Men Who Cook – Murgh Do Pyaza by Nazar Abbas
The fourth in our Men Who Cook series is a luxurious Chicken dish shared with us by Nazar Abbas. Originally from near Lucknow, Nazar’s Murgh Do Pyaza is infused with all the flavors one fantasizes about when one thinks of Lucknowi food.
After a few years in the corporate world, Nazar decided that a nine to five office job wasn’t for him. And so he went on to set up his own films production company, Freshly Ground Entertainment which keeps him very busy but doesn’t keep him away from his great passion for food. He’s been cooking since he was a young boy and can whip up an Awadhi feast like nobody’s business. He loves to experiment with different flavors and spices but seems to have a particular love for the cuisine of his home region and shares this love on his own blog called Bawarchi Tola.
Now for this dish, he highly recommends young country chicken and tells us that people often confuse the name of the dish Do Pyaza to mean ‘with two onions’ when what it really means is the addition of onions twice in the cooking process. We cooked this dish ourselves to rave reviews from a particularly tough audience and can vouch for the absolute deliciousness of it. Succulent chicken cooked just right, so beautifully flavored with oh so many lovely caramelized onions it just blows us away.
Murgh Do Pyaza
1 kg Chicken
400 gms (8-10 medium) Onions
15 gms (3 inch) Ginger
15 gms (10-12 cloves or 6-8 if large) Garlic
150 gms (2/3 cup) Yogurt
1/2 tsp Pepper powder
1 tsp Red Chili powder
2 tsp Coriander powder
1 piece Cinnamon
6 green Cardamons
150gm Ghee (Clarified Butter)
1/4 tsp Nutmeg and Mace powder
Salt to taste.
Clean and cut your chicken into 8 pieces. Grind the Garlic and Ginger into a fine paste and mix that paste into yogurt along with some salt. This is the marinade for the chicken. Add the chicken to the yogurt mix, stir, and let it marinate for at least an hour.
Meanwhile, finely slice half the onions and grind the other half of the onions and keep aside. Heat the ghee in a degchi (heavy bottomed pot ) and fry the sliced onions till golden brown and caramelized Remove them from the pan and in the ghee that remains in the pan, add the cloves, cinnamon, and green cardamons and saute for 2 minutes. When you can smell the fragrance of the spices, add the ground onion and fry to a light brown colour. Add the chili powder, pepper and coriander powder and stir. Finally add the chicken along with all the marinade, mix thoroughly, cover and cook till all the the moisture dries out. Once dried, remove the lid and continue cooking. Fry the chicken until fat appears on the sides and the chicken is browned. When the chicken pieces start to stick to the bottom, sprinkle some water and scrape the masala from the sides. Add 3/4 of the caramelized onion to the dish, add just enough water to make a thick gravy and cook until the chicken is tender. Stir through nutmeg and mace powder and serve garnished with the remaining caramelized onions.
Notes: It’s very important to saute the whole spices. And also, don’t leave your dish unattended on the stove. Sprinkle some water when it starts sticking to the bottom.