Afghan Chicken in Creamy Yogurt Sauce
There’s no shortage of data to back up the benefits of sharing meals as a family, yet, supper sometimes gets the shaft. Schedules interfere or we just get out of the habit and days pass without locking eyeballs over a plate of pasta. If your aim is to get everyone around the table, your best bet is to cook up something that nobody can resist. Enter Afghan Chicken in Creamy Yogurt Sauce, otherwise known as Lawang. I was so smitten after first eating it in a restaurant, I begged my friend, Humaira, who is from Afghanistan, to teach me to make it.
Made with Everyday Ingredients
While the dish may not be familiar to many of you, it calls for ingredients you can pick up in any grocery store. Chicken legs and thighs get braised in onions, garlic, and spices (turmeric gives it that gorgeous color). Then, Greek yogurt gets stirred in just before serving, creating a creamy, flavorful sauce that’s excellent over rice.
A Healthy Chicken Dish
The other upside to Lawang is that it’s both satisfying and nourishing. The chicken braises in a generous amount of turmeric, which is prized for its anti-inflammatory properties. The black pepper in the recipe enhances those benefits further. The dish is also a gut healthy one, rich is prebiotics in the form of onions and garlic, and probiotics from a full cup and a half of Greek yogurt.
A Perfect Make-Ahead Recipe
Like many braised chicken dishes, this one holds up well a day or two after it’s made. That means you can make it ahead, store in the fridge, and reheat low and slow on the stove. It also makes a terrific leftover lunch.
If you like Afghan Chicken in Creamy Yogurt Sauce, you might like:
Afghan Chicken in Creamy Yogurt Sauce (Lawang)
- 1 1/2 cups full-fat Greek yogurt
- 3 pounds skinless, bone-in chicken legs and/or thighs
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 very large or 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 1/2 cups white or brown basmati rice
Remove the yogurt and chicken from the refrigerator.
Begin cooking the rice using your preferred method or according to package directions.
While the rice cooks, in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven with a lid, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high. Add the onions and saute until soft and nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute or so.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the onions. Add the chicken and sprinkle the salt over everything. Stir well and drop the heat to low. Cover with a lid and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the chicken from sticking.
Add the black pepper, turmeric and coriander, and stir. Cover and continue to cook on low until the chicken is very tender, another 25 minutes. If the pan begins to go dry during cooking, add water, a couple of tablespoons at a time, if needed.
Remove the pot from heat and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Spoon about 1/2 cup of the sauce from the chicken into a small bowl. Add half the yogurt and stir. Add the remaining yogurt and stir again. Pour the yogurt mixture over the chicken and slowly stir until creamy and uniform in color. This process will help prevent the yogurt from separating when added to the chicken. If it does separate after all, not to worry, it will still be delicious (just not quite as pretty).
Scatter the chopped cilantro over the chicken and serve with rice. Be generous with the sauce, since you will have plenty and it's delicious over the rice.