Saturday, 9 April 2016

Murshidabad Murgir Korma Recipe / Chicken Korma ( Murshidabad Style ) Recipe / Poila Boishakh Special Recipes ~ Shubho Nobo Borsho

The day after the grand Ugadi celebrations and a whole week of feasting, one would have thought that everyone in the family would want to cool off their heels and also give the tummy the much required rest. But, my family, always supercharged, both in terms of activity and food is already ready for action and has by now expressed their desire to have a non-vegetarian lunch, as a week of savouring on vegetarian fare has given rise to their carnivorous appetite. I was sitting at the table sipping into my cup of ginger tea and contemplating what to cook, when the phone rang. It was my Ma calling and I was elated because not only would I get to pour my heart out to her, as I always do in each and every conversation, but also she would give me the idea of what to cook for lunch. The conversation started with Dia (as it always does ), Ugadi celebrations and then went on to Poila Boishakh ( Bengali New Year Celebration ) which is on the 15th of this month. 

Ma started telling me about how in her teens she had spent the Bengali New Year in one of her school friend's home in Murshidabad. The moment Ma said Murshidabad images of a place seeped in history, resplendent in culture flashed before my eyes. Sadly I have never had the opportunity of visiting this wonderful place, though I have had the good fortune of tasting its famous sweet Chana Bora or deep fried Cottage Cheese balls, drenched in a saccharine laced syrup. For those of you who are not familiar with Murshidabad, this historic city was the Capital of undivided Bengal (Bengal is located in the Eastern part of India and today it is divided into West Bengal and East Bengal or Bangladesh) until the ruling Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah was defeated by the British in the battle of Plassey in 1757. Murshidabad houses some brilliant architectural marvels and if you love to know about erstwhile towns and cities which thrived with magnificence, then Murshidabad should be on your Bucket list.

Murshidabad has a very interesting cuisine which is a result of different food styles converging to give rise to this delectable repertoire of dishes that are so unique to this place. Just like this Chicken Korma, whose recipe I am sharing with you in this post. The use of tamarind in a curry belonging to the region of Bengal is quite unique to Murshidabad, which grows a lot of tamarind and therefore uses it in many of their dishes. The lavish use of nuts, aromatics and brown onion paste in the gravy results in a texturally rich and flavour loaded gravy. So come with me and lets together cook up an immensely delicious Chicken Korma.




1) 1 Kg. Chicken, cut into medium sized pieces
2) 2 Tbsp Ghee / Clarified Butter
3) 100 Gms Raw Cashewnut 
4) 50 Gms Khus Khus / Poppy Seeds
5) 50 Gms Ginger and Garlic Paste
6) 400 Gms Onion
7) 4 Tbsp Tamarind Pulp
8) 10 ~ 15 Saffron Strands
9) 2 Tbsp Milk
10) 2 Tsp Kewra / Screw Pine Water or Rose Water (my addition)
11) 1 Tsp Nutmeg Powder (my addition)
12) 2 Green Chillies (my addition)
13) Salt to taste
14) 350 Ml Oil, (for deep frying the onions for brown onion paste)


1) 3~4 Bay Leaves
2) 2 Inch Cinnamon stick
3) 6~8 Green Cardamom
4) 2 Brown Cardamom
5) 6~8 Cloves
6) 2 Strands Mace



1) Wash the Chicken pieces. With a knife make slits on the chicken pieces randomly (doing this ensures that the masala goes into the chicken, making it more flavoursome.) Sprinkle 1 Tbsp Salt on the chicken pieces and rub the salt on the chicken pieces with your hand. Keep aside, covered, ready to use.

2) In a cup take milk. Warm the milk. Soak the saffron strands in the warm milk. Keep aside.

3) Slice the onions finely.
  • Take Oil in a frying pan or karahi. When piping hot add the onions.
  • Deep fry the Onion slices till golden brown.
  • Take out the fried onion slices on to a metal strainer. This drains the excess oil.
  • Transfer to an absorbent kitchen paper napkin on a plate, so that all the excess oil will get absorbed.
  • Take a grinder and transfer the fried onions into it from the plate.
  • Grind into a smooth paste using 1 Tbsp water. Keep the brown onion paste aside ready to use.
4) Soak the poppy seeds covered with hot water for 10 minutes. After the soaking time, strain the water using a strainer. In a grinder grind Poppy seeds, Cashewnuts, Green Chillies and 1/4th Tsp Salt.
  • Grind everything using 1~2 Tbsp water into a smooth paste.


1) Take a wok or Karahi. Add clarified butter or Ghee. When hot add all the whole spices.
  • Fry the whole spices in the oil till they change colour and become fragrant. (NOTE ~ At this point I remove all the whole spices from the oil as my family doesn't like to get them in their mouth with the gravy. You can leave them in if you wish. )
  • Add the ginger and garlic paste and fry them in the oil till fragrant.
  • Next add the poppy seeds and cashew nut paste and fry it along with the other masala for 2 minutes. 
  • Now add the brown onion paste. 
  • Mix well with the other masala in the karahi. Fry the paste mix in the karahi till specks of oil start to appear on the sides of the karahi.
2) Add tamarind pulp at this point. (NOTE ~ You can increase or decrease the amount of tamarind pulp from the quantity mentioned in the ingredients section , depending upon how sour your tamarind is.)
  • Fry everything for a minute.
  • Add the chicken pieces. 
  • Coat the chicken pieces nicely with all the spice pastes mix in the karahi.
  • Cook the Chicken with the masala for 2 minutes. 
3) Add salt and Nutmeg powder. Mix well. Add 1 Cup of water.
  • Cook the chicken covered till well done.
  • Add the saffron along with the milk and mix well.
  • Add the kewra or rose water. Mix well again.
  • Simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Once the gravy thickens, remove the karahi from the burner.
Your superlative Murshidabad Style Chicken Korma is ready. You can garnish it with pistachios and Almonds or serve it as it is. This has a unique taste which leaves an indelible imprint on your taste buds. 

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