Sharmaji’s Lahori chicken is the one dish Chet has never taken off the menu here at BiBi. To read more on its background, our previous blog post on ‘The Story of Sharmaji’s Chicken’ is here. And if you fancy trying your hand at it yourself, the recipe is below!
For the yoghurt
1kg/2lb 4oz live cultured plain yoghurt
For the marinated chicken
4 chicken breasts, boneless and skin removed (150g/5½oz each)
2 tbsp garlic paste
3 tbsp ginger paste
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
For the lahori marinade
30g/1oz garam masala
10g garlic paste
20g/¾oz ginger paste
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp mustard oil
250g/9oz strained yoghurt (from recipe above)
50g/1¾oz whipping cream
For the kebab masala
10g dried fenugreek leaves, lightly toasted
1g dried mint
2g black salt
9g chaat masala
2g green mango powder
2g kashmiri chilli powder
2g garam masala
200g/7oz salted butter, plus extra melted butter for basting (or ghee for basting)
For the yoghurt whey sauce
600g/1lb 5oz yoghurt whey (from the recipe above)
300g/10½oz whipping cream
60g/2¼oz cashew nuts, roasted until light golden
5 cardamom pods, crushed
50g/1¾oz fresh root ginger, peeled, finely chopped and crushed into a paste, plus 1 tsp finely chopped fresh root ginger
1 tsp finely chopped coriander stalks
1 tsp finely chopped green chillies
To make the yoghurt, place a few layers of kitchen paper in a sieve, pour in the yoghurt and place over a bowl. Place in the fridge overnight. Once strained, set aside the strained yoghurt and the whey.
To make the marinated chicken, mix together all of the ingredients, except the chicken, in a bowl. Rub this mixture into the chicken, making sure it is evenly coated, and marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes.
To make the lahori marinade, mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Rub onto the chicken, coating it evenly again. Leave to marinate in the fridge for up to 4 hours.
To make the kebab masala, grind the fenugreek, mint and black salt into a coarse powder. Mix in the remaining spices and set aside in an airtight container. Set aside the butter.
To make the yoghurt whey sauce, bring the yoghurt whey, cream, cashew nuts, cardamom and crushed ginger to a rapid boil in a saucepan. Cook until the cashew nuts are soft enough to mash – this should take around 5 minutes over a high heat. Remove the cardamom pods and transfer the remaining sauce to a blender. Blend for 5 minutes at the highest speed and adjust, if needed, with hot water until the texture is the consistency of double cream. Season with salt and set aside.
The chicken is best cooked on a barbecue so light the coals in good time. Once the coals are at temperature, skewer the chicken and place on the barbecue with the skin-side of the chicken facing up. Cook for 5–7 minutes, or until the marinade has charred to a speckled, deep brown colour. Turn the chicken over and baste with a little ghee or melted butter. Cook for a further 5–7 minutes. Alternatively, cook the chicken under a grill set to maximum until well charred, turning halfway through.
Test that the chicken is cooked by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast – it should read at least 70C to confirm it is cooked through. Remove from the heat, baste again with ghee or butter, and leave to rest in a warm place for a few minutes before carving each breast into three or four slices.
Heat up the yoghurt whey sauce and add the chopped ginger, coriander stalks and green chilli. Melt the butter in a separate saucepan, remove from the heat and add the kebab masala mixture. Place the chicken on warm plates. Pour over the yoghurt whey sauce and finish with a couple of generous tablespoons of the kebab masala butter. Serve immediately.