Doi Murgh
(Bengali Yogurt Chicken)

This dish is one of my absolute favorites from my Bengali heritage. Despite its provenance in India, the person who cooked the very best version I have ever tasted was my Welsh mother, who learned how to cook it on her visits to India as a newlywed.  It is simple and delicious, with steamed rice or Indian breads.

A bowl of Yogurt Chicken garnished with parsley and yogurt by Simon Majumdar

Doi Murgh (Bengali Yogurt Chicken) Recipe

(Serves About 4-6)

Ingredients

  • 1 x 3-4 lb. Chicken (Skinned and Broken Down into Segments – if you don’t want to do this, you can use bone in/skin off chicken thighs and drumsticks)

  • ½ Cup Whole Milk Yogurt

  • 1 Inch Fresh Ginger (Peeled and Finely Minced)

  • 3 Cloves Garlic (Finely Minced)

  • 3 Serrano Chili (Deseeded and Finely Minced)

  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin

  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander

  • 1 Teaspoon Turmeric

  • 1 Teaspoon Hot Red Chili Powder

  • 2 Teaspoon Salt

  • 2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

  • 4 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil (Traditionally, this would be Mustard Oil, but that can be hard to find and a challenging taste for those who have not been brought up on it. Vegetable oil works well.)

  • 4 Whole C1oves

  • 1 Teaspoon Whole Cumin Seeds

  • 1 Teaspoon Whole Fennel Seeds

  • 2 Bay Leaves

  • 2 Medium Dry Red Chili (I use Kashmiri Chili for the Color)

  • 4 Green Cardamom

  • 1 Large White Onion (Finely Sliced)

  • ¼ Cup Methi Leaf (aka Fenugreek Leaf - Optional)

  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala

  • ¼ Cup Cilantro Leaf (Finely Chopped)

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl.

  2. Add in the yogurt.

  3. Add in half of the ginger, garlic and serrano chili.

  4. Add in the teaspoons of cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chili powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper.

  5. Combine the mixture well so all of the chicken is coated with the yogurt and the spices.

  6. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Bring the chicken from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you are ready to cook it.

  7. When ready to cook, add the vegetable oil to a large saucepan.

  8. Bring to a gentle temperature and add the whole cloves, whole cumin seeds, whole fennel seeds, bay leaves, dried red chili and cardamom.

  9. Once the spices begin to pop, add the white onion.

  10. Season with a little salt and pepper, and allow the onion to cook for 3-4 minutes on a medium heat.

  11. Add the remaining half of the minced ginger, serrano chili and garlic.

  12. Combine well and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  13. If using, add the methi leaf to the pan.

  14. Add the chicken and all its marinade to the pan. Combine well with the onion mixture.

  15. Cover the pan and allow to cook for 5-6 minutes on a medium heat.

  16. Remove the cover and stir the chicken again.

  17. Add the water and combine well.

  18. Cover the pan and allow to cook for 10 minutes on a medium heat.

  19. Remove the lid and sprinkle in the garam masala.

  20. Allow the chicken to cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit – around 10 minutes or more – and until the sauce has reduced to the consistency you prefer.

  21. Check for seasoning and add more salt if needed for your taste.

  22. Sprinkle with cilantro leaf before serving.

  23. Serve with breads or steamed rice.