Sharing food with friends and family is a blessing. The passion that I have for cooking is further enhanced by sharing my creations with friends, especially because I am away from my family. The love and togetherness that food brings cannot be brought about any other way, particularly in this blessed month of Ramazan.

I make friends very easily and I consider myself lucky to have Pakistani neighbors. In a short period of time we have become close friends. We often exchange our creations with each other. We have a one dish party every month. Knowing that there is going to be a get together, the foodie inside me starts to think about novel recipes that I can make to treat my friends. I wanted to try something new this time around and murgh mussalam was on my pending list for some time. I learnt how to make this dish from the late Chef Farah Jahanzeb, however this recipe does not solely belong to her. I explored several recipes online and came up with this version. I made it for the dinner get-together for my neighbor friends and everyone loved it.

Murgh mussalam is as rich and old as the nawabs (fuedal lords) of the Mughal era. Later generations altered the dish according to their own taste. Murgh mussalam is made with a whole chicken using authentic, freshly ground South Asian spices mixed with nuts, thus giving a scrumptious, rich texture and authentic aroma to the dish. What makes this dish so special is that spices are also filled inside the whole chicken. Once cooked, the chicken is served with a curry, making it flavorful inside out. The whole dish shouts luxury.

Ramazan is a month of sharing and what better way to share than place a rich and authentic dish on the Iftaar table for friends and family.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken (Whole) – 1, skin removed
  • Yogurt – 1 cup
  • Ginger garlic paste – 1 tablespoon
  • Lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
  • Salt- 1 teaspoon
  • Black pepper – 1 teaspoon
  • Red chili powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Green chilies – 2 – 3 finely chopped
  • Garam Masala – Cloves(4), Bari Elichi (black cardamom)(3), Cinnamon Sticks(1 small piece), Cumin and Coriander Seeds (1 teaspoon each), roasted together and ground into a fine powder
  • Almonds – 10 – 12 pieces, blanched and ground
  • Desiccated coconut – 1 teaspoon
  • Onion – 2 thinly sliced
  • Oil – ¼ cup
  • Preparation time : 15 minutes
  • Cooking time : 30 – 40 minutes
  • Number of servings (yield) : 4 – 5

Instructions:

  • In a bowl, marinate the chicken with yogurt, ginger garlic paste, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, and green chillies.
  • Apply the marinade evenly on the chicken all over, also make diagonal cut marks on the chicken for marinade to penetrate the chicken well.
  • Prepare freshly roasted and ground garam masala (hot spices) for the chicken filling. In a pan, add all the mentioned garam masala spices along with almonds and desiccated coconut. Fry until lightly roasted and an earthy aroma begins to rise. Let it cool for a while and then grind it into fine powder.
  • Fill the prepared garam masala inside the marinated chicken.
  • Let the chicken rest for at least 4 hours. For the best results, marinate it overnight.
  • For cooking the chicken, heat oil in a big pot and add sliced onions. Fry until light brown and crispy.
  • Add the marinated chicken into the fried onions and fry the chicken on both sides to give it a crispy look and crust.
  • Add the marinade into the chicken. After 15 minutes, turn the chicken upside down. Let it cook until the chicken is completely done.
  • Serve the chicken with masala on a platter of rice or with naan. Garnish with lemon wedges, fresh onion rings and tomatoes.

Fatima Ali

I am trained to be an IT professional. I served National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) for six years after graduating from the same university. As long as I can remember, cooking good food has been my passion and it makes me happy. My cooking lessons were a bit unusual though. Back in the day when digital did not mean much, my father would record cooking shows (knorr ka kitchen, kaukab khuwaja and Zee Khana Khazana – Chef Sanjeev Kapoor) for me to watch endless times later on, before trying the recipes out. I would make brownies and cold cake almost every day while my mother was asleep. This was my way of surprising her every evening. My mother cooks amazing food too and I have tried many of the recipes written in her recipe book. I draw inspiration from a number of chefs from televised cooking shows such as Late Chef Farah, Chef Rahat, Chef Mehboob, BBC Food, Masala TV, Chef Shai, Chef Sharmeen, Master Chef Australia and my ultimate favorite Chef Shireen Anwer. I would not be as good a cook I am now without passive guidance from each one of these.