royal chicken in yogurt

Indian Royal Chicken Cooked in Yogurt

The beauty of this Indian royal chicken cooked in yogurt recipe is that it’s delicious and can be made fairly quickly.  You can just serve it with naan or make some rice to help soak up the sauce.  I have adapted this from Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking, which is a great guide for making Indian meals that don’t require a lot of fuss. Plus, she wisely sticks to ingredients that are fairly easy to find outside of India. Her recipe is for four people, my version is dinner for one person.

I made a few other minor changes as well.  The original recipe calls for both dried and fresh coriander.  I don’t generally have fresh coriander (and if I did, it would spoil), so I used a bit more dried instead. 

Make sure to remove all of the whole spices before serving. You don’t want to crunch down on a clove or a cardamom pod!

She calls for slivered almonds, but all I had was ground almonds, so I used that.  I am a big believer in using what you have and not buying special ingredients for a single purpose.  You can substitute slivered, or blanched if that’s easier.  You might even use whole ones, or throw them in the mini-chopper to chop them up.

There’s also a fun bit of chemistry here.  When you add the raisins to the hot pan, they plump up and temporarily revert back to grapes!

Royal Chicken Cooked in Yogurt

Category: entree

Cuisine: Indian

one serving

royal chicken in yogurt

Indian royal chicken cooked in yogurt is ready in about half an hour and requires very little fussing. Nothing to chop, or mince. Just mix up the yogurt, brown the chicken, add a few spices, raisins, and almonds to the pan, and let the whole thing simmer. Easy.


  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • pinch salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander, plus a generous pinch
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 chicken thigh
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/4 inch stick cinnamon
  • 2-3 green cardamon pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp ground almonds (or use 1 1/2 tsp slivered almonds)
  • 1 1/2 tsp golden raisins


  1. Put the yogurt in a small bowl.  Add the salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and cayenne.  Since Greek yogurt is thick, you may have to add a teaspoon or two of water to thin it a bit. Mix that all up until it’s smooth and set it aside while you season the chicken and start on the rest of the recipe.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper
  3. Turn the heat on a burner to medium-high.  Add the oil to a large skillet and heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the cloves, cinnamon, cardamon pods and the bay leaf.  Stir that together.  Add the chicken thigh and brown it on both sides for about 2-3 minutes per side.
  4. Once it’s brown, remove the chicken and place it in a separate small bowl or dish.
  5. Now add the almonds and raisins to the pan and give them a quick stir. Keep an eye on the mixture because the almonds will turn brown quickly and the raisins will magically transform back into grapes. Once they do, add the chicken back to the pan.
  6. Add some of the pan juices to the yogurt mixture and stir it around (this will keep the sauce from "breaking"). Then add the yogurt mixture to the pan.
  7. Stir to combine everything.  Increase the heat and bring the chicken/yogurt mixture to a simmer (not quite boiling).  Cover, turn the the heat down to low and cook for about 10 minutes. Stir again after another 10 minutes (twenty minutes total).
  8. Take the cover off, increase the heat slightly, and cook down the sauce until it thickens.  Remove the whole spices (cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamon pods, and bay leaf) and discard them before serving.


Update: do get the cardamom pods if you can. They are definitely worth the trouble.

Substitutions and Variations for Indian Royal Chicken Cooked in Yogurt

  • try it with ghee (clarified butter) instead of oil, sliced onions, and ginger paste (full recipe here)
  • add potatoes, curry leaves, tamarind paste, and coconut milk (recipe here)
  • make it Hyderabadi style with tomatoes, cashews, red chilis, saffron and turmeric

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