Today is Eid-Al-Fitr, the day which marks the end of the holy month of Ramdan, a day synonymous with happiness, cheer, sharing and of course lavish and decadent feasts.
And with a gorgeous overcast sky and a lazy desultory drizzle all morning, I could not resist the temptation of cooking my Dhakai Murgir Khichuri for today’s lunch.
Dhakai Murgi Khichuri. Pearls of rice. Gorgeous red lentils. Succulent cuts of chicken. An ensemble of spices. Dollops of ghee. All cooked to luxuriant perfection. Redolent of Dhakas Chawk Bazaar.
Dhakai Murgi Khichuri (Chicken Khichdi, Dhaka Style)
- 500 g chicken cut into curry cuts
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 cup musur dal or red lentils
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp fennel seed
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 10-12 black pepper corn
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp onion paste
- 2 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 2 - 3 green cardamom
- 1 - 2 bay leaves
- 1 - 2 whole dry red chillies
- 2 big onion quartered
- 3 - 4 green chili slit
- 2 tsp turmeric powder
- 3 tsp black pepper powder freshly ground
- 2 tbsp beresta or fried onions optional
- 3.5 tbsp mustard oil
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1/4 cup coriander leaves chopped
- salt to taste
- Soak the black peppercorn, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds in a little water, grind to a fine paste.
- Marinate the chicken with 4 tsp of the above spice paste along with lemon juice, 1 tbsp onion paste, 1 tsp ginger paste, 1/2 tsp garlic paste and a sprinkle of salt. Refrigerate for least 3-4 hrs, even better if left to marinate overnight.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan, when smoking hot, throw in the black peppercorn. Add the marinated chicken, stir fry over medium heat till light brown. Keep aside.
- Wash the rice and dal, soak in water for 30 odd mins.
- Heat the remaining oil in a deep bottomed pan, throw in the dry red chillies, bay leaves and crushed green cardamom, saute for few seconds till the spices start to release their aroma. Throw in the quartered onions, fry till they turn a light brown.
- Add the remaining onion paste, ginger paste and garlic paste, cook over a medium flame till oil starts to release from the masala.
- Now add the rice and dal, sprinkle the turmeric powder and saute over a medium flame for 3-4 minutes.
- Pour in 2.5 cups of warm water, cook till the rice is almost half done. Gently add the chicken, ground black pepper, green chillies, give it a hearty mix. Adjust seasonings.
- Continue to cook over a medium flame till the rice and chicken are perfectly done. Feel free to add more water if needed, though take care that the consistency of the khichdi doesn't become too runny.
- Finish with a dollop of ghee and chopped coriander leaves. Allow to rest for 10 odd minutes. Serve hot.