Food talk
Chandni chicken
Pushpesh Pant

Pushpesh PantSharad Purnima marks an important day in the Hindu calendar. It is the climax of a season renowned for festive celebrations and feasts. Before climate change had blighted our lives sharad ritu was the time of the year when the skies were azure and cloudless, sun was pleasantly warm with just a nip of approaching winter in mornings and evenings and no aid was required to stoke the appetite. In Jaipur, where we were recently on work, there was a time, we were told, when on this day a special meal was composed for the royal family when all the delicacies on the spread were white in complexion. This was presumably to match the mood of the moonlit night! The diners hosts and guests were attired in spotless soothing white finery. The recipe of Safed Murgh has been purloined from the Jaipur repertoire. To be honest we have tasted Sufiyana Murgh Qorma before in Hyderabad and Chandni Dum Murgh in Awadh but feel that both are more pretentious and, dare we add, artificial? Safed Murgh from the Pink City deserves to be better known. Also, it can be prepared with minimum fuss and is healthy to boot.

Safed Murgh


Chicken (medium sized, skin removed and jointed) 1

Curds (thick and not sour, whisked) 200 ml

Onions (peeled and sliced very fine) 200 g

Garlic-ginger paste 1 tbsp

Yellow chilly powder 1 tsp

Cumin powder 1 tsp

Coriander powder 2 tsp

White peppercorn powder tsp

Green cardamom pods 3-4

Bay leaf 1

Salt To taste

Oil cup

Lemon juice 1 tbsp


Wash and trim the chicken. Mix the garlic ginger paste and powdered spices along with salt to prepare a marinade. Apply this evenly to chicken pieces and let the murgh rest in this for two hours. Heat oil in a thick-bottomed pan. Put the bay leaf and green cardamom in it, when these change colour the sliced onions in it. Fry till translucent and light pink but not darkening. Add chicken along with the marinade. Stir for a minute then cover and cook on low medium heat till done to taste- stirring once or twice to ensure that it doesn't scald or stick to bottom. Sprinkle a few drops of water if necessary but no more. Sprinkle the lemon juice mix well and serve.