1 (3 lb.) chicken, cut into serving pieces, skinned
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. minced garlic
1 T. crushed ginger root
1 T. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. fresh-ground pepper
2 tsp. salt or to taste
vegetable oil, for brushing
fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish
Prick the flesh of the chicken all over with a fork. Then, using a sharp knife, cut slashes in the flesh to allow the marinade to penetrate. Place the chicken in a nonreactive large, shallow dish.
In a nonreactive bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice or vinegar, garlic, ginger, cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, cardamom, cloves, black pepper and salt. Stir until well-mixed, then pour the mixture over the chicken and rub it into the flesh, turning the chicken several times. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking.
The chicken may be grilled or roasted. If using a charcoal grill, prepare a fire for direct-heat cooking. Position the grill racks inches from the fire. Allow the coals to burn until white ash covers them and the heat is moderate.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, pressing lightly to extract excess marinade, and brush with oil. Place the chicken pieces on a well-oiled grill rack; grill, covered, with the vents open, turning 3 or 4 times, 45 minutes or until the juices run clear when a piece is pierced near the bone with a knife.
If roasting, preheat the oven to 450º. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan, brush with oil, and cook, turning once, 25 to 30 minutes until the juices run clear when a piece is pierced near the bone with a knife.
Serve with sprigs of cilantro.