Lahori Curry Chicken

Based on Suvir Saran’s “Simple Lahori Curry Chicken


  • 4-pound chicken (or two 2-pound Cornish chicken), cut into 8 to 10 pieces and skinned
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 medium onions, minced
  • 3 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 inches cinnamon stick
  • 12 green cardamom pods
  • 9 whole cloves
  • 9 black peppercorns
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup yogurt, whisked until smooth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


  1. Combine the chicken, 1/2 teaspoon of the turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of the cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl and stir to coat the chicken with the spices. Let stand while you make the sauce.
  2. Combine 2 tablespoons of the oil, the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and black peppercorns in a large casserole over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the cinnamon unfurls, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add the minced onion, garlic, and ginger, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until the onion browns around the edges, 10 minutes.
  4. Remove and discard the cinnamon and stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon turmeric and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes and cook, stirring, 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the content to a container, then heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the same pan over medium-high heat.
  7. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
  8. Add the yogurt, 1 tablespoon at a time and stirring well after each addition.
  9. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes to evaporate some of the moisture.
  10. Add the tomato mixture and bring to a boil.
  11. Stir in the water. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan every 5 to 8 minutes to keep the sauce from sticking.
  12. Then uncover and cook 5 more minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce. Stir in the cilantro and lemon juice. Taste for salt and serve hot.

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