We had ‘Murgir Jhol’ or Chicken Curry for lunch some days back on a Sunday lunch. This chicken curry is cooked in a very easy Bengali way; chicken cooked with big chunks of potatoes with mustard oil! This preparation is usually termed as the ‘Robibar er Murgir Laal Jhol’ (Sunday Special Bengali Chicken Curry) as it reminds me my childhood memories and almost a tradition to have an elaborate meal with the family on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
It’s not that it has to be a Sunday to love this ‘Murgir Jhol’. But in my childhood it was almost a customary to have ‘Murgir Jhol’ (Chicken Curry) or ‘Mangsher Jhol’ (Mutton Curry) on Sunday afternoon lunch. Those days the meals were of fewer option and simple; hot steaming white rice, the chicken or mutton curry, dal with some ‘bhaja’, ‘saker chorchori’ and usually a sweet pickel (chutney) to complete the meal. But the joy was in having the meal together, spending the time together, sharing little little stories at school …… it was more than food.
These types of ‘Jhol’ (soupy gravy) are kind of a weekly ritual of every Sunday, probably in every Bong kitchen! Why I call it Bengali Chicken Curry is because the spices I use and use of potato in the curry. Whenever I or Mom cooks this dish Baba always asks the question “Aloo dechho toh?” (Have you put potatoes?) Because more than the chicken the flavour of the potatoes in the curry is more… even it is better on next day. And the potatoes have to be of big chunks. I’ll be posting ‘Mangser Jhol’ or Bengali Mutton Curry soon in my Blog soon. Till then enjoy this ‘Robibarer Murgir Laal Jhol’ ….
For making the curry:
- Clean and wash the chicken pieces and drain the excess water. Now marinate the chicken pieces atleast for 2 hours with the ingredients mentioned under for marination.
- Now heat mustard oil in a heavy bottomed pan and fry the potatoes till golden brown and keep them aside.
- In the same oil add the ghee and splutter the whole garam masala (green cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaf) and fry till they exudes aroma.
- When they start to splutter add the finely chopped onion and some salt and sugar and cover the pan and simmer it to make the onion soft.
- When the onion will be soft and light pink in colour add the ginger paste and garlic paste and fry for 5 minutes with adding little water. Now add the marinated chicken and cover the pan and cook the chicken on medium heat for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes open the lid and higher the heat to evaporate all the water came out from the chicken. Add chopped tomato and mix very well.
- Add all the dry powder masalas except garam masla and sauté. Sauté the chicken with the masala till oil comes out from the masala.
- When oil starts coming from the masala add 2 cups of water in to the pan and place all the curry in a pressure cooker, add fried potatoes, green chillies and pressure cook with 2 whistles (I keep it on medium heat for 10-15 minutes). Let the pressure release of it’s own.
- If you do not have any Pressure Cooker, cook the chicken curry in the same pan where you stir fried the chicken with the spices. Add 2 cups of water to the pan and cook the chicken with an airtight lid on medium low heat for 15-20 minutes, till the chicken and potatoes are tender.
- When the pressure is released from the cooker open the lid, add chopped coriander leaf and garam masala powder and serve the “Robibarer Murgir Laal Jhol” with steamed rice.