I was slightly confused about how to translate ‘Dum’ to English. This is all about Bengali Murgir Dum or Bengali style slow-cooked chicken curry. I referred to who else but Colleen Taylor Sen and her book History of Food In India. Quoting her –
“One of the two best known contributions of Lucknow to Indian cuisine is Dum (Persian for steam) style of cooking. Dumpukht is a method of cooking a dish in a sealed pot. According to legend, in 1784 during terrible famine, Nawab Asaf UD Daula provided jobs for his people by building a great monument , the bura Imambar, in Lucknow. Every day, workers constructed it and every night, they tore it down. Their food was cooked in giant pots sealed with dough and kept warm in huge ovens. One day the nawab sampled the food and liked it so much that he adapted the oven for use at court banquets”
Bengali Murgir Dum for Blog to Plate
Madhushree and Debjani have planned for a pop up on 16th December. The first amongst many to come in the series Blog to Plate. Most of the times, the cooking capability of the bloggers are questioned and not enough tested. I clearly remember in one of the social gatherings at a restaurant launch, one of the well known home chef/ cooks of the city had said to the bloggers sitting on another table – ‘we are home chefs and you are bloggers’. Although I find the term ‘home chef’ quite derogatory for the real qualified chefs, it still makes me think who is a home chef. Isn’t a recipe blogger a home chef too? Let me know your thoughts on this.
What’s so special about Bengali Murgir Dum?
As the recipe is of Bengali Murgir Dum, so it’s mandatory to be cooked in earthenware. That’s what will be served in the pop up on the 16th. The topping to this would be the clay oven or an ‘unoon’ on which it will be cooked. Cooking in Earthen oven is one of the luxuries that we enjoy in winters. It brings back so many childhood memories. In case you want to check out the recipe of nonta pithe, then click here. While doing the recipe for this post, we cooked it over regular cooking gas. However, the one which is going to get served at the pop up would be made in an Earthern pot over a clay oven.
I was lucky enough to taste the first cut of murgir dum. It’s one of the most natural smoky flavours that I have tasted in any dish. Kolkata daal tadka brings in a similar kind of feeling. Bengali murgir dum is rustic, needs an overdose of onion and garlic and needs the spunk in liberal addition of green chilies. A classic slow cooking, if done on Unoon, will also make you realise how much of an effort goes behind cooking in rural remote areas.
This is quite a rustic dish
When I first tried Bengali Murgir Dum, I remembered the picnics that we used to have in winters in Chandannagore. There used to a certain simplicity to the dish with all-round full-bodied flavours. The same is with this Bengali murgir dum. It packs a strong punch of flavours and has a borderline rustic taste. The spices are more or less similar to a regular chicken curry with the addition of coconut and cashew paste. This has been adapted from Debjanir’s Desi Murgir Dum. A little bit of her style and a little bit of Madhushree’s style combined into this bombshell of a dish.
I am personally looking forward to the pop up to taste what Debjani cooks and she is doing Niramish Mangsho, kakrar jhal, chandana ilisher bhorta, taka luchi , bou khuda and some more. Madhushree is offering some of our home favourites like phulkopir roast, chingri makha, sorshe diye parshe machher jhaal, roshopuli and few others. If you are in Kolkata around that time, why don’t you join us? The details are all available in the facebook page – Blog to Plate by Madhushree and Debjani.
Are you following us on our youtube channel Cook with Pikturenama? Pls subscribe.
Do try this recipe and share your feedback. You can reach out to us at our social media handles: Instagram, Facebook or any of our personal Facebook (Madhushree and Anindya) and twitter profiles. Post a picture and tag us.
Bengali Murgir Dum / Bengali Slow cooked chicken curry
For the Marinade
- 1 kg Chicken curry cut
- 2 1/2 tbsp hung curd
- 2 tbsp Mustard Oil
- 2 tbsp Garlic Paste
- 2 tsp Ginger Paste
- 2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp bengali garam masala
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- Salt To Taste
- 2 nos dry kashmiri chilli
- 2 nos dry red chillies
- 3 tbsp fresh grated coconut
- 10 nos cashew
- 1 no large onion finely sliced
- 1/2 tbsp Mustard Oil
- 3 tbsp Mustard Oil
- 1 no bay leaf
- 1 no big cardamom
- 3 nos green cardamom
- 4 nos cloves
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 2 tsp Sugar
- 1 no large onion finely sliced
- 2 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
- 3 nos large potaoes halved
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 2 nos green chillies
- Salt To Taste
- 3 nos boiled eggs for garnish
- Wash the chicken and pat it dry. Then apply a marinade with the ingredients listed. Preferably keep it for at least 4 to 6 hours.
- Soak the dried red chilies (both varieties) in a bowl of warm water to soften them. In the meanwhile, dry roast the coconut and the cashews and then keep them aside.
- In a frying pan, take 1/2 tbsp of mustard oil and fry the onion for the spice paste. Once it is brown in colour, take it out and make a paste of this onion along with the cashew, coconut and soaked red chilies.
- Now for making the gravy, heat the rest of the mustard oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the halved potatoes and sprinkle them with turmeric powder and a little bit of salt. Lightly brown them and keep them aside.
- In the same oil, add the bay leaf, cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves. Then add the sliced onion and start frying over high heat. Add chopped green chilies for more heat. Add sugar and 1/2 tsp salt to caramelise the onions. While frying the onions, in a couple of minutes, also add the Kashmiri red chili powder.
- When the onions have fried nicely, add the spice paste and continue frying in medium heat. Wash the grinder of the spice paste with a little bit of water and add that water to the pan. Continue frying till it starts to release oil from the sides.
- Then add the chicken and fry over high heat to add some colour. Fry for about 6 to 8 minutes and then add the potatoes. Add 1/2 cup of water and fry over high heat for another 5 minutes.
- Then add another cup of water and stir around. Cover the pan and continue cooking over low flame. The chicken will release a lot of water. Let it continue to cook in its own juices for a half-hour, In between, of course, one needs to check if nothing is sticking to the bottom (which it usually doesn't).
- After half hour, if the chicken and the potatoes have not become tender, and the water has dried up, add half a cup of more water and cover and cook. Basically, you have to slow cook it over a low flame in a covered state till the chicken has become tender and the potatoes have become soft.
- Finally check the seasoning and take the chicken curry out in a serving bowl. Cut the boiled eggs in half and place them over the curry and serve it with steamed rice.