Tantalising chicken pieces in a thick, cardamom-scented sauce

No ordinary chicken curry, this preparation offers a glimpse into the dining preferences of the Mughal royalty. The Mughals brought to India not only spices but also their own skilled chefs who were trained in central Asian, Persian and Afghani styles of cooking. Mughlai Chicken is a contemporary take on the original.

Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 45 min
Serves: 8
Taste: Hot

For the marinade.

  • 1 kg chicken drumsticks
  • 1 1/2 cups plain thick yoghurt or Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp salt

For the gravy

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 5 green cardamom seeds 3 black cardamom seed 5 black cloves
  • 2.5cm cinnamon stick 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2 onions, grated
  • 4 Tbsp ginger paste
  • 4 Tbsp garlic paste
  • 3 tsp poppy seeds into paste 3–4 green chillies into paste 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/2 tsp mace powder
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp ginger into julienned


  •  Melt butter in a heavy bottom pan on low heat. Add green cardamom, black cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick and bay leaves; sauté for few seconds until they begin to crackle and very fragrant. Increase the heat to medium and add grated onions, sauté until golden brown in colour.
  •  Add ginger paste, stir, add garlic paste, stir for a minute then add poppy seed paste and sauté for few seconds until the moisture has evaporated. Add green chilli paste and again sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  • Lower the heat then add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and cumin powder to the onion masala, mix well and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add chicken to the masala along with its marinade,
  • mix well, stirring continuously until the extra water has evaporated then add cardamom powder and mace powder to the chicken with 1 cup of water, mix well.
  •  Adjust the seasoning, cover and simmer the chicken on low heat until it’s cooked through.
  • Garnish with julienned ginger, sprinkled on top.
  • Serve hot with tandoori roti

Ruby’s Tips: Boneless chicken is a good option for dinner parties as it is less messy to eat. Chicken Mughlai gives a nice look with sliced almonds and raisins sprinkled on top.