Chicken in Yoghurt Sauce

This dish, called Dahi Murgh in Hindi, is a wonderful introduction to the aromatic spiciness of Indian food. You can make it hot, leave it aromatic but mild, or anything in between. The amount of chili powder I specify makes it fairly hot, so adjust to your taste or simply leave it out. Serve it with plain savory basmati rice and an Indian-style vegetable. I adapted this recipe from Charmaine Solomon, The Complete Asian Cookbook (Dee Why West, NSW: Lansdowne Press, 1976), 45.

Serves 2


  • 1 pound chicken thighs, skinless and bone-in
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • ½ tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. garam masala
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. chili powder, Indian chili (mirch) powder or cayenne, NOT Mexican chili powder
  • ¼ cup low-fat yoghurt
  • ½ cup canned diced tomatoes


Using a heavy cleaver, or as my Sri Lankan college roommate did, a stout knife and a hammer, cut the chicken thighs in two or three pieces crosswise through the bone. Set aside.

Put the onion, garlic, ginger, and cilantro into a food processor and reduce to a smooth paste. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the paste and fry, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until dry and concentrated. Sprinkle on the turmeric, garam masala, salt, and chili powder and fry for a minute or so until the spices are very fragrant (you might wish to turn on the vent hood if you have one). Stir in the yoghurt and tomatoes and continue to cook, still stirring, as the mixture darkens and thickens about 3 minutes. Put the chicken pieces in the sauce and turn to coat on all sides. Turn the heat to low, cover tightly, and simmer for until the chicken is done, about 15 minutes.

When the chicken is done, remove the lid, turn the heat up and boil to drive off the accumulated liquid, a couple of minutes. The sauce should be nicely thick and not at all runny. Serve theHeat


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