I don’t consider myself a cooking expert! I just try to learn from different people how they cook; what they cook; their process of cooking and obviously I try to learn from different books. My cooking journey started from watching my mom making food! We had a Joint family of more than 20 members in Kolkata and my Mom and Aunties used to cook for the entire family! They knew the magic of making amazingly tasty food sometimes with scarce resources. I still remember them making only 1 kg Chicken for the entire family which was balanced with the use of Potatoes and nobody complained about having only one piece of chicken! I consider my Mother as one of the major influencers in my life. She is my First Expert not only in terms of cooking but for each and every aspect of life! I learned from her how to enjoy life; how to manage in both scarce and excess resources and last but not the least how to be happy! This post is a bit special to me since it is not only about the signature Bengali Chicken Curry a.k.a Murgir Jhol (or Gorgore Laal Murgir Jhol) but also about her culinary skills. Maa never had Chicken as she always has a preference for Mutton but that never ever reflected in her cooking! She does not even taste while cooking Chicken but the end result is every time mind-blowing. I just don’t understand how she manages to cook properly without even tasted the curry but probably this is the specialty of mothers…. Experience speaks after all 🙂 It is her experience of cooking for more than 30 years that’s makes her My First Expert…….
Now you may ask why I named it as Robibarer Murgir Jhol a.k.a. Sunday Chicken Curry …. Reason is simple….Hubby is a fan of My Mom’s cooking especially Bengali style Mutton curry prepared by her. I’ve already given the recipe of the Mutton Version of this Meat Curry with Potato is equally tasty which is known as Kochi Pathar Jhol. In my place, I don’t have any option but to cook either Chicken or Mutton on Sundays since both Hubby and Baby need their portion of Runny meat curry along with Potatoes 🙄 . However, I prefer to cook Chicken than Mutton for the obvious reason of avoiding red meat given our steadily increasing weight !
I adopted this Murgir Jhol recipe from Maa with very minimal changes. Basically, Murgir Jhol is a light Chicken Curry prepared in almost all Bengali households and this Jhol is characterized by the runniness and red color of the gravy and presence of well-cooked potatoes in the Chicken Curry. I believe Bongs love the Potato than the meat and for us, this typical jhol is a comfort food that we cherish on lethargic Sundays 😀 . It is not typically spicy as compared to other Indian Chicken dishes but that does not reflect the color of the gravy which is as red as Laal Maas! To be precise this dish is an eye wash… it looks spicy but not actually spicy 😈 !
Using Deshi Chicken gives ultimate taste to this dish, however, I mostly use normal chicken. Now coming to my mother’s tips on Murgir Jhol; Maa opined that it is always better to cook at least 750g – 1 kg chicken to get the maximum taste instead of cooking smaller portions 😮 . I never saw Maa use a pressure cooker or Karhai to cook Chicken Curry; she always uses a typical deep bottomed pan known as “Dekchi” in Bengali for cooking Chicken. However, Maa does not use Kashmiri Red Chilli in her cooking but I prefer to use it since it is milder than normal Chilli powder and gives amazing color to the gravy and I don’t have a Deckchi available in my kitchen so I use my Futura utensil for cooking Murgir Jhol.
- Chicken: 1 kg (12-14 Pieces)
- Potato: 4 (each cut into 4 pieces)
- Curd: 200 g
- Onion: 3 (roughly chopped)
- Ginger Paste: ½ tbsp.
- Garlic Paste: 1 tbsp.
- Tomato: 2 (pureed)
- Cumin Seed: ½ Tsp.
- Cumin Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Coriander Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Turmeric Powder: 2 Tsp.
- Bengali Garam Masala Powder: 2 Tsp.
- Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder: 3 Tsp.
- Bay Leaf: 1-2
- Dry Red Chilli: 2
- Green Chilies: 2
- Sugar: 1 Tbsp.
- Salt to Taste
- Mustard Oil: 4 tbsp.
- Wash chicken pieces thoroughly and pat dry them and marinate with half of the Ginger paste, Garlic paste, half of the Cumin powder, Coriander powder, Turmeric Powder, pinch of salt, entire Curd and 1 tbsp. mustard oil for around 8 hours or overnight ( or at least for 3-4 hours).
- Take 3 tbsp. mustard oil in a deep pan and fry potatoes till those turn Golden Brown in color and keep those aside.
- Temper remaining oil with the bay leaf and dry Red Chillies and Cumin Seed.
- Add Sugar to the oil and cook till sugar caramelizes and add sliced onions and fry till onions turn translucent in color. This step is essential for giving the gravy a rich color.
- Now add remaining Ginger-Garlic Paste and fry for 2-3 minutes in low flame and add pureed tomato and again fry for 5 minutes.
- Add remaining Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder, Turmeric Powder, Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder and salt and fry for 4-5 minutes in low flame (can add 1-2 tbsp of water in between).
- Add Marinated Chicken pieces and cook for 10 minutes in low flame till oil separates and chicken start releasing own water.
- Simultaneously start boiling around 1.5-liter water in a bowl. And add boiling water to the chicken mixture.
- Add Whole Green Red Chillies in the gravy. Green Chilies will provide the gravy amazing flavor.
- Take one spoonful of gravy and check the spices and if required adjust them accordingly.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook on medium flame for around 10 minutes or till chicken soften completely.
- Add Garam Masala Powder and give the curry a mix.
- Switch off the flame and give Murgir Jhol 5 minutes of standing time.
- Serve Hot Murgir Jhol with Steamed Rice.
Disclaimer: Robibarer Murgir Jhol which is influenced by my mother’s cooking is my entry for the “My First Expert” Contest.