Cilantro and coriander are used in this Bengali dish from Madhur Jaffrey’s Flavors of India (Carol Southern, 1995). The unique Indian spice asafetida can be found at most Indian markets.

Yield: serves 4


  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 12 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • Salt
  • 2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into large pieces
  • 5 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • Pinch ground asafetida
  • 2 bunches fresh cilantro, trimmed and chopped, plus additional leaves for garnish
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 6 serrano chiles, seeded and halved
  • 23 cup coconut milk


  1. Place cloves, cardamom pods, and bay leaves in a spice grinder. Grind to a fine powder, transfer to a large bowl, and stir in cinnamon and coriander. Mix in yogurt and season with salt. Add chicken; turn to coat evenly. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.
  2. Reserving marinade, remove chicken and shake off excess yogurt. Heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add asafetida, allow to sizzle for about 5 seconds, then increase heat to high. Add chicken and brown, turning frequently, for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add marinade, cilantro, and sugar to pan. Season to taste with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add chiles and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, then reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter, garnish with cilantro leaves, and serve with rice.