Murgh Dum Pukht (Simmered Indian Chicken Curry)
There is an old Indian saying that a good cook uses his spices similar to how a painter uses his colour palette. A little more of this and a little less of that do make a huge difference. The importance to know the correct blend of spices in a particular curry requires research, guidance and experience. Also, in Indian cooking, there is a special emphasis to the process called bhunno or bhoona. This is the process in which spices are added to the hot oil and cooked with the main ingredients until the raw taste and smell of the spices is gone and essential oils are released from each of the spices. This part of cooking requires careful control over the flame, as the amount of heat from time to time also determines the taste of the final dish.
Now let’s understand what the word dum means. Dum is a slow-cooking method practiced in India since time immemorial, but gained importance during the Mughal period, when dum aloo (potatoes simmered in gravy) and dum pukht (chicken simmered in gravy) dishes came into being. These dishes required patience and tasted amazingly delicious and succulent, owing to this cooking method. Actually, any dum curry tastes its best if cooked in a special vessel called hundi or handi, which is almost a ball-shaped utensil with and opening at the top. Appropriate amount of water is added along with other par-cooked or bhoonaingredients. The lid of the hundi is tightly sealed with wheat flour dough and cooked on charcoal fire. This is the traditional method.
Before proceeding with the recipe, there is a small request to all of my friends reading this. I am participating in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Foodie Blogs 2012. Please click on this button and vote for Cosmopolitan Currymania if you like my space. I am currently at #38. Thank you for your time. I truly appreciate it!
Back in my Mumbai home, I do have a beautiful hundi, but due to storage constraints in small kitchens in Hong Kong, I did not bring it here. So I decided to go on with a modern non-stick skillet with a proper-fitting lid. My dum pukht came out perfectly succulent and the taste of the spices reached the innermost layers of the chicken delicately. Do give this a try and you will fall in love with this scrumptious culinary obsession!
Murgh Dum Pukht (Simmered Indian Chicken Curry)
[Dum means to breathe and pukht means to cook. Please use chicken with bones for this recipe, since the juices from the bone marrow intensify the flavour of this dish.]
- Chicken (with bones, cut into medium-sized pieces): 1 kg
- Medium-sized purple onions (sliced): 3
- Hung curd (thick, unsweetened yogurt): 1 cup
- Ginger paste: 2 tbsp
- Garlic paste: 3 tbsp
- Red chilli powder: 1.5 tsp
- Almonds: 10
- Cashew nuts: 5
- Dried bay leaves: 2
- Green cardamon pods: 3
- Cloves: 5
- Black cardamom (big) pod: 1
- Whole peppercorns: 12
- Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
- Black pepper powder: ½ tsp
- Mace (optional): 2 blades
- Coriander leaves (paste): ¼ cup
- Red or green fresh chillies: 4
- Salt to taste: 1.5 tsp (plus extra 1 tsp for the gravy)
- Oil: 7 tbsp
- Ghee (Indian clarified butter): 1 tsp
- Water: 2 cups
Marinate the chicken overnight with yogurt, 1.5 tsp salt, ginger-garlic paste and red chilli powder. Heat 3 tbsp oil till it starts to smoke. Reduce the heat to medium and fry onions (cut lengthwise and thin) till these become golden brown. Remove the fried onions from oil, cool at room temperature and make a fine paste.
Soak the nuts in a little water (just enough to immerse them) overnight as well. Next morning, make a fine paste.
Heat the rest of the oil to its smoking point at then reduce the flame to medium once again. Add the dried bay leaves, green cardamon pods, cloves, black cardamom and whole peppercorns to this. After the bay leaves turn a little darker (not black, but dark brown), add the marinated chicken along with the marinade. Increase the flame to high and toss the chicken pieces continuously, so that the chicken becomes well-coated with the spices and the marinade becomes almost dry. This takes around 15 min.
Reduce the flame to medium now. Add the fried onion paste, mace (optional), turmeric powder, black pepper powder and the nut paste to the skillet and toss well for 15 min.
Add the coriander leaf paste and the red or green fresh chillies (whole) to this. Cook till the chicken is almost dry and oil starts leaving from the the spices and the chicken. Now is the time to add the ghee.
Add water and stir well. Check the salt and add more, if needed. Simmer the gas and put a well-fitting lid on the skillet. For best results, seal the edges with wheat flour dough to ensure that the steam can’t escape from the skillet. Let this cook on a low flame for 30 more minutes. This slow-cooking called dum is a great way to cook some of the popular Indian dishes such as this one!
May 18, 2012 @ 3:45 pm
I fall in love with your photographs a little more each time I see them
May 18, 2012 @ 3:50 pm
delicious!!!!!!!!!an amazing gravy….bookmarked.
May 18, 2012 @ 5:33 pm
What a beautiful recipe, so brilliantly described with exciting photos and all. I love the fried onions. You explained the bhoona technique. Marinating the chicken as you did is fabulous. I never have soaked nuts before, sounds like a good idea. When I see “dum” I am reminded of “slow cookers” or “crock pots” , those electric ceramic pota that have a low temperature and allow you to leave the cooking unattended for 6 hours or so.
Thank You, I learned a lot.
May 18, 2012 @ 6:15 pm
Wow…very tempting looking chicken…
May 19, 2012 @ 2:57 am
Tempting,delicious & looks divine!!
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Kit @ i-lostinausten
May 19, 2012 @ 8:09 am
These is so delicious & inviting! Love all your dishes that always make drool every time I droped by! Yummy post! 🙂
May 19, 2012 @ 10:40 am
It looks delicious n the pics made my mouth water
Inviting You For A Guest Post In My Blog
May 19, 2012 @ 11:39 am
I love all the flavors this dish has! That ingredient list certainly captures my attention. What a yummy sounding dish. I love that old Indian saying, how true!
May 20, 2012 @ 9:43 am
You sure made this dish look wonderful; lots of interesting ingredients. great photos.
May 20, 2012 @ 11:33 am
With all those spices in that scrumptious dish I’m sure it tastes as good as it looks ! Voted for you few days ago , it’s okay to vote everyday ? hahahaha Anyway , good luck !
May 20, 2012 @ 1:41 pm
So glad I found you ! I am originally from Glasgow, Scotland, now living in the USA. Believe it or not, I sooo miss my Indian/exotic foods from home ! Scotland and especially Glasgow, has such diverse cultures and my student days were all geared around which Indian restaurant would we visit for lunch/dinner or after the pubs closed…haha. I now live in a small town on the Chesapeake Bay, where the nearest Indian restaurant is over 60 miles away. I did learn to cook basic Indian dishes when I was at home, but supplies are hard to come by where I now live…I’m guessing somewhere on the Internet would sell the spices. It warms my heart to see such beautifully photographed dishes, and I thank you for that ! I will now be following you, and I voted for your site in the Circle of Moms Award…good luck !
May 20, 2012 @ 8:49 pm
I love all the spices! Delicousness!
May 21, 2012 @ 7:43 am
super yummy chicken…..
May 21, 2012 @ 10:39 am
Such a helpful post, and the food looks amazing. I love the tips on adding the spices. I beleive in using the best quality and freshest spices that I can afford! 🙂
May 21, 2012 @ 2:01 pm
Voted! You deserve to win with your super yummy recipes! This curry looks divine. I wish I had a handle on my spices like you do 🙂
Spice up the Curry
May 21, 2012 @ 2:43 pm
this dish looks so delicious. nice recipe
May 21, 2012 @ 3:21 pm
Wow I can’t resist can I grab one from the pic? Looks so delicious 🙂
May 21, 2012 @ 3:25 pm
Really interesting post! Thanks for the lesson on dum and pukht – good to know. And the recipe looks spectacular. I love the spices you’ve used! Really good stuff – thanks.
May 21, 2012 @ 5:39 pm
Happy to vote for you again.
May 22, 2012 @ 2:49 am
Purabi, the beautiful thing about your dishes is that they’re not only ART, they’re meant to be shared. (I always picture a family sitting down to eat when I look at your photos!) I also like that the flavor is infused so thoroughly. Such care!
May 22, 2012 @ 4:04 am
First time here , happy to follow you .
Love the chicken curry!
Check out my blog in ur spare time
Marina@Picnic at Marina
May 22, 2012 @ 4:28 am
Your chicken curry looks very good!
Gene Pool Diva
May 22, 2012 @ 5:53 am
How could I not follow a woman who spins curry into gold. Between your blog and Anthony’s I’ll be well fed indeed. Thanks for visiting.
May 22, 2012 @ 10:25 am
Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for your lovely comment on marriage. This is my first time here as well and I’m totally thrilled to have met you. I am a new follower, I hope you’ll return the love as well.
Love this recipe tons, anything with curry makes my heart race.
Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef
May 22, 2012 @ 12:43 pm
I just want to dip something in that sauce and put it in my mouth. Looks delicious.
May 22, 2012 @ 1:12 pm
I am following now as I was distracted by my kids. Thanks for letting me know I didn’t hit the follow button.
Lawyer Loves Lunch
May 22, 2012 @ 4:03 pm
Love the gorgeous color! I also really appreciated the explanation and terms, I’m hopeful they will bump my curry making skills to the next level 🙂
May 22, 2012 @ 4:42 pm
Thanks for visiting my blog Purabhi!! Your dishes too are mouthwatering! Shall browse through your blog! 🙂
May 22, 2012 @ 7:22 pm
I love the way you have described the cooking process. The chicken looks mouth watering. Would love that for dinner tonight.
May 22, 2012 @ 7:40 pm
Amazing chicken curry! So packed with flavors and you make it seems sooo easy! I love chicken (with bone).
May 22, 2012 @ 10:08 pm
I have been voting for you sweetie! This dish looks fantastic! It’s leaving me hungry! Have a fantastic week!
May 23, 2012 @ 2:51 am
Hi Purabi, your chicken dish look extremely good. Love all the spices that you used in this recipe. Thanks for sharing, I love anything spicy.
Have a nice day.
May 23, 2012 @ 10:27 am
Hi Purabi, what you say about the spices is the most difficult side of the Indian cuisine. There are so many of tjem one can use, but their combination is not accidental as some of us foreigners think and reflects the cook’s imagination but also taste and experience. I love your chicken curry. It looks so good all I want to do is run and buy some chicken for tonight’s dinner.
May 23, 2012 @ 11:02 am
Love the detailed post with proper explanations and tips on how to saute the masala. Very informative since many people try to take shortcuts in the “bhuno” process :D.
I have already voted for you. Best of luck!
Following you from now on 😀
denise @ singapore shiok
May 23, 2012 @ 11:48 am
Hi Purabi, thanks for visiting my blog – I just wanted to let you know that I will be launching my giveaway on 25 May Singapore time, and I really look forward to seeing your name on the list of participants 🙂
I was reading down the list of ingredients for your murgh dum pukht and I have to say, the flavour must be incredible! Totally agree on using bone in chicken for the best flavour! Btw, I noticed you are participating in the Circle of Moms blog competition and I am going to vote for you because I think your recipes are amazing!
May 23, 2012 @ 11:56 am
Mouthwatering curry! Voted for you – good luck!
Only Fish Recipes
May 23, 2012 @ 2:01 pm
drooling over the pics dear 🙂 the chicken curry looks absolutely delicious !!!!!
lisa is cooking
May 23, 2012 @ 2:10 pm
I love the comparison of a cook to an artist. So true. And, what a delicious curry. There’s so much great flavor here!
May 23, 2012 @ 5:51 pm
Flavorful delicious preparation…
May 24, 2012 @ 5:31 am
Nice flavorful chicken curry!!
August 20, 2018 @ 6:55 am
Purabi, nice recipe. I tried it, but reduced total cooking time to 30 minutes (10 minutes plus 5 minutes plus 15 minutes), instead of 60 minutes (15 minutes plus 15 minutes plus 30 minutes). This was just right – more time would have resulted in over cooking and the flesh would have come off the bone.
Do you have a good recipe for Handi Teetar (partridge)?