Robibar-er Murgi-r Jhol: Sunday afternoon Chicken Curry

Chicken-Curry-Robibar er Murgir Jhol

 

We had Chicken Curry for dinner… In a very Bengali way… chicken with potatoes, cooked and marinated with mustard oil,  garnished with fresh cilantro from the back yard! The kind is usually termed as the Robibar er Murgir Jhol (Sunday Chicken Curry) as it is laden with memories and almost a tradition to have an elaborate meal with the family on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

 

 

There, it says it all!  Only it does not have to be Sunday to love this. The word elaborate holds a different meaning for me. It is not that the meal back home on the Sunday afternoons were ornamented. It was just the other way round – few and simple; hot steaming white rice, the chicken/mutton curry and usually a sweet chutney to complete the meal. It was elaborate because of the time we spent, the little details of conversations we shared. It was more than food.

This is my second time in this week that I made the curry. The first time I made it, my little one surprised us beyond words and sat for her meal for more than an hour to polish off three chicken drumsticks. She is 6, and a very picky and slow eater and this is the first time ever that I actually saw her eat a chicken curry with all her heart. It could be one of her phases, but I am not complaining. Two days later I made it again and I met with the same response from her.

Here I have to write what my dear friend (a very close friend from my school years) had to say when I shared the photograph in my FB account. I was surprised that the feelings could be so similar and thrilled how a simple comfort food can arouse such nostalgia.

Soma, your post makes me very homesick and miss Robibar er Murgir Jhol!! I thought this only happened in our house on Sundays; never realised other Bongs did too!!! The potatoes were the best bit of this dish followed by the jhol; the Murgi only added to the flavour. This is probably the only Indian dish my boys truly enjoy, especially the potatoes; Rajiv always wants two, just like I did as a child! I miss those days and those weekly rituals!! :-( ” (quoted with permission)

 

The memories for this recipe are very precious to me. It brings back a lot and more than my words can express. Every time I make this, I take a trip back home and so much is going on in my mind, yet I can think of nothing specific to mention.  I just see my maa with the long end of her saree tucked in her waist, occasionally loosening it to wipe her face, adjusting the pressure cooker while her thin gold bracelet would touch the cooker and softly jingle, or serving us food or her marinating and making the fresh pastes with the kitchen smelling of spices and mustard oil. I spent my day lingering in-front of the television or peeking in the kitchen waiting for lunch time. It was just another Sunday afternoon, but so special to me. And it makes me homesick. It is a recipe which holds a lofty place in my heart.

 

Chicken Curry - Robibar er Murgir Jhol

 

I have posted the mutton/goat curry (similar version as this one and we had that too on Sunday afternoons)  before as -  Mangshor Jhol - Bengali Mutton Curry. The term Jhol in Bengali is a generally used for a soupy curry made with meat/fish/egg or vegetables where the sauce can be easily ladled over some hot steaming rice or where any bread may be dunked in to easily soak in the flavorsome sauce.

This was a very unplanned post. I had posted the photograph of this Chicken Curry – straight off from the stove, in the eCurry Face Book Page . The requests for the recipe to be posted astounded me! So here it is with very mundane photographs which I managed to take right before I was serving dinner with the kids less than a foot away from me, impatiently waiting for meal to be served.


 

Chicken-Curry-3- Robibar er Murgir Jhol

 

 

Robibar er Murgi-r Jhol: Sunday afternoon Chicken Curry

 

 

Ingredients: (serves 4-6)

2.5 – 3 lbs chicken: skinned but with bones (I have used 6-7 medium sized drumsticks)

For marinade:

  1. 2 tablespoon lime juice
  2. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  3. 3/4 tablespoon red chili powder
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 3-4 tablespoon yogurt
  6. 1/2 tablespoon mustard oil
  7. 2 tablespoon grated/finely chopped onion

 

For the sauce/gravy/jhol:

  1. 6-7 tablespoon oil (do not cringe on this) – I have used pure virgin mustard oil, but you can use any oil if you do not want to use mustard oil
  2. 4 small green cardamom
  3. 2 cloves
  4. 2″ stick cinnamon
  5. about 8 peppercorn
  6. 1 tejpatta/Indian bay leaf
  7. 2- 2.5 cups (chopped/thinly sliced into half moon) red onions
  8. 1 teaspoon sugar
  9. 1.5 tablespoon garlic paste
  10. 2.5 inch knob of fresh ginger, grated or made into a paste
  11. 1  cup fresh grated/ finely chopped tomatoes, or 1.5 tablespoon tomato paste combined with 1/2 cup water
  12. 4 large potatoes, peeled and divided into 4 each (or more if they are larger) – you may use as many potatoes as you want
  13. 1 tablespoon red chili powder (or more or less to taste)
  14. 1/2 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon turmeric
  15. 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  16. 2 hot green chili peppers
  17. 2-4 cups of water (adjust to how soupy you want it to be)
  18. lemon juice and fresh coriander/cilantro to garnish and finish off

Notes: I have used Kashmiri Red Chili Powder here and also Tomato Paste (instead of fresh tomato). Both contributed to the red hue. If you are using any other kind, you might not have the curry colored this way, but it will still taste the same. Back home dry red chilli peppers were soaked and made into a paste and contributed to the lovely color.

The amount of oil seems to be a lot here, but please do not compromise on this. Along with the potatoes and a pot full of soupy sauce, it makes a pretty good amount and serves quite a few. So if that oil is divided between six servings, the oil is not really that much for a meal. And you do not have this everyday. If you are still thinking, you can remove the thin layer of oil it forms on the top after it is cooked.

 

Method:

Wash chicken well and pat dry. If the chicken are cut into bigger pieces (I have used drumsticks), make multiple slits into the flesh. Combine lemon juice, salt, turmeric and red chili powder and chicken in a zip lock bag (or in a non reactive bowl) and toss and rub well for the ingredients to stick to the chicken pieces. Allow it to sit for about 30 minutes. Add the yogurt, 1/2 tablespoon oil and the chopped/grated onion to the marinating chicken and rub them in well; allow to marinate for an hour or more.

Lightly crush/smash the peppercorn, clove, cardamom and cinnamon.

Peel and slice the potatoes. Sprinkle half teaspoon turmeric and some salt on them. Add 1/2 tablespoon oil in a pan , heat and add fry the potatoes until they start browning (golden brown) in spots. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add another  tablespoon of oil in the same pan and allow it to heat up.  Shake off the marinade from the chicken pieces and add them to the pan in a single layer. Cook on all sides until the chicken whitens and just starts to brown. It will take approximately 4-5 minutes. Remove and you can place it back in the marinade or in a different bowl.

Add the rest of the oil in the pan. Allow it to heat up and add the peppercorn, bay leaf, clove, cinnamon and cardamom. When they sizzle add the sliced/chopped onions and the teaspoon of sugar. Cook the onions until they start turning golden brown. Add the ginger paste/grated, garlic paste, salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder and the tomatoes. Toss and stir well; cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken, the marinade and the coriander powder and cook while occasionally stirring. This is the part that will take time, about 15 – 20 minutes. The chicken will be half cooked during this process and the spice mix will be cooked through (getting rid of the raw taste and smell). This process of slowly braising is called “Bhuna” in Hindi and “Koshano” in Bengali. Once you see the the oil separating from the sides of the pan and kind of rising up in bubbles on the top, you will know it is done.

Now if you are using a pressure cooker, transfer everything in the pan to the pressure cooker. Add the potatoes, green chili pepper and the water and close it. Cook for about 10-12 minutes. The potatoes should be cooked and the chicken should actually be falling off the bones. The cooking time will need to be adjusted as all cookers are different. My pressure cooker only hisses and I never time it. I just know when it is cooked. Call it the “gut feeling”. It might be bit of an experiment to get it right, but you will have to find the perfect time for it.

If you are not using a pressure cooker, add the water, green chili pepper and the potatoes in the same pan. Give it a good stir, cover it with a tight fitting lid and cook until potatoes are tender and the chicken is falling off the bones.

Drizzle some lemon/lime juice and garnish with fresh cilantro just before serving. Keep the chicken curry covered until just ready to serve. It will keep the meat tender and prevent them for drying out.

Serve with hot steamed rice or Naan or even Poori. The Sunday afternoon lunch consisted of rice and the chicken and some sweet chutney to end the meal. But if this is served as a dinner, it is mostly served with some sort of bread or pulao.

 

Preparation Time: 2 hours or overnight (Included marinating time)

Cooking Time: 1.5 hours

Serves: 4-6

Difficulty level : Moderate

 

Chicken-Curry-5- robibar er chicken curry

 

Related Posts:

Basic Easy Chicken Curry

Achaari Murg - Chicken Curry with Pickling Spices

Curried Chicken in Cilantro Chili Pepper Sauce

Bold flavors from Western Indian - Chicken Kolhapuri

Curried Chicken in Cardamom Infused Coconut Sauce


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33 comments to Robibar-er Murgi-r Jhol: Sunday afternoon Chicken Curry

  • A delicious dish! This curry looks lipsmackingly scrumptious. Love those exhilarating flavors.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • Love the presentation and yes it does bring back lots of memories :)

  • Zee

    Awesome! this curry is a favorite at our home too

  • Deepa

    Above all I love the caption :-) Ja ekta rong hoyeche na gravy tar …Nice clicks

  • Curry looks delicious.perfect for Sunday meal,..

  • What a wonderful journey. Though all the photographs are awesome, I’m floored with the simple pressure cooker shot where the jhol is coming through!!!

    Was shocked to see this post – have emailed you explaining the reason:)))

  • Delicious curry and lovely post!!loved the amazing clicks of your blog..I am learning from you, about food photograpy..Great blog you have!!

  • I have beenmaking so much chicken ( as the love it so it was almost every two days)as my nieces were here and after they left we have declared our home chickenless for a while so after this chickenless period is finished i am going to make this, but then with normal oil s mustard oil don’t think S and H will like it. It has to be good if the lil one ate 3 legs :-)

  • The chicken curry and the memories are so very delicious Soma. The Sunday chicken curry ritual was the same in my parents home as well.

    Thanks for the those memories and it has reminded me to make this dish very soon.

  • Poornima

    Oh what a lovely recipe! And the pics are not mundane at all. A must try dish this. Thanks for this.

  • Dew

    My mouth is watering Soma… it looooks so yummm!!! Oyi bronze thaala-e khete ki aanondo!!!

  • Beautiful setup. Love that textured feel to your photographs!

  • Dayeeta

    Chobi dekhe bhai,
    Jibhe elo jol,
    Bar bar porchi e post,
    Ki i ba kori bol?
    ………really brought back sunday memories from home….

    D

  • Wonderful, flavorful curry – and I love when food has the power to stir up memories and emotions and carry us back to another place. And now you have continued the chain with your daughter!

  • Yes, I can absolutely see spooning this sauce all over the rice, coating every grain. Or definitely dipping some hot bread in it. The color alone is sensational.

    My heart skips a bit every time I see a curry or stew where the meat is left on the bone. Nothing beats slow cooking (or pressure cooking) meat direct from the bone. I can only imagine how tender yours turned out!

  • So far I ate so many different type of chicken curry that i can’t even count in my fingers but this .. this one, I will always love the most. It’s just not the taste and simplicity that makes it so special but also the memories attached.
    We still have the same ritual followed at home and guess what it’s still my Dad who makes it most of the time :)
    Amar ekhon khete icche hoche!

  • That looks like a delicious dish..

  • As I’ve already told you,I love chicken-potato combo. Guess mustard oil makes all the difference here,just like coconut oil does with Kerala dishes :) We moms would do anything to make a picky eating kid’s stomach full,rt ? Hope you will make more of this for dear lil T and she feels stronger soon :)

  • Kaushiki

    Sunday afternoons for us included 3 items – shukto, Chicken/mutton curry and finally chatni (with or without Papad). I always requested for an extra ladle of curry along with one more potato piece which I took great care to finish off afterwards.

    Too many memories and your post refreshed them…lovely piece and as always great clicks!

  • [...] quills/sticks used doesn’t impart enough flavour. The recipe I very loosely based mine on is here. Their recipe sounds heavenly. Two of the problems I’ve had with trying to find an authentic [...]

  • It looks delicious and it’s a great Sunday meal for sure. I’ll ask my wife to try your recipe this week.

  • Pia

    eta to aamar murgir jhol – and a host of others’ who’ve grown up with it, i’m sure. more than the recipe, thanks for all the sundays you reminded me of, soma! the warm rice, mangsho and adda. my daughter loves this chicken too – just like she loves alu-shedhho bhaat :)

  • [...] adapted this recipe rather heavily from e-curry (a blog I can’t seem to stop reading), replacing tomato sauce with one made from carrots [...]

  • Ahmed

    Looks very yummy, definitely something to try. One question – I will be using a pressure cooker (PC). I am not exactly sure from which stage/step I should be using it. I know chicken takes only 10-15 minutes in PC, so I am guessing I will be using the marinated chicken and light brown them on the PC. Am I right?

    Yes you are right. You close the lid of the pressure cooker only when all the cooking/frying/browning is done. When all is done, add the water and close the lid of the cooker and cook until done. Or if you find it difficult to do the pre cooking inside the pressure cooker, you can do it in a different pan and then transfer everything to the pressure cooker, add water and cook. Hope this helps.

  • This recipe looks delicious. This brought back memories from when I was a kid and used to love sunday afternoons for all the delicious meals that were severed on that day. “Murgi-r Jhol” has always been one of my favorites. I make this sometimes but it never turns out the same like it used to when my mom made it when I was a kid! Great post!!

  • reema

    I tried the recipe and it was very mouthwatering…thnx for making my sunday special..

    Thank you!

  • Zoorkitty

    I had no idea Sunday chicken curry was such a Bong thing. You write like you we’re describing Sunday lunches in our home. I used call this Ma’s Chicken Curry – guess its Bengali Chicken Curry after all. Omg the eating of that last potato mashed with a dollop of jhol…

    :)

  • Sho

    Just made it! Although, I thought for the next time, I thought I could make the jhol a bit more makha-makhi (pasty) and add half the amount of water in the pressure cooker. Phataphati dish, otherwise! LOVE IT!

    yes makha makha would be good too :)

  • Suman

    I tried this yesterday and everyone loved it. I know I made lot of mistakes (took shortcuts) but still it was fantastic. Will try again in a few days and try to get it even better. Thanks for posting this.

    Thanks much for trying! This is a very forgiving recipe and since every family has different ways there can be no “mistakes” :) Glad that you liked it.

  • kousik mondal

    robibarer chekener cuyrry diye vaat khete darun lage. cheken holo amon jinis je besi khele o sorir kharap korena.

  • Sudipta

    A simple recipe and easy to cook. My family liked it very much. I could recommend this to any ameteurish cook!

  • Sudipta

    Simple recipe, loved it!

    Thank you!

  • Joy

    Durdanto preparation,amar bachhara just loved it.Thanks for the recipe

    Thank you! :)

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