Off late, I'm in a mood to explore Bengali Cuisine, the taste which remains close to our heart and tongue. :) This month I tried this dish couple of times already and it was an instant hit on the dinner table. It’s a classic Bengali flavored chicken curry called “Shorshe Murgi”. 'Murgi' means Chicken and 'Shorshe' is the Bengali term for Mustard seeds and one of the most important spices in any Indian kitchen. Along with mustard seeds, mustard oil always adds extra flavor to Bengali cooking. If you find some Indian looking for mustard oil in grocery store, he/she must be Bengali. :)
I tried many vegetables, fishes or egg with mustard sauce earlier and never thought this combination would come out best. It is quite well-known to many of us and I heard the name before. But honestly speaking, I had this dish first time and liked the zesty flavor of ground mustard paste, as well as spicy kicks of the hot green chilies. A perfect dish for those, who loves Bengali flavors.
The recipe is pretty easy. It uses both mustard and mustard seeds, so the dish has a strong smell. When you make the mustard paste or cook mustard, you should be little careful, as mustard paste could turn into bitter taste, if you ground it for a long or cook it for long time. Always add a pinch of salt and green chilies, when you ground it. If you can do perfect these two things, Shorshe Murgi is just heavenly with a bowl of steamed white rice. It has several different recipes but I am not sure which one is more authentic. I used the one which I felt easy and comfortable with our taste buds. Coming to the main part of the recipe.
Recipe of Shorshe Murgi : Chicken Cooked in Mustard Sauce : Serves 5
Chicken - 2 lbs around 1 kg cut into medium pieces.
Yogurt / Curd - 1/2 cup
Red Onion - 2 big (around 2 and 1/2 cups) ( finely chopped )
Ginger paste - 1 1/2 tbsp
Garlic paste - 2 tbsp
Kashmiri Red Chili powder - 1 1/2 tbsp
Red Chili powder - as per tolerance or optional
Cumin Powder - 1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Mustard Oil - 2 tbsp + 3 to 4 tbsp ( you can use white oil too in the place of mustard oil )
Sugar - 1 tsp
Yellow Mustard Seeds - 2 tbsp ( can use the black one or mixture of black and yellow too )
Green Chilies / Hot Green peppers - 1 + 7 to 8
1. Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces with kitchen towel.
2. Take a non reactive bowl, add chicken pieces to it, then add chopped onions, ginger paste, garlic paste, yogurt, cumin powder, turmeric powder, kashmiri red chili powder, red chili powder, salt and 2 tbsp of mustard oil.
3. Toss it and mix it nicely. Add 6 to 7 whole green chilies to the chicken. I use whole chilies, that only add flavor, if you want to make your Shorshe Murgi hot, can add slit green chilies too. Mix it well and let it rest for 3 to 4 hrs. I usually do overnight.
4. Add 2 tbsp of mustard seeds, one green chili and a pinch of salt to a blender and add half cup of water to it. Let it soak for 5 to 10 minutes, then make a paste. Do not over run the blender, the mustard could turn into bitter taste. It will take around 5 minutes. Once it is done, set it aside.
5. Take a big pan, add mustard oil. Once oil is hot, add the sugar and let it melt down.
6. Once sugar is caramelised, add the marinated chicken along with the marinade. Give some stirs and let it cook over medium flame. Chicken will release water, and it will be cooked by its own water. Stir occasionally.
7. Water will dry off within 15 to 20 minutes, and oil starts to separate from the spice mix in the pan.
8. Stir it to prevent sticking and scrape the bottom of the pan, if needed. Add mustard paste to the chicken. Stir everything in and mix well.
9. Add a cup of warm water and cover the pan with lid. Once chicken is well cooked, check the seasoning, add salt if needed. Check the desired consistency and turn off the gas.
10. Drizzle few drops of mustard oil and serve hot with rice or bread. Shorshe Murgi tastes best with steamed white rice.