Sharmaji’s Lahori Chicken

This fantastic Lahori chicken recipe from Chet Sharma cleverly uses hung yoghurt and spices to marinate the chicken before barbecuing it for a delicious charred finish. The whey collected from hanging the yoghurt is used in a delicious spiced cashew sauce. The three spice blends made for this recipe give you more than you need but will keep indefinitely in air-tight containers.

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First published in 2022
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Chet Sharma says 'Inspired by my grandfather’s stories about pre-partition Lahore and the innumerable kebab vendors of his youth, this is our homage to him – my grandmothers’ have a whole restaurant named after them, so I’m happy we managed to get at least one dish inspired by him on the menu.'

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Hung yoghurt and yoghurt whey

Lahori chicken first marinade

Lahori chicken second marinade

Sigree garam masala

White chaat masala

Sharmaji's kebab masala

Cashew and yoghurt whey sauce

Equipment

  • Blender

Method

1

Begin the day before. Place a few layers of kitchen roll in a sieve, pour in your yoghurt and place over a bowl. Hang the yoghurt in the fridge overnight. The hung yoghurt will then be used for the marinade and the whey in the sauce

2

Next marinate the chicken. Make the first marinade by mixing together all of the ingredients then rub this into the chicken, making sure it is evenly coated. Allow to marinate at room temperature for ten minutes, while you make the second marinade

3

Mix all of the ingredients together for the second marinade and rub onto the chicken, coating it evenly again. Leave this to marinate in the refrigerator for up to four hours

4

To make the sigree garam masala, lightly toast all of the spices in a large pan over a low heat. Leave to cool completely then grind to a powder in a spice grinder. Store in a labelled airtight container

5

To make the white chaat masala, blend all the spices together in a spice grinder and store in a labelled airtight container

6

To make Sharmaji's kebab masala, grind the fenugreek, mint and black salt into a coarse powder, then mix through the remaining spices and store in an airtight container

7

To make the sauce, bring the yoghurt whey, cream, cashew nuts, cardamom, and ginger to a rapid boil. Cook until the cashew nuts are soft enough to mash – this should take around five minutes on a high enough heat

  • 300g of yoghurt whey
  • 150g of whipping cream
  • 30g of cashew nuts, roast until light golden
  • 2g of fenugreek leaves, (dried) lightly toasted
  • 1g of cardamom pod, crushed
  • 20g of fresh ginger, grated into a paste
8

Remove the cardamom pods and add the sauce with cashews to a blender. Blend for five minutes at the highest speed. Adjust the texture to the consistency of double cream using hot water, if needed. Taste and season with salt 

9

The chicken is best cooked on a barbecue, so light the coals in good time, and once they're at temperature, skewer the chicken and place on the barbecue with the skin-side of the chicken facing up. Cook this for 5–7 minutes, or until the marinade has charred to an uneven, deep brown colour. Turn the chicken over and baste with a little ghee, or melted butter. Cook for a further 5–7 minutes

10

Test that the chicken is cooked by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast, this should read at least 70ºC to confirm it is cooked through. Remove from the heat, baste again with ghee or butter, and leave to rest for a few minutes before carving

11

Heat the sauce up to at least 90˚C and add the chopped ginger, coriander stem, green chilli and chaat masala. Heat the butter in a separate pan until melted and liquid, but don't let the milk solids start to colour

12

Once rested, carve the chicken breasts into 3 or 4 slices and place onto warm plates. Pour over the sauce, followed by the butter, and finish with a generous dusting of Sharmaji’s kebab masala

First published in 2022
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With years of experience behind him working as a development chef for some of the UK’s best restaurants, Chet Sharma opened his own restaurant Bibi, where he now cooks some of London’s most innovative Indian food.

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