Royal Chicken Cooked in Yoghurt

Royal chicken cooked in yoghurt by Madhur Jaffrey. This inviting recipe combines warming Indian spices with chicken, almonds and sultanas. Serve with rice.

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An elegant dish that may be served to the family or at a grand party. Rice is the ideal accompaniment.

Serves 4


250ml (8fl oz) natural yoghurt
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp chilli powder, or to taste
4 tbsp finely chopped green coriander
1.5kg (3lb) chicken, cut into serving portions
4 tbsp vegetable oil
8 cardamom pods
6 cloves
5cm (2in) cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
2½ tbsp blanched, slivered almonds
2½ tbsp sultanas


Put the natural yoghurt into a bowl and beat it lightly until it is smooth and creamy. Add half the salt, some black pepper, the ground cumin, ground coriander, chilli powder and green coriander. Mix and set aside.

Salt and pepper the chicken pieces on both sides using the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Put the oil in a wide, preferably non-stick pan and set over medium–high heat.When hot, put in the cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Stir once and add some of the chicken pieces – only as many as the pan will hold easily in a single layer. Brown on both sides and remove to a large bowl. Brown all the chicken pieces in this way and remove to the bowl.

Put the almonds and sultanas into the same hot oil. Stir quickly. The almonds should turn golden and the sultanas should plump up – which will happen very fast. Now return the chicken and its accumulated juices to the pan.Add the seasoned natural yoghurt. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn the heat to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice during this period. Remove the cover, turn the heat up a bit and reduce the sauce until it is thick and just clings to the chicken pieces. Turn the chicken pieces over gently as you do this.

Note The large, whole spices are not meant to be eaten.

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