Chicken drumsticks with cashew & turmeric (kalmi kebab)

Make this North Indian favourite: chicken legs marinated in garlicky yogurt, cream and cashew nut paste and spiced with turmeric and ginger

  • Prep:20 mins
    Cook:35 mins
    plus 3 hrs soaking and marinating
  • Serves 6
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 414
  • fat 30g
  • saturates 13g
  • carbs 6g
  • sugars 0g
  • fibre 1g
  • protein 29g
  • salt 0.41g


  • 75g cashew nuts
  • 1 lemon, juiced, plus extra wedges to serve
  • 150g strained Greek yogurt (use regular Greek yogurt if you can't find strained)
  • 50g ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • ½ tsp carom seeds (ajwain), optional
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ¾ tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 50ml double cream
  • 12 chicken drumsticks, skinned
  • 50g ghee or 75ml sunflower oil
  • 1 small red onion, cut into rings


Carom seeds (ajwain) have an astringent thyme-like flavour and are available from online stockists and South Asian grocery shops. 
Strained yogurt is yogurt which has been hung in cloth to remove some of the liquid whey. It’s firm and creamy in texture and available from larger supermarkets.  You can make your own by hanging full fat Greek yogurt in a muslin bag for 2-3 hours.


  1. Put the cashew nuts in a bowl and cover with enough boiling water from the kettle to cover. Set aside for at least 2 hrs to soften. Drain the nuts, then blend until smooth in a small food processor with the lemon juice.

  2. Mix the nut paste with the yogurt in a large bowl, and add the lemon, ginger, garlic, turmeric, chilli powder, carom seeds (if using), garam masala, cumin, black pepper, and cream.

  3. Using a sharp knife, make 2-3 slashes on each chicken drumstick and coat them with the spiced yogurt. Cover the bowl and leave the chicken to marinate in the fridge for 1-2 hrs, or overnight if you have the time.

  4. Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Put the ghee or oil in a large roasting tin and heat it in the oven until it is really hot.

  5. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in the roasting tin. Spoon half the marinade over the legs and return the tin to the oven.

  6. After 15 mins, turn the legs over and spread over the remaining marinade. Put in the oven for a further 15 mins, until the chicken juices run clear when pierced with a knife.

  7. Preheat the grill to its hottest setting and grill the chicken for 3-4 mins until browned. Transfer to a serving dish, scatter with red onion rings, and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

Suggested recipes from this collection...