Spicy with subtle heat but with no sharp flavors, the keys to cooking yogurt-marinated chicken garam masala are 24 hours of marinating, using the best quality spices that you can get your hands on and cooking the chicken with the least amount of liquid for concentrated flavors.
Ground pepper from the grocery won’t give the dish the flavor that it deserves. For best results, use a pepper mill or a mortar and pestle (the Japanese suribachi is especially good) to grind whole peppercorns.
While it may seem that a quarter cup of yogurt is too little liquid to cook bone-in chicken thighs in, and the temptation to add water or broth is strong, please resist.
Chicken from the grocery is injected with water (it’s an industry practice worldwide) and that water will be expelled by the chicken during cooking. The water, the marinade and the quarter cup of yogurt are quite enough liquid to cook the chicken to perfection.
Yogurt-marinated Chicken Garam Masala
Chicken and marinade
To cook the chicken
- fresh cilantro (leaves only)
- Mix the chicken with all the ingredients for the marinade. Keep in the fridge for 24 hours.
- Drain the chicken well; reserve the marinade.
- Heat the cooking oil and butter in a thick-bottomed frying pan.
- Add the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon; cook gently for a minute to flavor the oil.
- Lay the chicken thighs in the hot oil, skin side down and in a single layer.
- Cook over medium heat for two to three minutes or until the skins are lightly browned.
- Flip the chicken thighs over and cook to brown the opposite sides.
- Pour the reserved marinade into the pan, and add the sliced chilies.
- Set the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for about 10 minutes or until the marinade has been soaked up by the chicken thighs.
- Add the yogurt and black pepper. Stir to spread the yogurt.
- Cover the pan and continue cooking over low heat, flipping the chicken thighs occasionally, for another 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle the garam masala on the chicken, stir and cook for another minute.