The bird sits on the gas stove, stewing merrily in yogurt perfumed with a melange of spices. A delicious aroma wafts from the kitchen. I brew myself a Darjeeling and sit down to scribble my notes against the doi murgi recipe from one of the ancient royal houses of Bengal that I have referred to this morning.
No tomatoes, possibly the acquaintance of Bengali cuisine with the alien biliti begun as tomatoes were called in those early years had yet not been fostered (??), the original had no garlic either (though I have allowed myself the liberty of adding in a tiny bit), a spartan abstinence from using either the ubiquitous cumin or coriander, whole or pounded and yes, I could not even imagine the indulgence of a cup of ghee (mine has a frugal, or should I say parsimonious, half a table spoon !!!)
If you fancy whipping up a curry one of these days, whose recipe dates back possibly a couple of centuries, doi murgi is just the right one for you !!
Doi Murgi (Chicken in yogurt)
- 500 g chicken curry cut pieces
- 200 g yogurt whipped
- 1 tbsp raisins
- 3 onions finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp garlic paste
- 2 tsps ginger paste
- 2 tsps green chili paste
- 3-4 green chillies slit
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 2 - 3 green cardamom
- 1 one inch cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- 3 tbsps mustard oil
- 1/2 tbsp ghee
- 1/4 tsp garam masala powder
- sugar to taste
- salt to taste
- Marinate the chicken pieces with ginger-garlic paste and 2 tbsp whipped yogurt. Keep aside for 3-4 hrs.
- Soak the raisins in water.
- Heat oil and when smoking hot, temper with crushed cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay leaves. When the spices start to release their aroma, add the onions and fry till translucent. Now add the marinated chicken, green chili paste and a couple of slit green chillies.
- Sprinkle in a little salt and cook over a medium flame for 5-6 minutes.
- Add rest of the whipped yogurt and cook till the masala is cooked and oil starts to separate from the masala.
- Add a cup of warm water, throw in the raisins; cook over a low flame till the chicken is tender. Add the sugar and adjust seasonings. Cook for another 5 odd minutes.
- Finish with a generous dollop of ghee and a sprinkle of garam masala powder. Serve hot with rice.