Lahori Chicken Curry with Whole Spices & Potatoes

Serves 4


A 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 to 10 pieces and skinned
3 medium red boiling potatoes, peeled and quartered
¾ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1½ medium onions, roughly diced
5 garlic cloves
A 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut in half crosswise
3 tablespoons canola oil
A 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
12 green cardamom pods
9 whole cloves
10 black peppercorns
3 whole dried red chiles
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 fresh hot green chile, cut in half
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup plain yogurt, whisked until smooth
1 cup water
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lemon


Combine the chicken, potatoes, ½ teaspoon of the turmeric, ¼ teaspoon of the cayenne, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a bowl and stir to coat the chicken and potato with the spices. Let stand while you make the sauce.

Finely mince the onions, garlic, and ginger in a food processor and set aside.

Combine 2 tablespoons of the oil, the cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves, black peppercorns, red chiles, coriander, and cumin in a large casserole over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring until the cinnamon unfurls, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the minced onion mixture, the green chile, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until the vegetables brown around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the cinnamon and green chile, and stir in the remaining ¼ teaspoon turmeric and ¼ teaspoon cayenne. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth; set aside.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the same pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and potatoes and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add the yogurt 1 tablespoon at a time and stir well after each addition. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes, to evaporate some of the moisture.

Add the pureed tomato, mixture and bring to a boil. 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 every 5 to 8 minutes and scrape the bottom of the pan to keep the sauce from sticking. Then uncover and cook 5 more minutes to reduce and thicken. Stir in the cilantro and lemon juice. Taste for salt and serve hot.

© Recipe Property of Suvir Saran