Turmeric Chicken and Rice with Peas

For most of us who always have hectic days, I think we can all appreciate an easy one-skillet meal like this turmeric chicken and rice.  It’s definitely one of my go-to meals because it’s easy on the budget and not hard to make.  What I also love about it is you can add vegetables like peas, zucchini or cauliflower florets.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric belongs to the ginger family and its roots are used as a spice. Because of its brilliant yellow color, it is known as the golden spice. Inspired by the classic curry dishes, I thought turmeric seems like a good spice alternative.  I didn’t know much about turmeric before, so I was pleasantly surprised. Honestly, it’s not really too spicy or hot at all. It seems like the flavor is a cross between ginger and pepper. Additionally, it gives the dish a nice bright yellow color. So I’m glad I tried it and now it’s a keeper.

turmeric chicken and rice

As for the chicken thighs, rubbing the mixture all over it gives that extra flavor.  When you brown the chicken, it smells so good!

Turmeric Chicken and Rice with Peas

Servings 6
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 6 chicken thighs with skin and bones
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup onion finely diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper diced
  • cups jasmine rice or basmati rice washed and strained
  • 1 cup frozen peas defrosted
  • 2 small zucchini or cauliflower florets
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tsp turmeric powder divided
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  • Wash rice and let it drain in a strainer. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and chop it to 1/4 inch thick. Set aside. Wash chicken thighs and dry it with paper towels. Mix 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp garlic power, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper in a small bowl. Rub spice mixture all over chicken thighs and set side.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium/high heat. Brown chicken thighs in hot oil for 4 mins. each side. Transfer chicken onto a plate and set aside. Take out some of the oil except 1 Tbsp.
  • Turn down heat to medium. Saute zucchini and 1/3 of the garlic for 2-3 minutes. Transfer zucchini onto a plate and set aside, leaving oil in the skillet.
  • Add the onion, red bell pepper and the rest of the garlic and sauté for 2 mins.
  • Stir in rice, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper and chicken stock. Turn heat to medium/high. Add in chicken thighs. Cover the skillet and let it come to boil. Once it boils, turn heat to medium/low and simmer for about 25 minutes, until the rice is cooked and has absorbed the liquid. At the last 5 mins. add the peas and zucchini. Cover it and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.


Cauliflower florets can be substituted for the zucchini. Cut the florets in small bite-sized pieces.
Author: Elizabeth Segal
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
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