Monday, November 25, 2013

Nawabi Murgh

Nawabi Murgh 

Fit for a nawab indeed. A nawab is a royal prince. This was one of the first recipes that I had collected and have probably cooked it for many a lunch party of dinner party. Easy to make with a regal taste this one sure does make you feel like a Queen or King. There is the aromatic clarified butter , the regal cinnamon and nutmeg, the rich taste lend by the cashew buts, poppy seeds and coconuts and of course not to for get the beautiful work of ginger garlic and onion chili paste. Now finding its exact origin is difficult because such is the delightful taste and with so many former princely states of India many a  princely state has claimed the recipe to be theirs but I would say this is essentially a part of  Awadhi cuisine and so Uttar Pradesh which houses some of the greatest historical marvels of India is the state from where this amazingly delicious cuisine was born. I can well imagine the Nawab of Awadh enjoying a delightfully scrumptious meal of this decadent dish before a musical concert.

I did learn to better the recipe over the years by say marinating the chicken for 1 hour which helps aid in faster cooking and results in a tastier dish.

Here is what you need

750gm of chicken cut up in medium but towards the small pieces
100gm pure clarified butter /ghee
About 300gm of whipped curd (300gm after it is whipped)
2 heaped tsp ginger paste
2 heaped tsp garlic paste
200gm of smooth onion paste (I usually make the paste with 2 green chilies)
2 tablespoonful of poppy seeds soaked in milk for 1 hour
1 large bay leaf
1 half of a coconut grated (I used a total of a handful of grated coconut + about 1 tablespoon for garnishing)
50gm of cashew nuts soaked in milk
Milk to soak the poppy seeds and cashew nuts in.
1 stick of cinnamon (which should yield 1 to 1.5 tsp of powdered cinnamon)
Pinch of nutmeg
2 tsp black pepper
Pinch of garam masala
2 tablespoonful of cream (optional)

So start by first marinating the chicken in 1 tsp garlic and 1 tsp ginger paste along with a little salt and keep is aside. Soak the poppy seeds and cashew nuts in milk. Once soaked for an hour blend the poppy seeds and cashew nut in smooth pastes. Whip your curd as well. After an hour first heat about 50gm of the clarified butter and on high heat saute your chicken to seal the juice in for about 2 to 3 minutes . Stir to make sure it does not brown one bit. keep it aside . Add the rest of the clarified butter , fry the rest of the ginger garlic paste and then the onion paste along with the bay leaf  and crushed cinnamon and cook on medium heat stirring constantly to make a beautiful spicy mixture. It should be well cooked. Add the yogurt and bring to boil while stirring constantly. The constant stirring when curd is added makes sure that the curd does not separate. Now slowly add the poppy seed paste and the cashew nut paste. It will almost immediately thicken so make sure heat is on low . Add a little water to the bowls in which the poppy seed, yogurt and cashew nut has been kept to make sure you get all its goodness and then add the chicken pieces. Cover and cook for 15 minutes on low heat stirring from time to time to make sure nothing gets stuck at the bottom of the wok. Add the pinch of nutmeg and black pepper (optional) the grated coconut and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes till chicken is tender enough to melt in the mouth. I usually forgo the addition of cream in the end since the dish itself is so heavy and opt to garnish with grated coconut.

Serve hot with plain basmati rice or rice cooked with a stick of cinnamon and clarified butter.

Here is my recipe for a mild cinnamon rice which is the perfect base for this dish.

2 cups basmati rice
4 cups water
1 stick of cinnamon
2 tablespoonful of clarified butter

Wash the rice and then soak with 4 cups of water  for 15 minutes (soaking aids in faster cooking) then drain and reserve water. Add the ghee to the drained rice as this makes sure that each grain remains perfectly separated. Then add the water and rice and cinnamon stick and bring to boil. Cover and simmer till rice is done. Once done keep covered for 7 minutes to 10 minutes. Immediately transfer to a colander else the rice will take the shape of the container it is kept in and you can wave goodbye to the perfectly separated rice. Serve immediately with the chicken. Feel like a queen or king and enjoy your lunch or dinner :)

This is part of Kolkata Food Blogger's Kashmir to Kanyakumari Project

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