• Amazing Afghan Chicken

    7 votes
    Amazing Afghan Chicken
    Prep: 20 min Cook: 20 min Servings: 6
    by John Spottiswood
    300 recipes
    This recipe, known as Murgh in India, is amazingly flavorful and a real crowd pleaser. I served two BBQ chicken recipes for July 4th, my father-in-law's Chinese Barbecued Chicken (linked below) and this new dish. The kids mostly ate the sweeter Chinese version, but the adults split about 50-50 in terms of their favorites. I saw many going back for their 3rd or 4th piece of the Afghan chicken. It's that good! I adapted this from a recipe by Steven Raichlen, who in turn got it from Karim's restaurant in New Delhi.


    • 3 cups plain whole-milk yogurt (fine to substitute low fat if you like)
    • 6 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
    • 1 small onion minced
    • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp toasted cumin seeds
    • 12 chicken pieces (6 legs and 6 thighs, or whatever mix you prefer)


    1. Place yogurt in a yogurt strainer, or put a colander over a large bowl, and line the bowl with cheese cloth. Let drain in refrigerator for 4-6 hours. About a cup or more of liquid will be removed to make the yogurt much thicker (which will help it stick to the chicken).
    2. While yogurt is straining, Add the garlic, ginger, onion, lemon juice, cayenne, salt, paprika, black pepper, and toasted cumin seeds into a large bowl. Dump the strained yogurt into the bowl and remove the cheese cloth. Mix the yogurt and the other contents of the bowl together with a large fork until well mixed.
    3. Remove the skin from the chicken pieces, rinse, and pat dry. Make 2-3 cuts, bone deep, in each piece of chicken to help absorb the marinade. Put each piece in the marinade and cover thoroughly, then put in a large ziplock bag. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
    4. Preheat grill to high. Oil the grate. Add the chicken pieces and grill, turning with tongs until they are nicely browned on the outside but not burned, about 8-10 minutes per side. If your grill is too hot on high to do this without burning, use medium high or whatever setting you feel will achieve the desired result. If you have additional marinade, you can brush additional marinade on whichever side is turned up when about 5 minutes of grilling are remaining. The sauce is wonderful, so I recommend this.
    5. Transfer to a serving plate and serve. A garnish of onion, tomato, cucumber, radish, fresh beet slices, and lemon wedges is traditional but optional. I also served with basmati rice, but fresh flat-bread or Nan would be wonderful too!

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    • O.S.
      This chicken was truly amazing! There was another chicken available, Asian-style semi-sweet one, and I liked this one more (though the other one was also great). The amount of spices was just right, not too spicy, not too mild. Thanks for the great recipe, John!
      • Bill Farley
        Bill Farley
        Great dish, John. That's a brand new marinate for me. Very tasty! Thanks for that.
        • Nancy Miyasaki
          Nancy Miyasaki
          This chicken was really fantastic. I had a cold piece the day after for lunch, and it just keeps getting better!
          • Debby Stock Kiefer
            Debby Stock Kiefer
            This sounds wonderful... and I have a new grill!


            • ShaleeDP
              This looks good. I haven't tried making Afghan recipes, and this could be my first to try.
              • Brett Ede
                Brett Ede
                Great dish
                • Karen E. Taylor
                  Karen E. Taylor
                  Can't wait to try this John, I love exotic flavor so it sounds like my palate will approve!
                  • John Spottiswood
                    John Spottiswood
                    You'll love it, Karen. I can almost guarantee that!
                  • Deepti Naik
                    Deepti Naik
                    Thank you for sharing this recipe John. Looks really amazing.. Waiting for this weeking to try this recipe
                    • John Spottiswood
                      John Spottiswood
                      Thanks. Hope you enjoy it Deepti!
                    • PreeOccupied
                      It looks delicious. I have eaten @ Karim's and they have the best meat dishes there. This recipe sounds a little similar to Tandoori Chicken I make. Just that I don't toast my cumin seeds and I add red color to my tandoori chicken. Also there are no onions. Your adaptation is a must try and a great barbecue recipe. Thanks for sharing.
                      • John Spottiswood
                        John Spottiswood
                        Thanks for the comment, Pree. I hope you'll share your Tandoori recipe someday!

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