Chieftain’s Chicken Curry (Murg Sheora-Natwara – मुर्ग शेओरा-नटवारा)

I know that there is a very long list of ingredients here , but scroll down and you’ll see that long lists of ingredients don’t necessarily add up to complicated methods. Also, especially if you eat a lot of curry, the dry spices in particular are an investment, because they have a good shelf life (although the fresher the better) and they can be used in numerous dishes, not just Indian ones. The original recipe for this dish is in Pushpesh Pant’s book India Cookbook, and says to use tandoori chicken; you could make tandoori chicken and use that, but I’m afraid I was having a moment of laziness, and found that my way of using plain chicken with a little tandoori masala and tomato purèe works well enough not to exert myself.

The fresh herbs in this dish give it a wonderful vibrancy that complements the richness that comes from the use of yoghurt and tandoori masala.

Curry night

To serve 4, on its own with rice, or 6 if it’s part of a meal including other side dishes.

The ingredients:

Oil or Ghī (घी) – 1 teaspoon
Green cardamom (harī ilāyacī / हरी इलायची) – 4
Bay leaves (khāṛī pattē / खाड़ी पत्ते) – 4
Black peppercorns (kālī mirca / काली मिर्च) – 12
Onions (pyāza / प्याज़) – 2 / 3 depending on how big they are – fairly finely chopped
Garlic (Lahasuna / लहसुन) – 2 fat cloves, crushed
Ginger (adaraka / अदरक) – a piece the size of your thumb – peeled and grated
Green finger chillies (harī mirca / हरी मिर्च) – 2
Red birdseye chillies (lāla mirca / लाल मिर्च) – 2
Ground coriander (jamīna dhaniyā / जमीन धनिया) – 1 teaspoon
Tandoori masala (तंदूरी मसाला) – 1 heaped teaspoon
Ground nutmeg (bhūmi jāyaphala / भूमि जायफल) – ½ a teaspoon
Fresh coriander (tājā dhaniyā / ताजा धनिया) – a large handful, chopped
Fresh mint (tājā ṭakasāla / ताजा टकसाल) – a large handful, chopped
Skinless, boneless chicken breasts (murġ / मुर्ग़) – 5
Greek/natural yoghurt (Dahī / दही) – 250ml
Tomato purèe (ṭamāṭara pyūrī / टमाटर प्यूरी) – about ¼ of a tube
Salt (namaka / नमक) – to taste
Lemon (Nīmbū / नींबू) – to taste
Water (pānī / पानी) – a little at a time to create the consistency of sauce you want, I use about 150ml

The recipe:

  • Heat the oil or ghī in a large pan, over a medium heat, and add the cardamom, bay and peppercorns. 
  • Once these spices start to pop, add the onion, garlic, ginger and chillies, and fry until the onions are golden and have softened.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and let it simmer away for about an hour (if you’re impatient then it will be cooked through in about 20 minutes, but it tastes better if you give the flavours time to mingle).
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