Based on this recipe from Cafe Delites but changed to use whole chicken, bigger pieces and cooking timing based on the Cook's Illustrated Braised Chicken with Basil and Tomato which I find braises chicken and gets it done just right.


  • For the chicken marinade:
  • Whole chicken
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 ½ Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp ginger
  • 2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chili (or ½ tsp ground red chili powder)
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp of vegetable/canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 small onions (or 1 large onion) finely diced
  • 1 ½Tbsp garlic finely grated
  • 1 Tbsp ginger finely grated
  • 1 ½ tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 14 oz (400g) tomato puree (tomato sauce/Passata)
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chili (optional for color and flavor)
  • 1 tsp ground red chili powder (adjust to your taste preference)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ cups of heavy or thickened cream (use evaporated milk for lower calories)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water if needed
  • 4 Tbsp Fresh cilantro to garnish


Break down chicken into 10 parts - drum stick, thighs, breast into 4 parts, wings. Save the back and wing tips for stock.


In a bowl, combine chicken with all of the ingredients for the chicken marinade; let marinate overnight.

Preheat oven to 300ºF.

Heat oil in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat and sear chicken pieces. 3 or 4 min per side. Do in batches and do not crowd.

Melt butter in pan and sauté onions until soft.

Add garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant, then add garam masala, cumin, turmeric and coriander. Fry for 20 seconds until fragrant.

Pour in the tomato puree, chili and salt. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens.

Stir in cream and sugar. Pour in the water to thin out the sauce, if needed.

Put thighs and drumsticks in skin side up and bring to simmer. Cover and cook for 8 minutes. Add broad big pieces skin side down. Cover and cook until big breast pieces have an internal temperature of 105ºF to 115ºF degrees, 3 to 5 minutes.

Turn big breast pieces skin side up. Add smaller tapered breast pieces, skin side up. Transfer covered pot to oven or simmer and cook until breast pieces have an internal temperature of 150ºF and dark meat is 160ºF, 15 to 30 minutes.

Garnish with cilantro and serve.