Serves a Crowd

Tandoori Murgh (Chicken Baked in Yogurt Sauce)

July 15, 2013
3 Ratings
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

This recipe is by Jeanne D'Souza, a wonderful woman who helped her town in Connecticut embrace international food, one ingredient at a time. Her daughter Nan wrote a lovely essay about her for the first issue of Cherry Bombe. This chicken dish requires advance planning, but it's well worth the effort. Kerry thinks it is one of the best chicken dishes she's ever had. —Cherry Bombe

What You'll Need
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 3 tablespoons heated milk
  • 8 to 10 pieces of chicken (thighs and drumsticks)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1-inch pieces fresh ginger root, scrapped and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup whole milk yogurt (D’Sousa uses the Stonyfield brand)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  1. Drop the saffron threads into a small bowl, pour in the heated milk and soak for five minutes.
  2. Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels. With a small, sharp knife, cut two slits about 1/2–inch deep and 1-inch long in the thighs and drumsticks. Mix the lemon juice with the salt in a bowl and rub the mixture over the chicken, pressing it deeply into the slits.
  3. Place the chicken in a large, deep casserole and pour the saffron and its soaking liquid over them. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle the coriander seeds into a small ungreased skillet and shaking the pan constantly, toast them over low heat for a minute or so. Remove from the pan. Repeat with the cumin seeds. Drop the toasted seeds into a blender, add the ginger, garlic and two tablespoons of the yogurt and blend at high speed until the mixture is reduced to a smooth paste. With a rubber spatula, scrape the paste into a mixing bowl. Stir in all of the remaining yogurt and the cayenne.
  5. Spread the yogurt mixture evenly over the chicken pieces, cover the casserole with foil and marinate for at least 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the chickens in a shallow roasting pan. Pour any liquid that has accumulated in the casserole over the chicken and coat each piece with the ghee or oil. Roast uncovered for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees, cover and cook one more hour or until done.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Cherry Bombe
    Cherry Bombe
  • fearlessem
  • margaretpm
  • Wayne M
    Wayne M
Cherry Bombe is a beautifully designed biannual magazine that celebrates women and food—those who grow it, make it, serve it, style it, enjoy it and everything in between. It is about sustenance and style and things that nourish the mind, the eye and, of course, the stomach.

10 Reviews

Cherry B. July 17, 2013
The rice is cooked separately. For the ghee/oil, you can just brush it over the chicken. Hope that helps!
ejm July 20, 2013
this looks great! any chance of sharing the rice recipie as that looks perfect as well? thanks!
fearlessem July 16, 2013
I'm confused like Wayne, it looks like this goes with some kind of flavored rice -- is this cooked with it or separately?
margaretpm July 16, 2013
Can you explain how you coat the chicken with ghee/oil when it's covered with the marinade...I'm unclear on that step.
Wayne M. July 16, 2013
What about the rice recipe?
Alice July 16, 2013
Hi, I really don't like cumin and coriander, could I use curry instead? And how is the rice that accompanies this dish done?
Jumper46 July 16, 2013
The list of ingredients does include the cumin seeds or the garlic. Nice recipe though!
Jumper46 July 16, 2013
(does not include)
CondimentQueen July 16, 2013
Or salt (but I agree that it sounds delicious)
Cherry B. July 16, 2013
Sorry about that! The recipe has been updated to reflect the cumin and salt quantities.