1. Slash the chicken breasts, three slashes per breast, each cut about 2cm deep, on the diagonal. Put in an oblong dish, cut-side down.
2. Put all the other ingredients in the processor and blitz to a dark, earthy paste, then pour and spread over the chicken pieces and leave to marinate out of the fridge for 2-4 hours, or in the fridge, covered, overnight.
3. Preheat the oven to 200°C / gas mark 6. Double-line a shallow roasting tin with foil. Tip into it the chicken with its marinade, slashed-side up and roast for 30 minutes.
4. Take the tin out of the oven, to pour off excess watery juices. Use a pastry brush and spoon to place any paste back on the chicken, then return it to the oven and cook for a further 30 minutes, by which time it will be cooked through and tender with a thick fiery crust. You could get started on the Rice and Peas once the chicken's back in the oven for its final stint.
For the rice and peas:
1. Drain and rinse the gungo peas, and heat the oil in a heavy-based pan that has a lid.
2. Fry the onion for about five minutes, stirring every now and again, letting it soften and brown a little. Then add the chopped chilli and garlic, and give everything a good stir around.
3. Now stir in the rice, making sure it is all slicked with oil, then pour in the coconut milk and chicken or vegetable stock, and stir in the drained gungo peas.
4. Bring to a bubble, clamp on the lid, turn down the heat to very low and let it cook gently for 15 minutes.
5. Check the rice is cooked through and the liquid is all absorbed - give the rice another five minutes if need be.
6. Sprinkle with the freshly chopped thyme, and season with salt if desired, forking it through. Pile up each dinner plate with coconutty rice and sit a piece of hot-crusted chicken proudly on top.
Recipe from Nigella: Kitchen by Nigella Lawson (published by Chatto & Windus).