Methi Murgh (or Paneer even)
We recently had the supreme pleasure of visiting Gir and staying at The Gateway Hotel in Gir Forest. The Gateway Hotels & Resorts are part of the Taj Group of Hotels and like other Taj properties, the hospitality and food are quite something.
We met with Chef Jamal Sheik at the hotel and convinced him to share a recipe for Methi Murgh with us. And as kind as he was to share it with us, that’s how skeptical we were when we tried to create the recipe at home. The proportions read like they were meant for a much larger recipe. We were filled with doubt even as we went about testing the recipe. Half way through the recipe, we were a little concerned about how much chili powder there was. The fragrance got our hopes up but a little further in, we wondered how straining the gravy will effect the dish. But once we got through the straining, we were believers.The smooth, delicious, fragrant gravy of this Methi Murgh blew our minds. A new cooking method made the whole experience fun and the reward at the end was beyond measure. The final dish, served with plain steamed rice, was brilliant.
Vegetarians, don’t despair. We’re absolutely certain that the same gravy will work equally well with Paneer or even Potatoes so do try it.
500 g Chicken (bone-in)
200 g Charmagaz/Melon seeds, (Optional, we didn’t use them)
5-6 tbs Poppy seeds/Khas khas
1 cup/75 g Cashew nuts
2 small Onions
60ml/4 tbs Oil
2 tbs Fenugreek/Methi Seeds
4 tbs Coriander powder
2 – 2.5 tbs Yellow Chili powder (We didn’t use any and it tasted delicious even without)
1 – 2 tbs Red Chili powder (Less if you prefer it less fiery)
2 – 2.5 tbs Turmeric powder
1 heaping tbs Yogurt
1 pod Garlic
3 inch piece of Ginger
1 1/2 tsp Salt (or as per taste)
1-2 tbs Kasuri Methi
1 litre Water plus more for onions
Grind the ginger and garlic to a paste and set aside.
Roughly chop the onions and set aside.
Prep the chicken and set aside.
In a hot pan, dry roast the Charmagaz and Poppy seeds. Then add the cashew nuts and the roughly chopped onions to the roasted seeds. Add enough water to cover everything and stir and bring to a boil. Let everything simmer till the onions are cooked and there’s only a little water left. Grind everything into a paste.
Heat a very large, preferably non-stick pan, and add the oil to it. When the oil is nice and hot, add the Fenugreek seeds. Let them pop and then cook them on a medium flame for a few seconds till they start to turn a little darker.
Still on a medium flame, add all the spice powders – the coriander, chili, turmeric powders – and the salt. Stir well and do not be alarmed. It will look like a thick mass. Cook this well, for about 2-3 minutes, till you feel the spices have had a chance to roast a little.
Whisk the yogurt and add that along with the onion & nut paste and the ginger & garlic paste. Stir and add about a litre of water and bring to boil. Keep stirring to ensure all the lumps of the paste dissolve into the water. Turn down the flame, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. Keep checking and stirring so that nothing starts to burn.
After 45 minutes, take the gravy off the stove and let it cool a little. Strain this mix over a large pot using a fine mesh strainer. You will find the pot filling up with a beautiful, thick, smooth gravy. Pour this gravy back into your large pan and bring it to a boil. Add the chicken pieces (or paneer or potato for a vegetarian dish) and adjust the seasoning at this point if needed. Add the Kasuri Methi, stir well, cover and let everything simmer till the chicken is done.
Garnish with slivered ginger and coriander and serve hot with rice.
You’re going to love it!