- 800g chicken
- 16g salt
- 3g turmeric
- 4 pcs (3g) dried red chillies
- 2 pcs (5g) kashmiri red chillies
- 7g ginger
- 15g garlic
- 30g mustard oil
- 2 pcs bay leaves
- 150g onions
- 150g potatoes
- 25g yoghurt
- 8g sugar
- 300g water
- 1 pc cinnamon
- 3 pcs cloves
- 4 pcs cardamom
The jhol in murgir jhol, refers to the runniest form of sauce in Bengali cooking. This chicken curry recipe is all about freshness of ingredients. It does away with everything but the essential. There is no tempering the oil with whole spices, no tomatoes and green chillies, none of the usual spices such as coriander and cumin, and no garnishing with coriander leaves. Which means that the few ingredients that do go in, have to be fresh if you would like to achieve the best results.
Ideally, the chicken should be purchased from the market the same day, never frozen. The whole bird should not weigh more than 2 kilos, about 1.7 kilos after dressing. The meat should be bone in, of course, preferably from the legs and thighs and not only from the breast. Necks, stomachs, livers and heads are good too.
The chilli paste is freshly ground along with a generous quantity of garlic and a little ginger. The quantity of onions is much less than what would be normally used. This is intentional. Avoid the temptation to use too much onion in this recipe. Because there is not enough onions or spices to give the gravy a body, when the water is added the emulsion breaks and the oil rises to the top giving it its signature red colour.
The yoghurt adds some acidity, but can be skipped too. The whole spices used are ground fresh in a sheel nora right before being added to the korai at the very end. The effect is very different from adding whole spices in the beginning of the cooking process. Finally, we like to finish with a drizzle of a good pungent, unrefined mustard oil. This is an optional step, but one we recommend you try at least once.
- Mix the chicken with turmeric and 8g salt. Set aside.
- Soak the dried red chillies and Kashmiri red chillies in hot water for 20 minutes.
- Halve the potatoes and slice the onions.
- Roughly chop ginger and garlic. Grind it along with the soaked chillies into a smooth paste.
- Heat mustard oil. Add the spice paste and cook it for 3 minutes until the raw smell of garlic goes away.
- Add the bay leaves.
- Add onions. Mix with the spices. Add sugar and fry everything for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add potatoes and the remaining salt (8g), and the yoghurt. Continue cooking until potatoes soften slightly, about 10 more minutes.
- Add the chicken. Braise it in the spices on medium heat for 20 minutes.
- Add hot water for the gravy, and cook until the chicken is done and potatoes are tender and juicy.
- In a sheel nora or mortar pestle grind whole gorom moshla, that is — green cardamom, cloves and cinnamon with some water until it forms a smooth paste.
- Finish with freshly ground gorom moshla and some raw mustard oil.
- Mixing bowl