Chicken with Cilantro (Murgi Dhuniya Patta Diya)

Finger Hot is the commercial name for this asian-type pepper that is actually very similar to fresh cayenne and can be used in any recipe to add heat without changing the flavor. It is a good chile to chop and use in stir fry.

They are thin-walled and measure about 1/2″ wide and 5″ to 8″ long. These chiles also dry very nicely.

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4 whole cloves
4 cardamom pods
2–3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. ground coriander
1 cup plain yogurt
2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into large pieces
5 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 bunches fresh cilantro, trimmed and chopped, plus additional leaves for garnish
1 tsp. sugar
6 finger hot chiles, seeded and halved
2/3 cup coconut milk
pinch ground asafetida, or substitute ground thyme


Place the cloves, cardamom pods, and bay leaves in a spice grinder and grind into a fine powder. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the cinnamon and coriander. Mix in the yogurt and season with salt. Add the chicken and turn to coat evenly. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Reserving the marinade, remove the chicken and shake off excess yogurt. Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat and Add the asafetida and allow to sizzle for about 5 seconds, then increase the heat to high. Add the chicken and brown, turning frequently, for about 10 minutes.

Add the marinade, cilantro and sugar to the pan. Season to taste with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the chiles and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and garnish with cilantro leaves, and serve with rice.

Recipe adapted from Saveur Magazine, April 1998.