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Amazing Afghan Chicken Recipe
by John Spottiswood

Amazing Afghan Chicken

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.

Rating: 4.7/5
Avg. 4.7/5 7 votes
Prep time: Afghanistan Afghan
Cook time: Servings: 6


  • 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!