Chittagong Masala Murgh

Anjali Venugopal April 24, 2020 NO COMMENTS

I tasted this dish for the first time in Oh! Calcutta, Pune and I remember I fell in love with the flavour notes instantly. The coriander seeds, the fried onions, the onion paste and the chilli together weaved magic on my palate and I knew I had to recreate it at home. It took me a few attempts to get it right I must confess and now, this is my go-to recipe and I must say it’s one of my favourite meals ever. I am still not sure if this is the “right” way to do it yada yada as I was merely looking to recreate what I tasted at the restaurant. But who cares because this chicken curry is DELICIOUS.

Things you will need:

  • Chicken on the bone- 1 kg
  • Red onions (medium sized) – 2 sliced finely
  • Red onion (medium sized)- 1 made into a coarse paste.
  • Garlic- if large, 4 cloves. If the regular Indian variety, 8-9 cloves. Crushed.
  • Kashmiri red chili powder- 1.5 tablespoon
  • Turmeric powder- 1 teaspoon
  • Green chillies- 4-5 chopped
  • Cashews- 10 (soaked in ¼ cup hot water)
  • Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander seeds- 1 tsp (to temper)
  • Fresh coriander leaves to garnish

For the spice mix:

  • Coriander seeds- 2 heaped tablespoons
  • Dried red chilies- 6-7

How to go about it:

  1. First, in a small pan, dry roast the ingredients given under “for the spice mix.” The coriander seeds and the dried chillies must be lightly roasted on a low to medium flame until they release a lovely, toasty aroma. Do not allow the spices to burn. Keep aside to cool before grinding it into a coarse powder. “Spice Mix
  2. Marinate the chicken with 1 tbsp of the Spice Mix, a bit of salt and let it it rest for about half an hour.
  3. In the meantime, make a smooth paste out of the cashews and water and keep aside.
  4. Next, heat 3-4 tablespoons of oil in a wok and add 1 tsp of the coriander seeds. Once the flavour releases into the oil (takes about 5-6 seconds if the oil is hot in enough and it’ll start crackling), add the sliced onions. The onions must be made nice and brown. The trick to get crisp and brown onions every time is to make sure you don’t keep sauteing them throughout. Add the onions to the hot oil, add a bit of salt, saute till all the pieces are coated with the oil and they begin to wilt on a medium heat. After that saute only in intervals. Once the onions are translucent, you can fry it all up on a slightly higher heat. Either way, it is important to get the onions nice and brown for this recipe or it will taste odd in the end.
  5. Once the sliced onions are brown, add the onion paste and keep sauteing. Heat on medium. Keep sauteing until the entire mixture is golden brown in colour. This will happen faster than the onion slices.
  6. Next, add the garlic, sauté for about 30 seconds and then add the rest of the Spice Mix, salt as needed, the Kashmiri Red Chili powder and turmeric powder and keep sauteing for another minute. This will cook the spices well and will give the curry a luxuriant red colour in the end.
  7. Next, add the marinated chicken bits. Toss them around to make sure all the pieces are coated with the spices evenly. Keep at it till the chicken loses its pink and the masala is sealed in the pieces.
  8. At this point, add one cup water, give the curry a good mix and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer, keep the wok closed and let the chicken cook throughly. Should ideally take about 25 minutes approx. Check every once in a while to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  9. Once the chicken is cooked and the meat begins to fall of the bone, add the green chilies and cashew paste and give it a mix. Add more salt if needed. Let the curry boil until it reaches the desired consistency which is a slightly thick red gravy. Once done, top with fresh coriander leaves.
  10. Serve hot with jeera rice or plain rice and raita. Or even hot luchis if you’re feeling fancy.

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