Zafrani Chicken / Zafrani Murgh Recipe


Zafrani Chicken is a rich chicken curry adorned with the flavours of saffron and almonds, goes beautifully well with lightly flavoured rice, or Naan or simply chapatis. Even though this curry is rich because of the saffron and almonds, its not a heavy curry, as its mildly spiced and relies more on the subtle flavors of whole spices like bay leave and cloves.  

I discovered this Zafrani Chicken in a sweet little Chicken Delights cookbook i got to get some chicken basics clear, and since then this curry has been a family favorite. Though this has my own alterations, to suit G’s palette, being the fidgety person i am i can never stick to a recipe, it comes out really well, the gravy is blisful, and a crowd pleaser, always delighting the best of my critics.  

This Zafrani Chicken recipe is also very dear to me as this was the first chicken recipe i prepared all by my own years back, and i love preparing it even today.


  • 1/2 kg Chicken (medium sized chunks / leg peices)
  • 6 tbsp Clarified Butter
  • 3 large Onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tomato, peeled and pureed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 3 green chillies slit lengthwise.
  • 4 tspCoriander Powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup Warm Milk
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 1/4 cup Yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp fresh cream
  • 2 tbsp almond(badam) paste
  • 7-8 strands of Saffron

Directions for Zafrani Chicken

  1. Heat half of the clarified butter in a pan and saute onions till brown. Remove, drain excess ghee and blend to make a paste.
  2. Heat remaining ghee, add all the dry ingredients except onion paste, almond paste, tomato puree and saffron.
  3. Add the chicken pieces and cook on medium heat till charred a little.
  4. Stir fry for a few minutes and then add the milk, water and yoghurt to it. Whisk them well before adding to heat. 
  5. Meanwhile saute the onion paste, once done completely, add the tomato puree, and then the almond paste to it, keep stirring till it starts leaving oil from the corners, keep it aside.
  6. Once the chicken is half done, stir in the paste made above and the saffron , turn the flame to low and cook till the chicken pieces are tender.
  7. Remove from heat and serve hot with plain rice spliced with some bay leafs and cloves, garnished with some fresh thyme, coriander or parsley whatever available.


  • You can simply use the chicken as it is or else marinate it for an hour before you start with this process, it gives the chicken pieces a rich taste.. i marinated the chicken pieces in dahi, a little vinegar, 2 tbsp of fresh cream, salt, chilli powder and coriander powder for an hour or so.
  • One sign of whether the chicken is done or not is that the meat changes from translucent to opaque and the meat starts leaving  the bone at the ends. 


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