Mar 11, 2016

Murgh Shahjahani/ Chicken Shahjahani

Murgh Shahjahani...the name itself sounds so royal and transports you to the Shahi Mughal Era, it's history, art, culture, architecture and the rich culinary legacy they bequeathed to us. According to food historian  Salma Husain, there's more to Mughlai cuisine than the greasy mashup of masala and oil. She says in her recent book which is on Mughal emperors and their food habits that there was a subtelty to the cuisine which is missing in this age' s Mughal fare. Mughal cooking was a riot of colours and fragrances and her book gives an insight to how Mughal cooking evolved from Central Asian blandness to Indian richness. 

This delightful creamy Chicken dish is cooked with aromatic spices,cashew nut  paste ,yogurt and cream which give a nice smoothness to the rich gravy.Shahjahani is a method of cooking where the ingredients are simmered for a long time.This is a famous dish in Agra and every gourmet hotel and  every roadside stall in the gullies near the Taj Mahal offer this speciality and it's a hit.

The internet is full of Shahjahani Murgh recipes and every recipe is different from the other but cashewnuts and yogurt are a common ingredient in every recipe. Thankfully I have stuck to one of my favourite recipe book "Chicken Delight " compiled by the MasterChefs of India and this book has been a saviour since the year I got married. I have churned out succulent chicken tikkas to creamy curries for my guests from this book and the masterchefs have never let me down.

Though the recipe doesn't ask for marination,I personally prefer to marinate the raw chicken with masalas as marinating infuses the flavours and keeps the chicken moist while cooking.

1 kg Chicken,curry cut
5 tbsp Refine oil
2 Bayleaves/ Tej patta
3 (1cm) pcs Cinnamon/ Dalchini
8 Green Cardamoms / Choti Elaichi
2/3 Tsp Caraway Seeds/ ShahJeera
8 Cloves/ laung
1 C onion ,chopped
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Chilli powder
5 tsp Ginger paste
5 tsp Garlic paste
1/2 C Cashewnut Paste/ Kaju paste
 3/4 C Yoghurt ,whisked
1 C Hot Water
Salt to taste
2 1/2 tbsp Cream
3 Eggs ,boiled and quartered
1 1/2 tsp Black Cardamom/ Badi Elaichi Pwdr
A small bunch fresh coriander,chopped

  • Marinate the chicken with little turmeric,salt and chilli powder for half an hour.
  • Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pan over medium heat.
  • Add the Bayleaves,cinnamon sticks,green cardamoms,caraway seeds and cloves,sauté until the spices begin to crackle.
  • Add the chopped onions,turmeric and chilli powder,sauté for a minute.
  • Add the ginger garlic pastes,fry for 3-4 minutes till the raw smell goes away.
  • Now mix in the Cashewnut paste and sauté for  a minute.
  • Add the marinated chicken pieces and cook for 10-15 minutes on medium heat.
  • Pour in the whisked yoghurt with the hot water and salt( make sure you put only to cater for the masala as the chicken has already been marinated with the salt),cover and simmer for 10 -15 minutes
  •  more over low flame.
  • Finally when the chicken is cooked add the cream and black cardamom powder and mix.
  • Serve garnished with the eggs and chopped coriander.

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