This zesty mango chicken has a touch of both sweet and savory flavors, and is a fantastic dish to prepare when fresh mangos are delectably juicy and ripe. Tender chunks of chicken are simmered in a rich sauce brimming with warming spices such as curry powder, cinnamon, and ginger, plus chunks of fresh, sweet mango for a dish that awakens the palate with lots of earthy flavor!
A Chicken Dish with Sweetness and Spice, and Everything Nice
While many of us love fresh, sweet mangos cut up into chunks and added to our summery bowls of fruit, yogurt, and oatmeal, or even blended up into our morning smoothies, we may not necessarily think of mangos as something to be added to a savory dish.
Mango is the perfect fruit for an entree with a sweet and savory slant.
My mango chicken recipe is one of our favorite sweet-savory and mildly spicy chicken dishes to prepare when fresh mangos are at their peak of ripeness (from May through September). This dish is brimming with aromatics such as onions and garlic, plus spices such as curry powder, cinnamon, and ginger to awaken the palate.
Finished with a handful of roasted cashews for crunch and a sprinkle of vibrant cilantro for a hint of freshness, my mango chicken recipe is an deliciously comforting and cozy meal when spooned generously over hot, fluffy basmati rice as a tasty accompaniment!
My Mango Chicken Recipe with Cashews and Spices
Since mango is a star ingredient in this mouthwatering chicken dish, choosing fruit that is ripe yet still has a bit of firmness is the way to go, especially if you'd like the mango chunks to keep their shape a bit more rather than completely melting into the sauce.
For this, I look for mangos that are a nice, bright, yellow-red color, with not too much “give” or softness when they're squeezed. Firmer mangos will make for easier peeling, as well as cutting into medium, bite-size chunks.
And to create that rich, earthy flavor, and a touch of mild spiciness to this sweet and savory offering, I opt for just a small handful of other ingredients to round everything out...
Since mango naturally partners well with spices, I'm sprinkling in a bit of curry powder, cinnamon, and ground ginger to waken things up, along with some onions, garlic, a pinch of tomato paste, and some chicken stock.
The combination of these ingredients create the tasty sauce to simmer both the chicken thigh pieces and the chunks of mango in until perfectly tender and succulent.
Then, I finish things off with chopped, roasted cashews for added crunch and nutty flavor, plus a sprinkle of fresh cilantro!
Here's a peek at my mango chicken recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get things started, I season and sear my chicken thigh pieces in a little ghee or butter in a hot pan just until mostly cooked through, then remove them from the pan.
- Next, I build my sauce by sauteing my onions for a few moments, then sprinkle in my spices, add some garlic, and stir for a couple of moments just until aromatic.
- Next, I add a touch of tomato paste to the sauce, followed by my mango chunks and the seared chicken.
- Some chicken stock or broth is also added to the sauce, and the mixture is gently simmered for 40 minutes until the chicken is juicy and tender, and the sauce velvety, mildly spiced, and rich.
- I finish the sauce with my roasted cashews and cilantro, then serve the mango chicken spooned over top of fresh basmati rice.
by Ingrid Beer
This mango chicken is bursting with fresh mango for sweet-savory flavor, and kissed with curry, cinnamon and ginger for a mildly spicy kick!
Cuisine: South Asian
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 352 calories per serving (mango chicken only)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- 1 ½ pounds of skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into large chunks
- Black pepper
- 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter), or a combo of unsalted butter and oil
- 1 onion, cut in half and sliced into thin, semi-circles
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 ½ cups fresh mango chunks (about 1 large mango that is ripe yet firm, with peel and seed removed)
- 2 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, plus extra for garnish
- ⅓ cup (heaping) roasted, unsalted cashew pieces
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your ingredients according to your ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Add the chicken pieces to a bowl, and season with a good pinch of salt and black pepper.
- Place a large pan/skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add in 2 tablespoons of the ghee (or butter), and when hot, add half of the chicken thigh pieces and lightly brown them just until golden but not cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Remove chicken with slotted spoon onto a clean plate and set side for a moment. Repeat with remaining chicken.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of ghee to the pan, and then add in the sliced onions. Sauté the onions for about 3-4 minutes, until golden. Next add the garlic, the curry powder, the cinnamon, the ground ginger, and the red pepper flakes and stir together until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Next, stir in the tomato paste and allow it to cook for a minute, then add the mango chunks and the seared chicken, along with the chicken stock, and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a vigorous simmer, then lower the heat and allow to things to gently simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes until slightly thickened, gently stirring, occasionally.
- After 40 minutes, turn off the heat and fold in the honey, cilantro, and the roasted cashew pieces. Serve the mango chicken spooned over rice, or your favorite choice of side, garnished with a few additional cilantro leaves.
Tips & Tidbits for my Mango Chicken recipe:
- Skinless, boneless chicken thighs: Since this recipe requires a 40 minute simmer time, I'm opting for skinless, boneless chicken thighs that I cut into bite-size chunks. Thighs are fantastic for this slightly longer simmer, and will remain tender and juicy, and not dry out as skinless, boneless chicken breasts would. You can even substitute bone-in and skin-on whole chicken thighs and braise them in the sauce for delicious results as well.
- Ripe, yet firmer mangos will keep their shape better: For this recipe, you truly can't go wrong whether you opt for very ripe and soft mangos or firmer ones. If you don't mind the mango sort of "melting" into the sauce as it simmers, then a very soft and ripe mango is fine. But if you'd like to enjoy chunks of mango, then opt for firmer fruit and it will keep it's shape better during the gentle simmering process, not breaking down quite as much.
- Frozen mangos, in a pinch: If mango is no longer in season, or you can't find any that are ripe, then frozen mango is a terrific substitute. Just use the same amount called for (2 ½ cups) in place of fresh, and allow it to thaw slightly.
- Ground ginger, or freshly grated: While I'm opting for ground ginger here, you can easily substitute freshly grated ginger if you prefer, or if that is what you have on hand. Use about 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger in place of the ½ teaspoon of powdered ground ginger.
- What to serve with mango chicken: My favorite accompaniment is fluffy basmati rice, because I really love the flavor and aroma of it. You can also serve over coconut rice, couscous, or even quinoa for a tasty alternative, plus naan and cucumber salad, if desired.
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2012, and has been updated with even more love!