Murgh Cholay is a delicious gravy preparation that combines two of the most popular Ingredients of Punjabi Cuisine- Chickpea and Chicken . The testimony to this fact are several classic Punjabi dishes that have remained popular through several generations and are made with these two ingredients.
Murgh Cholay is more of a Dhaba dish that survived the testing times of partition that this country was witness to in 1947. This should explain why it has a such a devoted fan base at both sides of border- Dhabas in Lahore and Amritsar are well known for their Murgh Cholay or Murgh Chaney preparations.
The past weekend went at a frenetic pace. While most weekends I like to be at my home in Pune and spend some time in my kitchen, cooking at a lazy pace, some of my favorite dishes that I get to cook only over a weekend but last weekend I was in Bangalore. Our friends Girish and Pooja were hosting a house-warming party. Now, this is where I am unappreciative of Queen’s tongue as I for the lack of better word in such situations. Our friends with humble Malayali origins, were actually hosting Ganesh Pooja and GrihaPravesh which have a religious overtures attached to it and the word housewarming does not do any justice to the ceremony. Hoping now that I have made myself amply clear and for want of a better word, I will again resort to using the same word-housewarming. So, as I stated earlier, we were invited to this ceremony and we couldn’t decline the invitation for two primary reasons. Firstly, we haven’t met them for more than two years now, and secondly I can never resist the temptation of a Malayali Vegetarian fare.
If you have ever met someone who frowns on mere mention of vegetarian food, then ask them to accompany you for a vegetarian Kerala feast. I am almost certain that they will come out of that feast stunned and satiated which is exactly how I feel every time I have their elaborate vegetarian meal.
I couldn’t get a day-off at my workplace which meant we only had a weekend to travel 850 kms, attend the ceremony and be back home for next day’s work. Nothing irks me more than early morning flights and if that was not enough, the new notification from airlines to report 2-3 hours early adds to these woes. Early morning flight meant I was left with the choice of binge watching Two and Half Men on Prime videos or a 2 hours’ sleep and I chose later one. With every inch of space on sale in flights under the garb of “special allowance”, the domestic flight is nightmarish with hardly any leg room. The only respite this time was the flight departed 15 mins earlier and reached 45 mins before the scheduled arrival and that meant we were successful in evading the Bangalore traffic by some handsome margin.
Our early morning joy was doubled when we reached their home and were treated to some exquisite Kerala Sambar, Idli and spicy coconut chutney. I absolutely adore home-made Sambar as it reaffirms my faith in home-made food and my stand that Pune’s popular food-joints have a long way to catch-up as far as their Sambar making skills are concerned.
The breakfast was a precursor to the lunch that was to follow. I am finding myself falling short of adjectives to describe the lunch that we had. I would avoid falling into the trap of adjectives that may be used to describe such meals and would rather describe it as a humbling experience. Every time when I had an opportunity to dine in with a Malayalee family relishing into some amazing (this is the only adjective that I will use) meals with them, I have left the room wiser, humbled and with a calm mind. One of the quotes that has remained with me all my life ever since I came across- “It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary”. This quote from ‘The alchemist’ makes me realize how simple things can be extra-ordinary and you must have a calm mind and be humbly rooted to appreciate its simplicity and its sheer beauty.
The ceremony was concluded in all the joy and happiness and we felt fortunate to be invited to take part in such a lovely and private function. It feels great when people want to share a part of their personal moments with you and make you feel special and cherished.
We are back in Pune now rejuvenated and excited to share more recipes with you lovely folks. With Holi around the corner, and in line with the age-old tradition, I am going to prepare a Non-vegetarian meal for the evening of Holi . I have planned to make this delicious Murgh Choley for these festivities.
Do try this delicious preparation and share your feedback with us in comment section below.
- 500 gms Chicken- cut into medium pieces, washed and cleaned
- ½ Cup=125 gms Garbanzo Beans-soaked in water for 4-6 hours
- 3-medium=150 gms Onions-sliced into lengths
- ½ Cup=100gms Curd
- 2-medium=125 gms Tomatoes-pureed
- 3 Green Chilies
- 1-inch Ginger root-juliennes
- 2-tbsp Fresh Coriander Leaves-chopped
- 1.5 inches Ginger root
- 8 Cloves of Garlic
- ¼th Cup Brown Onions
- 1-tsp unflavoured Tea Leaf
- ¼-th tsp Cloves
- ½-tsp Green Cardamom
- ¼-tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1-inch Cinnamon stick
- ¼-th tsp Turmeric Powder
- 2-tsp Lemon Juice
- 1-tsp Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
- ½-tsp Garam Masala Powder
- ½-tsp Coriander Powder
- We will start with marinating chicken pieces. In a large bowl, put chicken pieces. Put Turmeric Powder, Lemon Juice and Salt. Mix chicken pieces in this marinade.
- Marinate Chicken pieces for 15 mins.
- We will now cook Garbanzo Beans. We will make a spice bag. Take a muslin cloth. Put Tea Leaf, Bay Leaf, Cinnamon stick, Green Cardamom. Keep 4 Green Cardamom aside. Add Cloves and Whole Black Peppercorns. Tie into a spice bag. Keep this bag aside and take a pressure cooker.
- Put Garbanzo Beans in the pressure cooker. Add some Salt. Put spice bag and add water in cooker. I have added about
- /2 cups water. Cover and Pressure Cook on medium heat.
- Meanwhile, we will make a curd mixture. In a large bowl, put Curd. Add Red Chili Powder, Coriander Powder, Garam Masala Powder, Green Chilies. Add Ginger Juliennes and Brown Onions. Crush Brown
- Onions. Whisk Curd.
- Whisked Curd is ready. Keep it aside. Grind Ginger and Garlic into a fine paste. We have also pressure-cooked Garbanzo Beans for 10 mins on medium heat (3 whistles).
- In a large pan, put 2-tbsp Butter. Put marinated chicken in the pan and sear on high heat for 5 mins. Remove chicken pieces from the pan after 5 minutes.
- In the same pan, add 2-3 tbsp Ghee and let it melt. Add sliced Onions and fry for few mins. We have cooked Onions for 7 mins on high heat.
- Now, add Ginger Garlic paste and cook for 2-3 mins. We have cooked Ginger-Garlic paste for 2-3 mins.
- Now, add Tomato Puree. This is raw tomato puree and not blanched tomato puree. Blanched Tomato puree gets cooked earlier. Add some Salt to fasten the cooking of tomatoes. We have cooked Tomato puree for about 7-8 mins.
- Add curd mixture. Lower the heat before you add curd
- to the pan. Stir well on low heat. Add 2-3 Green Cardamom and mix. Add seared Chicken and mix well. Add cooked Garbanzo Beans and mix well (We have removed spice bag and drained excess water.)
- Add 3 cups of hot water and stir well. Allow the curry to boil on high heat. When curry begins to boil, add Salt to taste. Cover and cook on low heat.
- We have cooked Chicken for 25 mins on low heat. Add chopped Coriander leaves and turn off the heat.
- Dhaba Style Murgh Choley is ready and served. Serve Murgh Choley with some Parathas, Pooris.
Click to watch recipe video