Murgh Musallam is a lavish Mughlai dish originating from the Indian subcontinent. Murg in Urdu means chicken and Musallam stand for whole or entire. Thus we cook Murgh Musallam with a whole chicken, cooked in spices. It consists of whole chicken marinated in a ginger-garlic paste and seasoned with spices like saffron, cinnamon, cloves, poppy seeds, cardamom and chilli. It is cooked dry or in sauce and decorated with almonds and silver leaves (vark).
The Arab Traveller Ibn Battuta first documented Murgh Musallam referring to it as a favored dish served at Sultanate of Delhi for a grand dinner hosted by Sultan Muhammad Bin Tughlaq (1325-1351 AD). In this dinner, there was a dish, which featured a roasted fowl served on a bed of ghee-cooked rice.
Today Murgh Musallam is a special chicken dish in India and Pakistan. There are several versions of Murgh Musallam in India at present. While some families and chefs follow the Mughal way of stuffing the chicken with minced meat and eggs, Awadhi cuisine enthusiasts go for a filling of nuts and Mewa.
- Chicken – 1 no. (1000 grams)
- Onion (sliced) – 1 no (150 grams)
- Yogurt (Curd) – 200 grams
- Ghee (Clarified Butter)- 6 tablespoons (90 grams)
- Garlic Paste – 1 tablespoon (15 grams)
- Ginger Paste – 1 tablespoon (15 grams)
- Green Chillies – 3 Nos (crushed)
- Poppy Seeds – 1 tablespoon (15 grams)
- Salt – To taste
For Dry Roasting
- Coriander seeds (dhaniya) – 1 tablespoon (15 grams)
- Aniseed (saunf) – 1 tablespoon (15 grams)
- Cumin seeds (jeera) – 1 tablespoon (15 grams)
- Gram Dal – 4 nos.
- Dry Red Chillies – 4 nos.
- White Cardamoms – 4 nos.
- Black Cardamoms – 2 nos.
- Cloves – 4 nos.
- Cinnamon Stick – 1 No.
- Whole Black Peppers – 1/2 tablespoon (7.5 grams)
- Coconut – 2-inch piece
- Almonds – 4 nos.
- Almonds – 2 nos. (chopped into slivers)
- Corriander leaves (cilantro) – few sprigs (chopped fine)
- Saffron – A pinch (soaked in a tablespoon of warm water)
- Onion – 1 small (cut into rings)
- Prepare poppy seed paste by soaking 15 grams poppy seeds in 30 ml water. Grind together in a mixer.
- Wash and clean the whole chicken. Do not cut into pieces. Keep aside.
- In a frying pan dry roast the mixture consisting of coriander seeds, aniseed, cumin seeds, roasted gram dal, dry red chillies, white Cardamoms, black cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon stick and whole black peppers.
- Separately roast the coconut pieces and almond cut into pieces. Then grind them together, and keep aside.
- Heat Ghee (3 tablespoons / 45 grams) in a large saucepan and brown the chicken on all sides. Remove and keep aside.
- Pour into the saucepan the remaining ghee (3 tablespoons / 45 grams). Fry onion slices till brown, add the dry roasted mixture that has been ground. Add the ginger-garlic paste and crushed green chillies. Fry for 5 minutes.
- Then put the chicken back into the saucepan, and let it get coated with the mixture mentioned above.
- After that, blend yogurt (curd) with 1 and 1/2 liter water and pour it into the pan together with salt. Cover with a tight lid and cook till liquid dries and chicken is tender.
- Just before serving add the saffron water and garnish with chopped almonds slivers, chopped coriander leaves and onion rings.