Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Murg Mughlai

Murg Mughlai, popularly known as Chicken Korma, is very much an Indian curry; though quite surprisingly, it stands out from the other blazing, fiery curries from India. Its roots can be traced back to the cooking techniques from Persia which became an integral part of Indian cuisine during the reign of the Mughal Empire. The meat is first braised (seared using high heat) and then slow cooked for long hours in a gravy to create an exotic curry.

As the name sounds, this dish befits to be served on a King's plate. It is royal with its rich, creamy, nutty flavours yet subtly spicy which is certainly deceived by its pale looks.

Personally, this dish is reminds me of my best friend Sanee. During our early days of cooking experiments before marriage, we learned to cook this, with help from her Mom over the telephone, who herself was an excellent cook. Though we have to admit that our first trial was an utter failure, we learned from our mistakes and have been improving on the dish ever since.


To marinate and braise
  • 1/2 kg boneless chicken thighs
  • 3 tsp ginger paste
  • 3 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp ghee/ clarified butter
For the Sauce/Gravy:
  • 2 tbsp ghee/ clarified butter 
  • 3 cups brown onions, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ginger paste
  • 3/4 tbsp garlic paste
  • 8 green chilly, whole
  • 1 aniseed
  • 8-10 small green cardamom pods
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 5 cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2-3 tbsp almond flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 - 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • a generous pinch of saffron
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup - 1 cup of hot water
  • sliced almonds to garnish
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced into half moons
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp raisins 
  • Slivered almond, to garnish
  • Coriander leaves, to garnish


1. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add a pinch of sugar and add the sliced onions. Fry the onions till they brown and caramelize. Remove onions and set aside.
2. Fry raisins in the same oil and set aside.

1. Sprinkle salt on the chicken pieces and rub in along with lemon juice. Combine the rest of the ingredients for the marinade and marinate the chicken and leave in refrigerator overnight or for at least 2 hours.
2. Grill chicken pieces on high for a few minutes until chicken is just done and brown on all sides. Baste chicken with ghee in between grilling and turn over the chicken pieces. Use 3 tbsp ghee for this.  

The Gravy
1. Heat 2 tbsp of ghee in a pan, add aniseed, cinnamon, cloves, green cardamoms and bay leaves and sauté. Add onions, green chili pepper and salt and sauté at medium heat till the onions starts to get light brown.
2. Add ginger paste, garlic paste  and sauté the onions at low to medium heat till oil separates. Add ½ cup of hot water and salt and bring it to a boil. Cook/simmer till the paste thickens a bit and there is no extra water floating on the top.
3. Add grilled chicken to the gravy and toss well to combine. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes.
4. Lower the heat and let the temperature of the pan come down a bit. Whisk the yogurt together with sugar and almond powder till smooth and creamy. Add this mixture to the gravy and let it simmer at low heat for about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of hot water and simmer it down to your desired consistency of the sauce, if required.
5. Add half of the caramelized onions (set aside some for garnish), heavy cream, saffron, white pepper powder and garam masala. Stir everything in, partially cover it and allow it to gently simmer at low – medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until you see a thin film of ghee appear as the top most layer above the sauce.

Garnish with slivered almonds, caramelized onions, raisins and coriander leaves. Serve hot with pulao or roti.