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Chicken Simmered in Spiced Yogurt

Many of the spices are left whole in this recipe, so push them to the side of the plate as you find them.

Plus: More Chicken Recipes and Tips

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons Ginger Paste
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic Paste
  • 1/2 cup Onion Paste
  • 1 long hot green chile, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 4 whole chicken legs, separated into drumsticks and thighs and skinned
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups plain low-fat yogurt


  1. In a mini food processor, finely grind the cashews. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf and peppercorns and cook over moderate heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Add the Ginger Paste and Garlic Paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the Onion Paste, green chile and cashews and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato and cook until the liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken, garam masala and saffron and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until fragrant and the chicken turns white, about 3 minutes. Add the yogurt and bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 50 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Make Ahead

The chicken can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently, adding a little water.

Serve With

Steamed rice.

Suggested Pairing

A tangy, medium-bodied Alsace white blend with no oak will blend with the yogurt and highlight the spices here. Pick an example with body and richness.

Photo © Petrina Tinslay Published January 2003

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