I’ve cooked chicken with yogurt in a number of ways, including marinating chicken in yogurt before frying. That and the chicken and mangoes in yogurt are my absolute favorites. Now, I add a third favorite.
This dish starts with browning the chicken in plenty of oil. It is then scooped out and drained, and the oil poured off. Butter is melted in the pan, onion, celery and carrot — the holy trinity of French cooking — are added and cooked just until softened. The chicken is returned to the pan, yogurt is poured in, and everything is simmered until the chicken has absorbed the yogurt. That absorption process makes the chicken meat so moist and so tender.
- 1/2 kilogram cut-up chicken (thighs, drumsticks and wings are recommended)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup chopped onion chopped
- 1/3 cup carrot julienned
- 1/3 cup celery thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- parsley snipped, to garnish
Rinse then pat the chicken dry. Place in a bowl.
Stir together the salt, pepper, sugar, cayenne, fennel seeds and tarragon. Add to the chicken. Mix well. Cover the bowl and keep in the fridge for a few hours, preferably overnight.
Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan. When the oil is smoking hot, add the chicken pieces and cook until nicely browned. Note that you are not cooking the chicken through at this point but merely searing it.
Pour off the oil.
Return the pan on the stove and add the butter.
Add the onion, carrot and celery, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté for about a minute.
Put the chicken back into the pan, pushing the vegetables to the sides.
Pour in the yogurt. If you seasoned the chicken correctly, there is no need to add any more seasoning at this point.
Turn the heat to low. Cover the pan. Let the chicken cook in the yogurt for about 20 minutes, after which time, the mixture should be almost dry.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve.