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Welcome to the Maharaja's Table

By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:

Back when we were allowed to travel, I was fortunate enough to visit India and stay for over a month. And when I say "India," I mean the REAL India, not the tourist version. While there, I wanted to taste every dish, because I simply love this country!

I remember being lost in the middle of nowhere in Rajasthan visiting an old castle—far away from the tourist routes. We were invited for dinner, and the chef was an old, fantastic lady who sat on the ground with only a pot over an improvised fire, cooking fantastic spicy dishes packed with flavor.

When I got home, I attempted to replicate this beautiful dish, and it worked! When I tasted its delicate gravy, it was like to jump into the past. Enjoy this fantastic, authentic version of Maharaja Chicken!


Maharaja Chicken

1 lb. chicken, cut into bite-sized chunks

2 Tbs fresh lemon juice

1 red onion, sliced

2 pounds ripe Roman tomatoes

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tbs hot spicy curry

2 Tbs Garam Masala

1 Tbs cumin seeds

1tsp coriander seeds, crushed

1 green chili pepper, minced

3 Tbs Greek yogurt


Coriander leaves, finely chopped

Sunflower oil

Crush the coriander and cumin seeds with curry powder and lemon juice. Coat the chicken with the spicy mixture and let marinate for 2 hours.

Sauté garlic in oil in a large pot over a low fire. Slice the tomatoes and add to the pot. Gently cook for one hour until smooth. Strain the sauce through a filter to eliminate the skins. Set aside.

Sauté the chicken and onion in oil until the chicken is cooked through. Add the tomato sauce, salt, and green chili. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Gently mix in the yogurt.

Serve with Naan bread and a dusting of coriander leaves.


Contessa Ippolita Douglas Scotti di Vigileno is a true Italian—born in Florence, Italy, from a long line of eccentric Italian aristocrats, she has traveled the world in search of adventure, romance, and magical, mouth-watering recipes. "Ippo" loves Italian history, especially as it relates to food. Author of There's a Beatle in My Soup,Curcuma e Zenzero (Ginger & Tumeric), 101 Perche Sulla Storia di Firenze (101 questions on Florence History), and Superfoods, Ippo is currently finishing her latest work, The Lords of Florence (all published by Newton Compton Publishers).

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