Khoresh Maast – Chicken in yogurt sauce with barberries

This one is a maast-try!

I have had several appetizing and delicious Indian chicken dishes that either marinate or cook the chicken in a yogurt sauce. But until recently I hadn’t tried this traditional chicken dish with Persian techniques, ingredients, and spices.

The chicken is lightly browned with onions and celery and then cooked in a tangy yogurt sauce. That by itself is plenty tasty and delicious! But then almonds and raisins are added, along with ginger and spices that are pureed in the yogurt sauce. Finally, the dish is topped with golden toasted almonds and lightly sweetened barberries!

This dish really highlights some of the basic elements of Persian cuisine: once again there is a balance of sweet and sour, coming together to make a dish that is well composed and rich in nature and flavor.


Khoresht-e Maast

Chicken stew in seasoned yogurt sauce with raisins and barberries
4.96 from 25 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Persian
Servings 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 chicken pieces, breasts and thighs
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, ground
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom, ground
  • 2 teaspoons coriander, ground
  • 2 teaspoons cumin, ground
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Yogurt sauce

  • 2 cups yogurt, plain and whole fat
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1 fresh lime, juiced
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup barberries
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water


  • 1 sprig basil, fresh


  • In a large dutch oven, fry the chicken with oil on medium-high heat for 5 minutes on each side until lightly golden brown. Set aside.
  • Discard all but about 2 tablespoons of fat remaining in the pan.
  • To the same dutch oven add the minced onion, celery, ginger and garlic and saute for 15 minutes over medium-high heat until the onion and celery become soft and aromatic.
  • Add all the spices and continue to saute for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Return the chicken to the dutch oven, add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
  • While chicken is beginning to cook, prepare the yogurt sauce by combining all of the sauce ingredients in a blender and puree until completely smooth.
  • Pour the sauce over the chicken and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 1 hour.
  • While the chicken is cooking, prepare the topping by sauteing the almonds with olive oil in a small frying pan over low heat until lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients for the topping, and gently toss and saute for 2 additional minutes. Set aside.
  • Once the stew has finished cooking, serve the chicken on a serving platter and sprinkle the topping evenly over the stew and garnish with a sprig of basil.
  • Serve the stew with Persian Basmati rice.
Keyword barberry, chicken, yogurt
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