Lawang: Afghan braised chicken in turmeric & yogurt sauce
I really like Middle Eastern food though my experience is quite limited. Sure, hummus, falafel, chicken rice cart, Ali Baba (South SF) and Kabul Afghan Cuisine (San Carlos & Burlingame) are familiar to me but I imagine this is similar to Americans who are familiar with “Chinese” food. You know, chow mien and General Tso’s chicken. I have the Jerusalem cookbook, but I want to learn more, eat more and cook more. At some point, I want to make a field trip to Little Kabul in Fremont, too. Turkey has also been high on the destination list for a while, but the timing hasn’t worked out quite yet.
In search of a recipe for my favorite Afghan eggplant and lamb dish, I found a recipe for lawang, an Afghan dish of braised chicken in a turmeric and yogurt sauce. Joel almost always orders the lawang when we go to Kabul Afghan Cuisine and since we had Greek yogurt (it is now a permanent fixture in our fridge and a permanent substitute for sour cream unless we have guests) and extra chicken legs I didn’t use for the chicken adobo I figured this would be the perfect time to try the recipe. It is so easy and delicious–just takes a bit of patience as the onions and chicken slowly simmer into a velvety sauce. Don’t stir the yogurt in until you are ready to eat it–otherwise the yogurt will curdle. It’ll still taste good but it’ll look a little gross (I learned this when reheating later).
I had bought brown basmati rice in the Middle Eastern section of the grocery store. Usually, I make rice in the rice cooker but I thought I would try rice over the stove according to the package directions. My gut told me something was wrong when the recipe said 4 cups of water to 1 cup of rice…mush!
Lawang: Afghan Braised Chicken in Turmeric & Yogurt Sauce
(Recipe from afghancooking.net)
- 1.5 cups Greek-style yogurt
- 3 lbs chicken legs and thighs, separated
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 large onions, pureed in food processor (or finely chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 Tbsp ground coriander
- 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- Remove the yogurt from the refrigerator and stir until creamy.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat half the oil and saute the onions over medium-high heat for ~10 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes.
- Add remainder of the oil, chicken and salt. Stir the chicken to coat with onion mixture, reduce heat to low, cover with lid and cook for ~25 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep chicken from sticking.
- Add pepper, turmeric and coriander to the pan. Stir to coat. Cover and continue to cook on low for another 25-30 minutes or until the sauce thickens and the chicken is cooked through. Add 1 Tbsp at a time of water or chicken stock if the pan goes dry.
- If eating immediately: Remove from heat and let rest for ~10 minutes to cool the dish. Add yogurt and cilantro, stir gently and heat on low for another 5 minutes.
- If eating the following day: Do not add the yogurt and cilantro until the following day after you’ve reheated the chicken.
Serve over basmati rice.