Imagine a chicken dish that is packed with the flavours of one intense herb and one dominant spice that pair perfectly. That’s just what Elaichi Suva Murg, prepared with cardamoms and dill leaves, is. This dish appeals to both the Indian and Western palates, making it a perfect feast dish.
You might have tasted plenty of chicken curries in your lifetime as a non-vegetarian foodie, and each one must have come with its own flavour profiles and high points. Most chicken dishes prepared across India are, however, heavily spiced and dominated largely by spices like red chilli powder, garam masala, ghee roast masala, etc. Now, push the memories of those chicken dishes back and imagine this: A herb-packed chicken dish that sings with the flavour of one spice instead of a mix of many. Such a dish would be a flavour bomb, right? That’s precisely what Elaichi Suva Murg is.
Elaichi Suva Murg is basically a dish of Maharashtrian origin, a state where suva is available almost all-year through, especially in the hilli regions. Suva, also known as dill, is a herb that’s easily available across most parts of India during winters, and throughout the year in hilly regions. Dill looks like grass but tastes like anise and licorice. The flavour of this herb is quite intense, which is why when added to a chicken dish, it balances out with the meaty flavours quite well. On the other hand, elaichi or cardamom has a piney and menthol-like flavour which matches that of dill leaves brilliantly. Naturally, a combination of both cardamom and dill leaves in a chicken dish spells nothing short of perfection.
However, Elaichi Suva Murg, though delicious, can tend to be slightly astringent if not balanced properly. In fact, chicken, with its neutral flavours and salty undertones, does mellow down the intense flavour of cardamoms and dill leaves. To further ensure this balance, this recipe of Elaichi Suva Murg calls for the addition of fresh cream. This addition transforms Elaichi Suva Murg from a simple chicken curry to a highly sophisticated dish that also appeals to the Western palate. So, apart from having it with naan, rotis, rice or pulao, you can also serve Elaichi Suva Murg with bread rolls, brioche, sourdough and other bread varieties.
Image used for representative purpose. Image courtesy: Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi
500 g chicken, boneless
150 g dill leaves
2 onions, grated
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
3-4 green cardamoms
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp cardamom powder
½ cup curd
1 cup fresh cream
Salt, to taste
3 tbsp ghee
1. Marinate the chicken pieces in a large bowl with turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala, cardamom powder, curd and salt. The chicken should be marinated for an hour, not more.
2. Meanwhile, wash the dill leaves thoroughly, then chop them up finely. Set aside for later use.
3. Now, heat ghee in a large pan. Add the chicken pieces one by one, fry them on both sides until golden-brown, then remove.
4. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, garlic gloves and green cardamoms in the leftover ghee.
5. Add the grated onions and saute.
6. Once the onions turn brown and release their oil, add the fried chicken and leftover marinate.
7. Add the chopped dill leaves, cover and cook until both the herb and the chicken are thoroughly cooked.
8. Now, add the fresh cream, adjust the salt and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
9. Serve the Elaichi Suva Murg with rice, pulao, naan or rotis.