Yield: 4 servings
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
4 tablespoons minced cilantro
3½ pounds chicken pieces (preferably thighs, but all parts will do)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 cardamom pods
6 whole cloves
1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
2½ tablespoons blanched slivered almonds
2½ tablespoons golden raisins
1. Put the yogurt in a bowl and beat it lightly until smooth and creamy. Add ½ teaspoon of the salt, some black pepper, the cumin, coriander, cayenne and cilantro. Mix and set aside.
2. Season the chicken pieces on both sides with salt and pepper, using the remaining ½ teaspoon salt.
3. Heat the oil in a wide, preferably nonstick pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves. Stir once and add as many chicken pieces as the pan will hold easily in a single layer. Brown the chicken on both sides and set aside in a large bowl. Brown all the chicken this way and remove to the bowl.
4. Into the same hot oil, add the almonds and raisins. Stir quickly. The almonds should turn golden, and the raisins should plump up — this should happen very fast. Put the chicken and its accumulated juices back into the pan. Add the seasoned yogurt. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer gently for 20 minutes (longer if the pieces of chicken are large), stirring once or twice. Remove cover, turn the heat up a bit, and reduce the sauce until it is thick and just clings to the chicken pieces, turning the chicken pieces over gently as you do so. Remove large whole spices before serving with rice.
Per serving: 682 calories; 49g fat; 12g saturated fat; 286mg cholesterol; 50g protein; 10g carbohydrate; 6g sugar; 2g fiber; 789mg sodium; 133mg calcium
Recipe from “Madhur Jaffrey’s Spice Kitchen,” by Madhur Jaffrey.