Thursday, September 02, 2010

Doi Murgi -- Dahi Murg

She wanted to make Dahi Murg today. From that Madhur Jaffrey book sitting on her dresser. The one she had checked out from the local library three months back and never renewed or returned.

The book was a treasure of good life made better with excellent food. She wished she had that kind of life, the kind spiced up with green mangoes sprinkled with red chili powder, the one rich and sensuous like the Chicken korma on Page 123, the flirty kind with a dance or two and spicy bazaar wale aloo on the side.

But no, here she was doing her second laundry of the day, while folding the first neatly. Then she had to clean the kitchen, the breakfast mess from morning and vacuum the family room. By 9 she had to be out to her job where all she did was sit in a small cubicle and enter data on a dumb screen. 8 hours of that sterile environment and her was numb by the time the clock said 5:30.

The only interesting part of the day was the half hour lunch break when she could sample Cathy's ravioli, Sujata's rawa idli and discuss Ingrid's non-existent love life. The days the girls praised her aloo-paratha or drooled over her butter chicken life seemed a lot better though. Her kohl bereft eyes shone as they praised her cooking prowess.

They would ask her the recipe in details. How many onion, chopped or sliced, paste or not, red or white... so many questions. She would preen secretly and patiently answer. Her voice glided from dull to sensuous while explaining the onion's color and shape. With a sparkle in her eye, she could go into details about how exactly the oil separating from the masala should look and what it meant to beat an egg white to stiffness.

Today though nothing like that happened. No one said a word about her aloo-gobi. Instead they praised the Swiss chocolates Ingrid's boyfriend had got. She finished her lunch in a short fifteen minute span and went back to sit in front of her screen. "No point talking to these girls and wasting time", she thought to herself . She would rather go home 15 minute early and start on that Dahi Murg.

It was almost dark by the time she returned home. After school, she had to take Nutan for karate and Rakesh for his ballet lessons. Everyday there was some chore or other to be done after work and finally when she could plonk herself on the couch with a cup of tea she would be totally out. Today she sat at her exact spot, her back resting against the arm rest, her feet stretched out, her fingers flipping through Jaffrey's "Climbing the Mango Trees". Yes, there was Dahi Murg, Chicken in a Yogurt Sauce on Page 134. She read and re-read the one page recipe, raising a eyebrow there, furrowing a forehead here.

"10 cloves of Garlic. Ahhh, now that sure is much. What was Madame Jaffrey thinking ?", she called out loud. The children used to such ramblings didn't turn a head and continued their work.

"Some Kasoori Methi would deepen the flavor in this dish, I am sure. And cashew paste, yes that would be perfect. I will see how Sujata will ignore my Dahi Murg tomorrow", she said with a steely determination in her voice.

She then flipped her phone and pulled up the Address Book.

D -- for Desi Khana...naah they don't do non-veg.

G -- Ghar ka Khana ...their aloo-gobi today was a total failure.

H -- Hardeb Home this was a guy who could deliver. His Shahi Egg Masala on Tuesday was so delicious that Cathy had asked in an incredulous voice " How can you cook such difficult dishes after a long day ?". She had smiled and doled out Cathy some more of the Masala.

She quickly pressed Hardeb's number. Hardeb on the other side was clearly pleased to hear his regular and connoisseur customer's voice.

"Dahi Murg? Sure Madam. Tomorrow by 8 we will deliver at your home", Hardeb's greasy voice said. "Yes, yes, Kasoori Methi and Cashew paste Madam. No, no Kari Patta.Sure Ma'm. Thank You Ma'm"

She took a deep breath. She could smell the slender sticks of cinnamon and the dark, rough, tiny peppercorns dancing in the hot oil. The Dahi Murg was going to be lovely. Hardeb had never failed her.

Tomorrow she would explain to Sujata what exactly needs to be done so that the Dahi, the Yogurt does not break in the gravy.


This is my entry for Of Chalks and Chopsticks hosted by Jaya @ Desi Soccer Mom and started by Aqua.

My Ma used to make a Doi Murgi -- a Chicken in yogurt sauce, long time back. Her recipe was based on the Doi Maach. I somehow never made it. Many years later I saw a Dahi Murg in Jaffrey's book which reminded me of my Ma's Doi Murgi. In between these episodes, Bong Working Mom had mentioned a Doi Murgi/Doi Chicken in her comments which I vaguely remembered.This recipe is an amalgamation of all the above recipes. I loved the addition of Kasoori Methi that BWM introduced and I really think it adds a wonderful flavor to this dish. You can skip Kasoori Methi and Cashew for Madhur Jaffrey's version.


Doi Murgi -- Chicken in Yogurt Sauce

What You Need

Chicken ~ 2lb--3 lb. I buy a whole small chicken which is almost 3lb, after removing skin etc. the weight would be around 2-2&1/2 lb I think.

I have given a range for the garlic, ginger etc. because I think it depends on individual taste. The original recipe suggests about 20 clove of garlic. Now my garlic cloves are much fatter than the ones I have seen in India so I think 4 fat ones is fine for me in this dish which has little gravy and in which I didn't feel the need of too much garlic. You are free to improvise.

For marinade

Ginger paste ~ 1 tbsp
Garlic paste ~ 1tsp
Corriander powder ~ 1 tsp
Cumin Powder ~ 1 tsp
Garam masala ~ 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder ~ 1/2 tsp
Yogurt ~ 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

For Gravy

Onion ~ 1&1/2 -- 2 cup of chopped red onion OR 1 large US size red onion
Garlic ~ 4-5 fat ones
Ginger ~ 1 heaped tbsp of chopped Ginger

Yogurt ~ 1 cup
Cashew ~ 1 tbsp

Kasoori Methi ~ 1/2-1 tbsp
Kashmiri Mirch ~ 1/4-1/2 tsp (depending on taste)
Red Chili Powder ~ depending on taste

For tempering

Cinnamon ~ 2" long & thin stick
Clove ~ 5
Cardamom ~ 5
Whole Black Peppercorn ~ 8-10

How I Did It

Marinate the chicken for 30mins to an hour with all ingredients listed under marinade.

Heat about 3 tbsp of Oil in a heavy bottomed pan or kadhai. Temper the Oil with
2" thin stick of Cinnamon,
5 Clove/Laung
5 Green Cardamom/Elaichi
8-10 Whole black Peppercorn

Add about 1&1/2 -- 2 cup of chopped red onion and fry the onion with 1/2 tsp of sugar till onion is soft and browned on the edges.

Make a paste of
4-5 fat cloves of garlic 1 heaped tbsp of fresh chopped & peeled ginger 2-3 green chili(optional) very little water

Add this paste to the pan and saute for 2 minutes, sprinkling water if necessary.

Add the chicken pieces shaking off any excess liquid and fry the chicken pieces till they are lightly browned. Let it cook uncovered at medium heat for the next 10 mins or so, with frequent stirring. You might need to add a tbsp of oil at this stage. This process of stirring and cooking 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.

Now add
1/2-1 tbsp of Kasoori Methi crushed between your palm
1/2 - 1 tsp of Kashmiri Mirch(or Red Chili Powder)
Saute for 1 more minute

Take the pan off heat and wait for a minute. Meanwhile prepare a smooth paste of 1 tbsp of cashew and 1 cup of thick Yogurt. If you are afraid of Yogurt tending to break, wait for the pan to cool a little before adding the yogurt. You can also add a pinch of flour to the yogurt.
Add this to the pan and mix with the chicken pieces so that all the pieces are uniformly coated.
Wait for maybe 1 more minute, to err on the side of caution, and then put the pan back on low heat.

Let it cook at low heat for 2 minutes. Now add about 1 cup of water, salt to taste, mix everything and let it come to a simmer at medium heat. Cover and cook till chicken is done.

Taste and adjust for seasonings. The gravy should not be too much but clinging to the chicken pieces. If you see gravy is watery reduce the gravy by removing cover and letting it simmer.
Serve with Rice or Roti.


  1. Loved that twist in the end. I was wondering if you were going to write something this time. The climax was as good as the suspense. Love the dahi murgh, though haven't made it at home.

    As to Madhur Jaffrey's CTMT, I reviewed it a few months ago and made the bazaarjaise aloo. They were good, but I am always skeptical of her other recipes. Either too much of garlic, or too little of the masalas. Did you detect the incestuous plot in that book?

  2. Haha.. I also want Hardeb's custom food delivery service! Hahaha.. Very good read!! :)

    This Dahi Murg sounds delicious. I don't know abt these celebrity chefs. Have only found Sanjeev Kapoor's old recipes reliably decent. Most others I have tried have been very unpredictable. Will check out Jaffrey sometime.

  3. AsadharoN bong mom, asadharoN....

  4. Here's a recipe for a much simpler Dahi Murgh from Pratibha Kaaran's book:

  5. Nice story... wonderfully narrated... with an unexpected twist in the tale.

  6. Jaya

    Thanks. I liked "Climbing the Mango Trees". No the plot was not in the book but I did borrow that book for 6+ months and wrote about it last year !!!!

    I have done a few of her chicken recipes and liked them so far. I work around the spices and adjust them.


    Thanks :) I mostly use a recipe as a framework and Jaffrey's have worked well that way. I mean the measures are not what I follow exactly but you know everyone has a different taste criteria so I figured I will adapt to my taste.


    Thank you




    That is nice


    Thanks :-)

  7. Sandeepa tomar story ta porte pore ashchhi...Apatoto dahi chicken taste kore gelam....darun....

  8. She is every woman. I am glad she did what she did at the end...

    Doi Chicken ta khub shundor making something with yogurt myself today - Rogan Josh.

  9. You should be a writer :-) and publsih your books.
    Curry looks really good.

  10. Sandeepa,
    Love the unusual twist at the end :-) chicken made anyway and that too any-day..
    hugs and smiles

  11. I just love ur stories...The twist at the end is just superb in this one !!


  12. i love the story and the universal feminine sentiment at the end, which brought the twist.the recipe goes fine with it.

  13. thats an unexpected twist at the end. dahi murgi looks very creamy.

  14. heh heh, what a delicious and wicked twist!

  15. Loved loved loved the twist in the end!

  16. Hardeb's greasy voice? I loved it, your story I mean, with the neat serves- you- right twist!

  17. oh yum! this is the perfect meal. i love chicken that is been prepared with yogurt - it's an awesome combination! a lovely post!

  18. Wow! looks scrumptious. I have a similar recipe

    I always wonder if its ever possible to give credit to an Indian recipe to any particular chef.I mean for example my mom would have tried endless chicken variations and recipe which are Indian based without no reference at all.And when I see similar recipes credited to a chef, I think well every other household in India has a recipe like that! or may even better. May I making sense? May be not. Just lets see you have a lovely blog :)

  19. {sorry for the typos }
    Wow! looks scrumptious :)

    I have a similar recipe but then not so similar I guess.

    I always wonder if its ever possible to give credit to an Indian recipe to any particular chef.I mean for example my mom would have tried endless chicken variations and recipes without no reference at all.And when I see similar recipes credited to a chef, I think ...well every other household in India has a recipe like that! or may be even better. M I making sense? May be not. Just lets say you have a lovely blog :)

  20. Love the Dahi Murg. Onekdin pawr ami abar blogging suru korlam. But tomar page pray roj e visit kori:)
    Ebar dekhchi ei recipe ta jaldi try korte hawbe!!

  21. Sandeepa, that was a real good story with a twist. I read it just after you had posted. I had to come back and congratulate you for it. Write more.

  22. Sandeepa, ashadharon....ami akhono hanshchhi tomar golper end ta pore.....Ami story ta porte porte bhabchi ki hobe ki hobe...but the end is too good...infact ei rokom character khujle ashe pashe thiki paoa jabe...You have a grt style of reading your write-ups...

    shedin porte parini time chhilona...bookmark kore rekhechhilam..pore porbo bole...don't want to miss your post any way....

  23. Love the ending :-)

    amra weekend e knacha aam lonka diye khelam !

    I find most of Madhur jaffrey's recipes good...doi murgi is something I haven't made in a lon glong time.

  24. lvoe the twist at the end. I had a prof who used to make this. it makes me want to make some right now.

  25. I just made it! and it's turned out D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S.

    Thank you for this lovely recipe. I'm gonna try out more :)

  26. i'm not being able to view the recipe.....

  27. plz share the recipe

  28. Bongmom's cookbook is not like your usual cookbook which you will pick up only when you would want to look up for a particular recipe. Its a book which you can keep reading and not get bored. Its like one of those novels which you can turn to when you long to read one and each time its as exciting as it was the first time you read it. Sandeepa and her short stories from her native land not only share some adventurous insights into hers and her families life but also reminds us of our roots and how at the mention of every street, landscape or food even will take you back on a journey of your own memories. You will not only love the recipes but will treasure this lovely piece of writing for an entire lifetime. Only downside it gets over too fast. This is a kind of book (mind you I am referring to it as a book because for me this is not just a regular cookbook) you would never get tired of reading nor tryin out each and every recipe given within...goodluck sandeepa for many such endeavours..I am giving 4 stars since the only thing lacking is a table of contents with page nos whoch sometimes comes in handy when you want to look for that particular recipe which you want to cook and not go through the entire book. But I forgive her since its her first and connecting to your readers at your very first attempt is almost impossible which she has done remarkably.

  29. This recipe is epic


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