Makai Murgh

makai2I love Indian cooking. When I was in Bulgaria a few years back, I got a WhatsApp from Lara: “Miss you, daddy. Missing your carries” (sic). Yes, I also love the taste, love my spices and love my chilies. But that’s not why I love Indian cooking. I love it for its profound intelligence.

When I bumped into the fantastic Indian cookbook I use, Sanjeev Kapoor’s “Mastering the Art of Indian Cooking”, I tried a few recipes and were absolutely astounded by the techniques and the flavours that he creates.

What was most astounding was how little spice they actually use, how they layer their flavours and how combining “flavour a” with “flavour b” creates a completely new and incredible flavour.

Makai Murgh is an interesting chicken curry – a boneless chicken curry with corn in a spicy tomato sauce.

What I love about this chicken curry is the use of the corn – which sweetens and thickens the tomato sauce and the flavour of the green peppers, which just works well with the spices and the sweet and tanginess of the sauce.

So, perhaps restrain yourself from dashing some Cartwrights Curry powder into a pot with some chicken and taters and calling it chicken curry, and make this Makai Murgh. You will not be disappointed.


150 gr (1 c) Fresh or drained canned corn kernels
5 ml (1 teasp) Cumin seeds
5 – 6 Black peppercorns, whole
5 ml (1 teasp) Coriander seeds
3 Cloves, whole
4 Medium chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
125 gr (½ c) Plain yoghurt, whisked
5 ml (1 teasp) Salt
5 ml (1 teasp) Red chilli powder
2.5ml (½ teasp) Ground turmeric
7.5ml (1½ teasp) Vegetable oil
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
2½ cm Ginger, chopped
3 Medium tomatoes, pureed
2 Medium bell peppers, peeled, seeded and chopped
30 ml (2 tblsp) Fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Put ½ cup of the corn in a mini food processor and process to a paste.
  2. Place a medium non-stick saute pan over medium heat.  Let it heat for 2 min, add the cumin, peppercorns, coriander and cloves.  Dry roast for 3 min or until fragrant.  Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool.  Lightly crush in a mortar with a pestle.
  3. Cut the chicken into 1 cm pieces and put them in a bowl.  Add the yoghurt, salt, chilli powder and turmeric , stir well.  Set aside to marinate for 15 min.
  4. Place a medium non-stick saucepan over medium heat and add the oil.  When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan add the garlic and ginger, saute for 1 min.
  5. Add the corn kernels and the corn paste, stir.
  6. Add ½ cup of water and bring to a boil.  Add the crushed spices and stir.  Add the tomatoes and simmer for 3 – 4 minutes.
  7. Add the chicken and stir.  Simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken is almost done.
  8. Add the bell pepper, salt and cilantro.  Stir and cook for 1 min.

Source:  Mastering the Art of Indian Cooking by Sanjeev Kapoor




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