As it roasts, the sauce sets up on the chicken, giving you a thick, crunchy-on-the-edges, chewy-moist-in-the-middle texture—amazing.

Serves 4

  • 1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) chicken, cut into parts, or 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups Turmeric Tahini Sauce (recipe follows), divided
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced, divided
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Coarsely chopped leaves from 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1/4–1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

Rub the chicken pieces with a generous amount of salt and pepper and put in a large zip-top plastic bag with 1 cup of the tahini sauce. Seal the bag, leaving one corner open about 1/2 inch. Massage the bag to coat all of the chicken pieces with sauce, then squeeze as much air as you can out of the bag and seal the bag completely. Let it sit out for 30 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Turn the oven to 425 degrees F.

Toss the chickpeas and half of the onion with the turmeric, cumin, and coriander on a large sheet pan. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss everything to coat. Push everything to the edges of the pan and put the chicken pieces in the center in a single layer. Bake until the onions are crisp, the chicken skin is brown, and an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of a thigh, about 50 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, toss the remaining onion with the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

When the chicken is done, transfer it to a serving plate along with the chickpeas and onions. Drizzle with some of the remaining 1 cup of tahini sauce and the hot sauce. Scatter the onion-lemon mixture and cilantro on top. Serve any remaining tahini sauce on the side.

Turmeric Tahini Sauce

Turmeric has eye-popping color, earthy flavor (sunbaked, a little citrus, a hint of chile), impressive nutritional content (its antioxidants are off the charts), and seemingly limitless versatility.

Makes about 2 cups

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced with coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup premium tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 cup ice-cold water

Combine the garlic and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Let it sit for 1 to 2 minutes.

Whisk the tahini, turmeric, cumin, and coriander into the garlic mixture until just combined. Don’t worry if it gets thick and grainy. Whisk in the water, 1/4 cup at a time, until the sauce is smooth and creamy. It should be the consistency of a creamy salad dressing, like ranch.

Store in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Reprinted with permission from “The Tahini Table” by Amy Zitelman, Agate Publishing, November 2020.