A royal sojourn

Working a 9 am to 6 pm job is not an easy task. It becomes a little difficult to find a balance between work and personal life. But I’ve somehow managed to enjoy life amidst the chaos, thanks to my love for cooking and my pet Muffin.

I have always been fascinated with cooking ever since I can remember. I thank my mother for bringing out the passion I have now to create some interesting recipes and satisfy my cravings. I still remember the first day I stepped into the kitchen and cooked. I made ‘daal’ which was absolutely inedible! But those days are far behind
me now.

My interest in cooking started growing when I was in college and had to cook for myself everyday. As I’m from West Bengal, I started experimenting with certain ingredients and would cook something for the day. When I moved to Bengaluru 5 years ago, I found it very difficult to find the necessary ingredients. However, over the years, that has changed and we have access to everything now.

I grew up watching my mother cook traditional Bengali dishes. I missed that when I came here, especially the fish preparations like ‘illish macher paturi’ (steamed Hilsa fish). But I started finding alternatives and learned how to make other traditional dishes as well. I even delved into learning something new for my pet! She loves the bacon cake and peanut ice creams I make now.

I remember when I first started cooking, I wouldn’t care much about how tasty the dish would be. My husband (then boyfriend) would be kind enough to compliment me on my cooking, but I would always wonder if the compliments were genuine. However, that confidence slowly started building when my college friends started requesting for various preparations. And once I started working, I would get special requests from my colleagues for the potluck sessions as well. I’m proud to say that my husband has been my support system and encourages my passion. I hope to turn this passion into a career very soon.

Meanwhile, I’m happy to share my recipes on my blog Bong’s Kitchen Melody. The recipe that I’m sharing today is of Murg Mussalam. It’s a rather simple recipe that anyone can try at home and enjoy with some hot ‘roti’, ‘paratha’ or rice.

 It is a rich dish with a whole chicken marinated and stuffed with eggs, prepared with spices like saffron, cinnamon, cloves, poppy seeds, cardamom and chilli. It is decorated with almonds and silver leaves and is considered a gourmet Mughlai dish.

Monomita Das (As told to Anila Kurian)


Murg mussalam
Ingredients
n Whole chicken, 1 kg (try   getting a small chicken within 1 to 1.2 kg)
n Onions, 4 to 5 medium-sized
n Oil, 1 cup
n Whole black pepper, 1 tsp
n Shahi garam masala
powder
n Keora water
n Milk powder, 10 gms
n Dates, 5 to 6 pieces
(optional)
n Whole elaichi, 4 to 5
n Boiled egg, 1
n Salt to taste
n Sugar to taste

For the stuffing paste
n Poppy seeds, 50 gms
n Melon seeds, 50 gms
n Ginger garlic paste
n Cashew nuts, 8 to 10
n Grated coconut, 3 tsps
n Ghee, 4 to 5 spoons

For marination
n Hung curd, 1 cup
n Turmeric powder, 1 tsp
n Chilli powder, 1 tsp
n Raw papaya paste
(optional)

Method
For marination
n Clean the whole chicken and pat dry.
n Apply raw papaya paste, turmeric powder, salt, hung curd, chilli powder and ginger garlic paste and set it to rest for 1 hour.

For the stuffing paste
n Pour ghee and oil in a pan, cut onions into thin slices and fry till it’s brown.
n Remove the extra oil and keep 2 tsps of oil in the kadhai. Now put all the stuffing paste ingredients and fry lightly.
n In a blender, grind the onion fry and stuffing paste ingredients with a little water. The consistency should be slightly thick but not runny.
n Put this mixture inside the chicken cavity and massage the remaining paste over
the chicken.

Final procedure
n Take a big skillet to fit the chicken. Add oil and ghee, crushed elaichi and then the stuffed chicken.
n Add the whole pepper and powdered milk.
n Once done, add the garam masala.
n Keep it at low heat and cook for 50 minutes. Turn the chicken in between.
n Garnish with the egg
and serve with ‘paratha’,
‘roti’ or rice.

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