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The Perfect Murg Masala
Please My Recipe
P for Perfect and P for Pishi
I had always thought that food with big names required a lot of maneuver to create. A huge list of ingredients with an equally befitting craftsmanship might be behind those famous delicacies and if those delicacies were Indian then the number of spices would be innumerable.
I am happy that I was proven wrong at some point of my life. As I have earlier mentioned in my Fish Pie recipe that my husband's Aunt, whom we all lovingly call Pishi is a magician in the guise of a great cook was the inspiration behind that pie recipe. This Murg Masala recipe is solely her creation. Seriously, there was not a single place where I can think of modifying the recipe a bit. The only thing I did is that I increased the hotness of the recipe by adding red chili powder here and there but apart from that the entire recipe is untouched.
I have earlier told that while living in Calcutta, my sweet home Calcutta, we used to be invited a lot to Pishi's house. Every time we went there we tried to figure out, "Now this time what is she making for us?" The food in her place was always out of the box. Not the usual kind that we get to have in every relative's house. Truly speaking I have never seen a great lady at such an advanced age with such a zest of life. It is a fact that Pishi's potential hasn't been rightly exploited, had it been, that would have been a different case. A feisty lady in her late seventies still having the zeal to cook for her brothers, nephews and nieces. Such a rare sight in our Indian household, where crossing sixty only means joint pains, high blood pressure or diabetes. Pishi is so different from the rest of her generation and that what makes her unique.
And what makes her more unique was her ability to create delicacies with such basic ingredients. Yes, I deliberately used the word "create" instead of "cook" because I think everybody can cook but how many of us can create magic with a very selective set of ingredients. Not many I suppose. Even when the process is so simple yet it effortlessly brings out the right taste and flavor of that dish; such is the skill of our beloved Pishi.
Our Perfect Murg Masala is also "created" with Pishi's same philosophy. Even with such minimum ingredients no one can dare challenge its taste. It has the perfect concoction of taste and aroma much needed from a true "lazaeez" (read: delicious and succulent) Chicken Masala.
- 8 Chicken Leg Pieces, preferred (you can also use boneless chicken breasts)
- 2 tablespoons Garlic Paste
- According to taste Salt
- 1 Red Onion (Large), finely sliced
- 1 teaspoon Red Chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
- 1 teaspoon Poppy Seeds
- 5 - 6 Green Cardamoms
- 1 small cup Coconut Milk
- 1 small cup Greek Yogurt
- 2 - 3 Dried Red Chili
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- 3 - 4 drops Kewra Water
- 4 - 5 tablespoons Mustard Oil
- Wash and pat dry the chicken leg pieces. Make incisions on sides of the leg pieces for better absorption of the masala. Marinate the leg pieces with garlic paste, red chili powder and salt. Refrigerate them in a sealed container for about 3 to 4 hours.
- Soak cumin seeds, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, dried red chili and green cardamoms with a little bit of water for about half an hour and make a smooth paste of it in a mixer.
- Heat mustard oil in a wok. When the oil is hot enough, add the sliced red onions in the oil. Fry them for sometime in high heat until the onions turn reddish brown in color. Keep them aside.
- Next in that same oil fry the marinated chicken leg pieces in batches. Make sure that you fry them well. The chicken pieces will loose its raw color and turn brown. Keep them aside.
- In the remaining oil in the wok add the masala paste that you have prepared. Add salt to it. Fry the paste for few minutes.
- When we can see the masala has fried enough add coconut milk and greek yogurt into the fried paste. Add the fried chicken pieces. Simmer the heat. You can also add sugar at this point. Cover the wok with a lid and let the chicken cook on its own for about 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes open the lid. Increase the heat. By this time the water has dried up and the gravy appears to be thick. Next add kewra water drops. Be careful not to add too much kewra water. Mix it well with the chicken. Just before turning off the heat add the fried onions which we call "beresta". Mix the fried onions well with the chicken pieces and quickly turn off the heat. Your Murg Masala is ready. Close the lid of the wok and keep it over the hot oven for sometime. We call this "standing time". Next transfer the Murg Masala in a serving bowl and serve it hot with steamed rice or naan. I prefer mine with steamed basmati rice and it tastes heavenly. Happy Eating Folks!!!
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Friends, try the recipe of my perfect Murg Masala at home and give me feedback on the compliments that you have earned. Stay in touch and keep giving your valuable suggestions. Always willing to hear from you guys. Stay blessed and keep cooking!