Monday, March 29, 2010

Murghi Ka Salan -- Murgir Jhol by any other name

Murgir Jhol

Has anyone seen Maya, the Indian Princess. The cute rounded Indian kid who goes around saying "I am an Indian Princess, in a pr-e-t-t-y sarri", with the right inflection on the t's in pretty. I was thrilled to see her some months ago on Nick Jr.

Yes, I am the bad Mom, who not only has cable but also watches television as in Nick Jr. with her kids. A couple years back, I thought Nickelodeon was the root to all evil, had no cable, only allowed the singleton kiddo to watch PBS kids. Two years and one more kid later, I have changed. I Love Moose A. Moose and wait for their summer song.

But the pros and cons of Nick Jr. will be debated later, today it is about Maya. Hers is not a show, hers is just a filler in between the regular shows (and she is been around since 2005, only I didn't know). It is about this little Indian girl who goes around trying to drape a sari and be a princess until her Mom comes and helps her out. Why does that thrill me so ? Umm, maybe because a brown Indian cartoon girl who looks just like any little non-cartoon girl is on mainstream cartoon TV. Yeah that is how I gauge Equal Opportunity( or is it Affirmative Action) these days, by who is on cartoon TV even if they are sharing the spot with a Moose.

By Kavita Ramchandran
Watch the clip if you haven't already. BS freaks out if I ask her to wear a sari, she will wear a salwar kamiz, a lehenga but not a sari, but then everyone is not BS.There are kids like Maya who will want to drape everything on them and pretend being a princess or being a teacher like BS's mom used to do eons ago.
When I saw the Murghi Ka Salan at Mona's and then Shayma's two things happened (1) it made me immensely hungry (2) it very much reminded me of Murgi'r Jhol. The Murgi'r Jhol was another Sunday lunch thing like the Patha'r Mangsho.

As the Bengali got more heart healthy, they gradually moved from their Sunday goat meat lunches to chicken. In those times chicken did not feature prolifically in the Bong menu, non-veg meant more of fish and chicken or mutton was usually once a week affair. The Sunday Murgi'r Jhol was the basic simple jhol with onion, ginger, garlic and garam masala. They would not have cashew paste or mint or any such brou-ha-ha. It was a simplistic chicken curry and could be be looking red and rich one day due to use of more oil and red chili powder or pale and yellowy on another Sunday when the frying and bhuno-ing was less. Both ways it tasted great. It would be served with white rice, dal, a bhaja and a salad of onion-cucumber-tomato.

So I made Murgi'r Jhol but adapted all extra things that Murgi ka Salan required which meant whole peppercorns and lots of chili powder. I also fried the onions golden and then made a paste of them as I think that gives a wonderful flavor to the dish. As the chicken cooked on the stove, last Saturday, I could feel the happy smell permeating the walls and spreading through my home. I had a hunch, this would be the chicken curry which makes you want to smell your fingers long after lunch. And when I served this delicious dish as Murghi ka Salan , because that sounds oh so much more poetic than Murgi'r Jhol, D rolled his eyes(ok not rolled, because he can't do the rolling right), and said "Eta to amader Murgi'r Jhol"(This is our Murgi'r Jhol).

Inspiration: Murghi ka Salan @Zaiqa, Murghi ka Salan @The Spice Spoon and my Mom

Murghi Ka Salan ~ Murgir Jhol
Serves about 5-6 grown ups

 What You Need

Chicken-- skinned and cut into medium size pieces, mine had bones.
About 2&1/2-3lb of chicken

For marinade:
2 tbsp of lime juice,
1 tsp of garlic paste,
1 tsp of ginger paste,
turmeric powder

Red Onion ~ 3 cups of chopped onion
Garlic ~ 7-8 fat cloves of garlic
Ginger ~ 2" knob of ginger
Tomato ~ 3 peeled and canned tomatoes. Instead use 2-3 juicy tomatoes finely chopped

Elaichi/Cardamom ~ 5
Laung/Cloves ~ 5
Dalchini/Cinnamon ~ 1&1/2" thin stick
Whole Pepercorns ~ 10-15

Roasted Coriander Powder ~ 2 tsp. (Dry roast corriander seeds and grind to a powder. You can store it for later use)
Red Chili Powder ~ 1-1&1/2 tsp
Salt ~ to taste
Water ~ 1-2 cup
Lime zest ~ 1/4 tsp

Corriander Leaves ~ a handful of chopped leaves
Oil ~ for cooking. I use White Oil like Canola for this dish. Do not scrimp on the oil and you will need about 5-6tbsp of it at the least. Think of this like, you will make this once in two weeks and so it is ok to indulge. Also this 5tbsp will be distributed among 5 adults, so it is only 1tbsp per adult  

How I Did It  

Prep Marinade the chicken pieces for an hour with  
2 tbsp of lime juice,  
1 tsp of garlic paste,  
1 tsp of ginger paste,  
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder  

Start Cooking

Heat White Oil in a deep heavy bottomed pan.

Add 3 cups of roughly chopped red onion and fry till the onions turn deep maroon & golden with deep brown edges.

Add about 7-8 cloves of chopped garlic and a 2" knob of ginger peeled and chopped. Saute for a couple more minutes till they caramelize. Cool and then grind onion+garlic+ginger to a fine smooth paste with aid of little water.

Heat some more White oil for cooking in the same pan.

Temper the oil with
5 whole Cardamom  
5 Clove  
1&1/2"stick of cinnamon  
10-15 whole peppercorns

Add the onion+garlic+ginger paste from the blender and fry for a minute Add about 3 whole peeled tomatoes from a can or 2 medium juicy tomatoes chopped fine. Fry till the tomato is mushed up and you see the oil separating from the edges

Add 2 tsp of Roasted Coriander powder and 1-2 tsp of Red Chili Powder. If you want add a pinch of turmeric. Fry the spices with a sprinkle of water for 2-3 minutes.Note: When I am making this, I will add red chili powder only towards the end, after taking out a serving for the 6 year old.

Add the chicken pieces shaking off any excess liquid and fry the chicken pieces till they are well coated with the masala. Let it cook uncovered for the next 15-20 mins or so, with frequent stirring. This process is actually called "bhuno" in Hindi or "kashano" in Bengali. At the end of this process you will see the oil separating , that indicates good things are in the making.

When you see the chicken pieces takes on a golden coloring and the oil separating from the masala, add about 1-2 cups of warm water, mix everything well, add salt to taste and cook covered at medium-low heat till chicken is done. You should let the gravy simmer till you see a thin layer of oil floating on the top.

Add about 1/4 tsp of lime zest or a lime leaf if you have one, couple of minutes before you turn off the heat. This really lends a beautiful flavor to the rich curry. Garnish with loads of chopped corriander leaves


  1. I have not seen Maya, Sandeepa. No cable. That does not automatically qualify me as a good mom but a mom who makes Murghi Ka Salan is certainly a really good mom. Ask my DDs they will certainly agree. I go for fast simple chicken curries but this I agree deserves a day.

  2. Yummy! I like this chicken recipe!

  3. From ur blog only came to know about Maya...becoz i neither have a tv nor a cable...may that sounds ridiculous that in this age how one could live without a tv...but due to our short time stay in many places all over the world controlled us to buy only the bare necessary needs. So I don’t know which group is calling me....hehe...
    Seems like I heard Murgir Jhol just after a decade.... plain mangsho bhat....mangsher jhol...i boli....kintu murgir jhol term ta te e je akta odbhyut taste aar classiness ache just felt rightly....

  4. No more murghi for me, or at least I'm trying. I just had some after two weeks and found it rather impossible to eat after going through the fried outer portion. Too many hormones in it, I suspect, tho' I haven't given up eggs, though. I've decided to cut down on those too!

  5. now you have got me craving this murghi my dear! i only cook with organic free-range chicken and i have to say i can really taste the flavors right now.

  6. Murgir jhol for the Probashi soul... the lunch plate looked so tempting as I had my rooti borboti lunch at office

  7. i have seen maya...lil princess wth grt saree..i lov this chciken recipes...looks spicy n yummy..nice presentation too..

  8. wow....yummy and delicious chicken recipes!

  9. I too like to make an onion paste with roasted onions. I usually roast lot of onions, with some whole garam masala and sometimes tomatoes and make a paste of it. I store it small containers and freeze it or stays fresh up to 7-10 days in the fridge. I use it in almost all the gravies and salans.

    Murghi Ka Salan is making me hungry now.. :)

  10. what a lovely post! i like your murgir jhol with all the lovely spices, cinnamon, cloves peppercorns- and the addition of lime juice. would love some right now. i have seen Maya, she is so cute- my little cousin loves her (my cousin is also obsessed with wearing saris!). can you add a link to my name too, please, like Mona's? :) x shayma

  11. 1 tbsp per adult .. LOL. Eto bhalo lekho je ekta post baare baare eshe pori. Ar nijer post tule rakhi. :-)
    Ami Pogo r fan ... Maya ke dekhte hobe.

  12. Murgir Jhol is something my husband drools over! Ektu bhaat aar chicken'er jhol with some salad, funny I had it planned for tonight. I put lots of kancha lonka too!

    And thank you, BongMom, I now know who Maya is. But I'll never be a pretTy Indian princess 'coz I cannot wear a sari on my own. :-( Does making good chicken curry qualify to be one? :-)

  13. Indo

    We got cable recently, some deal that covers the phone, DSL and TV had us into it. But I am glad to have Food Network & HGTV back after so so long, though I can only watch snatches of them :-D


    Thank You :)


    It is good that you don't have a TV, there are better ways to spend time


    Whaaat, you turned into a vegetarian ?


    Free range organic chicken is expensive here, I get it exclusively for the girls. For us I usually get the Cornish which tastes really good or from the Middle Eastern grocers which might be free range but not organic


    Ruti-Borboti, e ki abostha.

    Subhie Arun



    Tnak You


    I do that too. I also freeze them in the ice tray and later take out the cubes and store them in a ziploc bag


    Did it :) Thanks for your beautiful curry


    Nijekei santana dichi ;-)


    I am very bad at wearing a sari too and I must be way older than you. So its ok, don't worry

  14. I remember the time when iused to watch cartoon together with Shyama and then whe she got bigger it stped to watching pop 20 in MTV, now she doesn't wathc any more that too as she dont like the pop scene.
    I think if i tell her to wear a sari she will rin a mile too.
    But i remember we three girls trying to wear moms saree when she was not home.
    I didn't know aobutMaya loved watching the video hi hi and loves how she say she is like a Egyptian Mummy.

  15. we love indian food!!but mostly its from the restaurants coz we always thought it takes soo much effort to cook indian cuisine...nice recipe btw..will try it :)

  16. I rarely watch Nick Jr with my son, but never came across Maya! That reminds my childhood where I tried to wrap a saree, but nowadays we find a pre-stiched saree for little gals!
    Murgh - hmm u make me hungry !

  17. No, just chickening out from the chicken!

  18. Oh that is such a cute cartoon!!!! :) "I'm an Indian princess, with a pretttty saarri!" Simply adorable!! :)

    Your chicken looks yummy!

  19. lunch prayashchitto...aaj rooti, dherosh, todka daal

  20. Sandeepa,
    ami kicho din agey eyiae bhabhchilaam je amaar meyen koto cartoon dekhe ,tai or jonno kicho crafts idea konjchilaam , glad ami eka noye in watching cartoon or having cable :)...ami Maya dekhi ni , amader eyikhane disney club nahole ceebbies like pbskids watch kora hoye daughter adores wearing saree , she keeps insisiting wrapping up my dupatta like a saree :)...
    murgir jhol hi boli , dekhe khide peye gelo and lunch time O hoyeche eyikhane..
    hugs and smiles

  21. I read this post with desi girl playing in the true for you! I have to watch Maya now coz my lil one who's not even a year old loves to dress up and will soon demand to be draped in something or the other!! I think I'm already a very bad mommy,blame sky for that package!! And the chicken is like I usually prepare's always nice to call it by an exotic sounding name!

  22. your oil measurement clarification is perfect..I also think that way, and add oil sometimes..Murgi ka salan to jive jal ene dilo...tomar post on Bong was just and laughed so perfectly explained and u r so being a bong always....I have some gifts for you in my Collect

  23. I don't know about this Maya...
    your chicken curry looks absolutely delicious, love that nice rich colour and the plate filled with the delectable spreads!!!

  24. Such a lovely clip! I used to watch Nickelodeon with my youngest son, who's now twenty, and we still remember some of the stuff we saw then.

  25. The plate is absolutel inviting. One of the best shots of yours. The grains of rice where nicely separate and will be perfect when mixed with the curry! I used to tie every single piece of cloth as a saree during my childood. Its sso funny that we want to becom an adult very fast we were kids and the vice versa when we become old ;)

  26. I love that dish! enjoyed the story too! I can relate! when my kids were little I was always torn between not wanting them to watch nick and being relieved that they were busy with it!

  27. I love watching Maya too.. My niece introduced me to the show..I find it addicting too...
    tempting presentation of salan!

  28. We were without cable for 3 years in Chennai when the SET top box fiasco started with only one city in the whole of India. So on principle we refused to sign up for the ruling party's set top box scheme and waited till the private entrants entered and it became mandatory for the whole country
    But while we did this on principle, never thought of doing it to be a good Mom ;) Kiddo sees about half an hour of CeeBeeBies before dinner and maybe a DVD on weekends. That way Delhi has so many things to do and so many friends her age she doesnt think too much about it - yet...

    This is a nice party dish methinks...will make it next time I have some people over

  29. Looks tasty, I haven't had breakfast yet... I would eat this for breakfast :P

  30. I watched the video you posted; it was so cute. I love her little tooth that sticks out from time to time. I love when they start incorporating other cultures into mainstream TV, too. ABOUT TIME! :)

    This murgh dish looks amazing. I must try this out.

  31. Thank you very much for this recipe. My husband made this dish for me and I fell in love with him all over again. :)

  32. I made this chicken-er jhol yesterday. Even though I dont eat chicken, I was able to make it very well using your recipe. Got lots of compliments - thanks so much.

    I had followed a few more of your recipes earlier. each was very good. thanks again.

    loved maya too. :)

  33. maya guess what i did,,
    made everything as you told , but put 2 table spoot of red chili man burnt whole my food, and my tongue.....

  34. going to try this tommorow, making it for my dad, hope he likes it :D thank you 4 sharing

  35. making this tomorrow for my dad, hope it goes well, thanku for sharing! :D


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