Mamta's Kitchen

Chicken Curry with Saffron

Murg Kesari

Mamta Gupta

This dish has a gentle flavour of saffron and goes well with Tandoori Nan or plain pilaf/pulao rice. Serves 6-8


  • 1 kg. chicken pieces, skin removed, washed and drained

  • 2 medium to large onions, peeled

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, skin removed

  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled

  • 2-3 fresh green chillies (adjust to taste), stalks removed

  • 3 tbsp. cooking oil/ghee. If you need to use more, skim it off the top when the dish has finished cooking and has rested for a few minutes.

  • 6-7 or a large pinch of saffron strands

  • 1 level tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 1 level tsp. ground green cardamoms

  • Salt to taste

  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika powder for colour

  • 1 cup thick yoghurt* or sour cream

  • A handful of chopped green coriander leaves


  1. Peel onion, ginger and garlic and chop finely or grind together in a food processor.

  2. Measure all other ingredients and keep aside.

  3. Dissolve saffron in a little warm water and leave aside for a few minutes.

  4. Heat oil in a pan.

  5. Fry onion, garlic, ginger and chilli mix until onions are lightly browned.

  6. Add cardamoms and cinnamon and stir 2-3 times.

  7. Add chicken pieces and saffron and stir fry on high heat for 4-5 minutes, until lightly browned.

  8. Add salt, paprika powder, yoghurt or cream.

  9. Cook covered, on simmer, until chicken is tender.

  10. Take off the heat.

  11. Add and mix half of the chopped coriander.

  12. Sprinkle the rest of the chopped coriander as a garnish.

  13. Serve with Tandoori Roti or Chapatti or Nan or Plain Paratha.


  • *A few tips for cooking with yoghurt :

  • Always use full fat yoghurt, if possible. Skimmed milk yoghurt sometimes curdles during cooking. If you wish to use low fat yoghurt, add 1 heaped teaspoon of plain or corn flour per cup of yoghurt.

  • Make sure that the yoghurt is at room temperature. If chilled yoghurt straight from the fridge is added to a hot dish, it may curdle.

  • Or, take out a few tablespoons of the hot food in a bowl, mix yoghurt, warming it a bit and then stir it back into the hot dish.

  • Substitute sour cream for yoghurt, using only half the amount.

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