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Murgh Palau

by Monir Mohammed, Martin Gray from Mother India at Home: Recipes Pictures Stories

From Mother India at Home, this chicken curry recipe has a rich tomato base. Known as murgh palau, the chicken is seasoned with cinnamon, cloves and chillies.

From the book

Monir Mohammed, Martin Gray


40ml sunflower oil or light olive oil
1 whole medium/large chicken, cut into 8 pieces (skin removed, but keep the bones in)
1 small onion, finely sliced
3 cinnamon sticks
25 black peppercorns
4 black cardamom pods
12 cloves
3 green chillies, finely sliced
½ tbsp cumin seeds
4 cloves garlic, crushed
¾ x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
¼ tbsp red chilli powder
¾ tbsp salt
1l chicken stock or water
400g rice


To sear the chicken pieces, add a tablespoon of oil to a large pan and add the chicken pieces. Let them brown all over, being careful to not let them stick. This should take about 5—6 minutes. Remove them from the pan on to a plate.

Heat 25ml sunflower oil in a medium pan and add the onion. Cook gently for 1 minute, then add the cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, cardamoms, cloves and green chillies. Cook for 5 minutes, until the onions are golden, then add the cumin seeds. Cook, stirring, for a further 2 minutes, then add 100ml of hot water. Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes, then add the tinned tomatoes, chilli powder and salt.

Cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, then add the seared chicken pieces. Stir well, cover the pan with a lid, turn the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock or water, bring to the boil and add the rice. Start with a medium heat, but gently lower it every 5 minutes so the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan (you need less heat as the rice absorbs more water). After about 15 minutes the liquid should have been absorbed, and the rice should be 90 per cent cooked.

Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2, then cover the pan with tin foil and cook in the oven for a further 15 minutes, by which time the rice should be completely cooked.

Serve with kebabs and raita.

More Monir Mohammed recipes

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Layered Vegetable Biryani

by Monir Mohammed, Martin Gray from Mother India at Home


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