Afghan Braised Chicken in Yogurt (Lawang)

This chicken is excellent for dinner or the next day in a lunch box. Serve it with a crunchy salad such as salata, a combination of cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon, and cilantro that is a staple of the Afghan table.
Course Dinner
Servings 6 (more if you have small appetites in your midst)
Author katiemorford


  • 1 1/2 cups full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 3 pounds skinless, bone-in chicken legs and/or thighs
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • Steamed basmati rice for serving.


  1. Remove the yogurt from the refrigerator while you prepare the chicken.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a lid. Add the onions and saute until soft and nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute or so.
  3. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of 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, as needed.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  5. To add the yogurt to the chicken, do as follows:
  6. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the onion mixture/sauce from the chicken into a small bowl. Spoon half the yogurt into the bowl and stir. Add the remaining yogurt and stir again. Then, add the yogurt mixture to the chicken and slowly stir it until it looks like a uniform, creamy sauce. 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).
  7. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve with steamed basmati rice.