Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Royal Chicken Cooked in Yoghurt

This is my adaptation of a Madhur Jaffrey recipe called Royal Chicken Cooked in Yoghurt ( Shahi Murgh) in her Quick and Easy Indian Cookery (a paperback published by the BBC in 1993)

She called it " An elegant dish that could be served to the family or at a grand party" with rice as the ideal accompaniment.

Hers was a recipe in which some spices, chicken, almonds and sultanas were fried. They were then combined with yoghurt into which black pepper, ground cumin, ground coriander, chilli powder and green coriander had been stirred. Then all were simmered together gently for 20 mintues. At this point the heat was turned up and the sauce was reduced until it was thick.

In my simplified version I  marinated some chicken legs in a spicy yoghurt in the morning . The yoghurt I used was Clearwater's Cream Top Apple and Cinnamon. This is a beautiful natural yoghurt made from organic milk. It is only very slightly sweetened and there is a hint of apple and cinnamon. This added a subtle fruity flavour and a very little sweetness, Instead of 2 1/2 tablespoons of raisins I added 200 grams of dried apricots

In the late afternoon I  baked the chicken. Apart from an occasional stir, it could be left alone to bake and once garnished with sliced almonds and green coriander it looked sumptious.Even my usually non Indian food-eating partner enjoyed this dish and would happily eat it again.

I adapted this recipe as my challenge in the I Hearts Cookery Club. The Madhur Jafffrey theme this week was Dried Fruits . Take a look to see how other cooks have interpreted it. at


10 chicken legs
200 grams of dried apricots
250 ml of natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon of chilli flakes (or to taste)
8 cardamom pods
6 cloves
1 5cm cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
3-4 tablespoons of sliced almonds
4 tablespoons of finely chopped green coriander

  • Cover the apricots with cold water . Leave them to swell for at least  an hour. Then drain.( I did this because I wanted the apricots to be really soft and tender, but if they are reasonably soft to begin with this step could well be eliminated.
  • Roast the cumin and coriander seeds separately in a hot dry frypan and then grind with a pestle and mortar, or in a spice grinder.
  • In a bowl mix the coriander, cumin, chilli flakes, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and yoghurt .
  • Add the chicken legs and apricots and stir well.
  • Leave to marinate in the fridge for the day.
When ready to prepare dinner heat the oven to 190C
  • Put the chicken legs and their marinade in an oven dish in one layer.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Turn the chicken legs over.and bake for a further  15 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the top and bake for a further 10 minutes until the chicken is done and the almonds are a golden brown,
  • Garnish with gren coriander leaves just before serving.


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