Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over high heat. Arrange the chicken thighs and legs on a tray in a single layer and season them with salt, to taste. Turn the pieces on their other side and season again. When the oil begins to smoke lightly, carefully add the chicken to the oil. Do not overcrowd the pan. Resist the temptation to move or turn the pieces. Allow them to brown on their first side, about 3 to 5 minutes. Use metal tongs to turn the chicken pieces to sear their second side, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a tray and set it aside.
In the same skillet, add the cumin seeds and chili flakes, stirring rapidly to give them a quick toast, about 10 to 15 seconds. Add the onions, ginger and garlic and stir to combine. Season the ingredients with salt, to taste, then add the tomatoes, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Allow the mixture to cook and all the flavors to come together, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pan, keep the heat low and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through, 30 to 45 minutes. (Chef's note: If the sauce becomes overly thick or begins to stick to the bottom of the skillet, feel free to add some water, about 1/2 cup at a time.)
When the chicken is cooked through, remove and discard the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. Taste for seasoning and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve alongside the braised cabbage, if desired.
Recipe courtesy of Alexandra Guarnaschelli