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Braised Chicken in Walnut Cream Sauce
June 24, 2012

This recipe was adapted from "My Bombay Kitchen" by Niloufer Ichaporia-King. I was looking for a rich, nut-based sauce to serve with the chicken, and this dish with a Circassian style walnut cream gravy was perfect. I served this with a pulao, but pita or other flatbreads would work just as well. I used thighs and legs, but you could substitute that with breasts and adjust the cooking time accordingly. Chicken sold in India is usually lean, but for fatter chicken sold in the US, see my note.


  • 12 chicken leg and thigh pieces, skinned
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • 4 dried red chilies
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 pods green cardamom
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, soaked for 20 minutes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pinch paprika
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 3-4 sprigs parsley (substitute the pomegranate)


  1. Combine the chicken pieces with the ginger and garlic pastes, and marinate, covered, for 30 minutes or so.
  2. Heat the ghee or oil in a large dutch oven on medium. Add the dry spices and fry for about 2-3 minutes till browned slightly.
  3. Add the onion and fry till it is soft and golden brown. This will take about 10 minutes or so.
  4. Add the chicken, and toss in the pot till well combined with the spices, about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Add salt, and enough water to barely cover the chicken.
  6. Bring to a simmer, and turn down the heat to cook at a bare simmer for 30 minutes or so till the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken pieces from the pot and reserve till the sauce is made.
  1. In a blender, combine the walnut and cream with about a cup of the warm braising liquid till smooth and creamy.
  2. Add this to the pot and whisk with the contents of the pot till well combined. Add the chicken back to the pot.
  1. Heat the chicken with the sauce on very low heat till heated through, stirring frequently to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  2. Garnish with a pinch of paprika and the pomegranate seeds or parsley and serve.
  1. If the chicken you are using has a lot of fat, brown it first in a separate pan, and then marinate it with the ginger and garlic. This allows it to render the fat.
  2. The chicken will keep well for a couple of days in the refrigerator after assembling with the sauce. Just follow the serving step to reheat.


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