Chicken in an almond yoghurt sauce (Moghlai Chicken)


IMG_1947Imagine the goodness of almonds in your curry. Now add the most flavorful blend of spices to it.  And then imagine ‘marinated in yoghurt’, tender, juicy, falling off the bone chicken pieces in this gravy.  That my dear would be your Moghlai Chicken – A curry that originated in the Moghul era and was cooked for the ‘royalty’. Now don’t you think we deserve this ‘royal’ treatment once in a while too?

DSC_0004At least I did but alas, I didn’t have any servants to cook this for me. But I was nevertheless determined to treat myself and my family royally.  In fact I came home from work last Friday with this exact thought in mind and in less than two hours, Moghlai Chicken was on the dinner table along with fresh home made rotis.  Pure Bliss!We devoured it, cleaned the plates and the pot and licked our fingers! Need I say more? Believe me it is so delicious that it is totally worth the extra effort!

collageBtw in case you are curious where I got the recipe from? You would never guess ..ha ha – An old ‘Hawkins’ Pressure cooker recipe manual! 🙂 I had actually made this ‘Murgh Musallum’ curry some 15 years ago as a newly wed trying to impress her husband with her cooking! Blush Blush:).  It had been a very successful attempt however in the chaotic and maddening years that followed this recipe manual was lost somewhere.  I recently happened to retrieve it in one of my cleaning expeditions and had been dreaming of making that same ‘Moghlai chicken’ ever since!!!

Presenting Moghlai Chicken for you folks. I followed the Hawkins recipe mostly making slight changes here and there like reducing the spice level slightly and the oil content and increasing the quantity of almonds from the original recipe. I am also delighted to bring this recipe, that is fit for the ‘kings’, to Angie, the host of Fiesta Friday and my virtual partying blogger friends who deserve nothing less! 🙂

Chicken in an almond yoghurt sauce (Moghlai Chicken)

  • Time: About 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print
 This recipe makes a 9 inch round cake


  • 2 lbs (or about 1kg) chicken pieces  (preferably chicken with bones), cleaned and cut into medium size pieces

For the marinade

  • 4 green cayenne chillies (optional)
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 inch by 1 inch piece of fresh ginger (or about 2 tbsp grated)
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt (curd)
  • 2 tsp red chilli (cayenne pepper) powder (use less if you want less hot or milder sauce)

Dry roast ingredients

  • 8 cloves
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 2 inch piece stick cinnamon
  • 4 cardamoms (shelled/peeled to get seeds)
  • about 20 almonds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • about 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil
  • 3 large onions thinly sliced
  • 3 large tomatoes, pureed (or about 2 cups tomato puree)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala (optional)
  • about 1/4 cup water
  • fresh cilantro leaves for garnish


Blend together all marinade ingredients in a blender and marinate the chicken pieces in it for about 15-30 minutes (I did only 15!).

In a frying pan dry roast all ingredients listed under ‘dry roast ingredients’ on medium heat for about 3 to 4 minutes stirring frequently until you get the aroma. Keep aside.

Take a large wok or a large frying pan and heat the olive oil in it. When hot fry the onions in batches until they turn golden brown. Reserve the rest of the oil in the pan.

Next grind the dry roast ingredients with the fried onions adding a little water to from a paste.  Make sure the almonds are ground fine into a paste.

Now heat the reserved oil (from the fried onions) into a large wide bottom cooking pot (or a large pressure cooker) and lightly fry the chicken pieces in batches in it to lightly brown them.  Reserve the marinade from the chicken marinade. Keep the fried chicken pieces aside.

Now to the same pot (add more oil if scant oil), add the above ground paste (almond and spices) and stir fry for 2 minutes.  Now add the reserved marinade, the tomato puree and salt and stir. Add the chicken pieces and mix well and add about 1/4 cup water.  Cover and cook on low to moderate heat for about 20 minutes stirring halfway through to ensure no pieces are sticking to the pot. (Add more water too if desired).

Check for seasoning and add the additional garam masala if desired.  Turn heat off and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Serve warm with fresh home made rotis or paranthas! 🙂

STEP WISE pictures:


Making marinade for chicken


Mixing chicken pieces in the marinade



Dry roasting spices and almonds


Frying onions till golden brown


Grinding fried onions and almonds and spices together to form a paste


Lightly frying the marinated chicken pieces.


Adding ground almond paste into the oil to lightly brown.


Add reserved marinade and tomato puree and seasoning and the chicken pieces.








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0 thoughts on “Chicken in an almond yoghurt sauce (Moghlai Chicken)

  1. The marinade brings me back to my days in the kitchen, I would make giant batches in the brat pans. Such an aromatic job that was. 🙂 Love this dish, filled with many memories for me. Yum! 🙂

  2. Wow, Indu! You brought us a recipe fit for royalty? You are so awesome! I have bookmarked your recipe and really plan to make this! Thanks so much for sharing this with us at FF! I just can’t wait to dig in to this rich, gorgeous, royal meal! Happy FF to you, my friend! 😀

  3. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #37 | The Novice Gardener

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