Margarita's International Recipes

Dum Pukht


Saffron Chicken

I love Indian food with all my heart, but I can't cook it. I've tried - believe me - and I will keep trying, but nothing I make can approximate the delicious kormas and curries at local Indian restaurants. So, it's not surprising that this dish did not work for me. I followed the instructions in the original recipe pretty closely, though I did not add the 5 chopped chilies the recipe called for. I was hope (against hope, as it turned out) that my kids would eat it, and they don't like anything spicy. The chilies would have help bring heat into the dish, but they wouldn't have saved it. This dish was just bland, bland, bland.

I should note that I did use regular cumin instead of black cumin - I didn't realize I didn't have the latter until after I started cooking. If you try it, I'd definitely use the black kind. I did use very expensive Spanish saffron (which I brought myself from Spain), but it didn't do much to flavor the dish. To make the pastes, put the ingredient (ginger, garlic or almond) in a mini-blender with a little bit of water and blend until smooth.



  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 lbs. boneless/skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • 5 green chilies, chopped (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp. garlic paste
  • 3 Tbsp. ginger paste
  • 3 Tbsp. almond paste
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 3/4 tsp. black cumin seeds or ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1 tsp. saffron
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 10 mint leaves, chopped.


Hang the yogurt in some cheesecloth and let it drain until it reduces by half.

Combine the chicken with the onion, peppers, chilies, garlic, ginger, almond paste, lemon juice, cumin, pepper and salt, and mix in the reduced yogurt. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Butter the bottom of an oven-safe dish. Remove the chicken pieces and place on the dish, making sure they don't overlap. Pour the marinade ingredients over the chicken pieces. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the saffron with the milk.

Sprinkle the mint and the saffron mixture on top of the chicken. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 10 more minutes.

Adapted from a recipe in J Inder Singh Kalra's Prashad: Cooking with Indian Masters

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