To Hyderabadi Indians like myself, few things hit home better than Murgh ka Salan, or “Chicken Curry” to those not fluent in Urdu. It’s a common dish that you find both in restaurants and my parents’ kitchen. While the basic ingredients are quite straightforward, every family’s Salan tastes a little different.
Murgh ka Salan is relatively simple to cook yourself. I personally make this once a week and keep the leftovers for lunch the next day. It’s that good. Plus, it’s an easy dish to impress your friends with.
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 beefsteak tomato, diced
1 pound boneless chicken, cut into chunks
½ teaspoon garlic, minced
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander powder
⅓ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon whole milk yogurt
1 cup rice
2 ½ cups water
To make the rice:
Measure out 1 cup of rice into a saucepan. Wash your rice by soaking it in the water, swirling out the starches and emptying the water. Repeat this step with a new cup of water three or four times. Then add 2 cups of water to the saucepan, a few drops of your preferred cooking oil, a dash of salt and cook it on high.
After the water in the saucepan has reached the level of the rice, turn the stove down to low and cover with a lid. Keep the cover on until water has completely boiled off.
To make the masala:
In a separate bowl, mix the cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder and salt together. Keep this bowl handy.
To make the chicken:
Coat the bottom of the second saucepan with a thin layer of your preferred cooking oil. Add the chopped onions and turn the stove to high. Saute the onions until they start to turn a golden brown.
Once the onions start to brown, add the diced tomatoes and cook them until they begin to become mushy. Then, add the masala mixture and minced garlic. Fold these into the tomatoes and once everything is mixed together, add the yogurt. To make sure it doesn’t curdle, add ½ cup of water to the saucepan.
Last, add the chicken and cook for about 10 minutes, or until most of the water has boiled off and the masala starts to thicken.
Traditionally, Murgh ka Salan is served with roti or naan, but I like to save space while eating at my desk so I just serve it over a bed of rice. I personally love the taste of cumin and coriander powder so I add a lot of both spices, but feel free to adjust the ratio of the spices in your masala to make the recipe individual to you.
Email Yusuf Husain at [email protected]