This recipe is created for the Northern Indian Curry Link Party March Challenge, via Lin’s Recipes.
Sali Murgh! Northern Indian (Parsi) chicken dish with tomato and lots of tasty spices, and topped with sali (crispy thin potato sticks).
Hey, I found a recipe which specifically calls for dark meat chicken (and it isn’t just wings)!
This dish is a Parsi dish — the Parsi are a people in northern India who follow, or who are closely associated with, the Zoroastrian religion. They fled from Persia (Iran) in the 8th to 10th century to enclaves in northern India, in order to practice their religion safely.
This recipe was awesome! My taste buds are still exploding with happiness! I’m using as my main inspiration recipe, this one: Recipe Sali Murghi. I did add some black pepper (to bring out the synergistic health benefits of turmeric).
Murgh (or murghi) is the word for chicken. Sali refers to potato sticks (or straws) that are added over the top when the dish is ready to serve.
Prep Station. Clockwise from lower left, and spiraling in: chili pepper, onion, chicken, sea salt, turmeric, tomato puree, kala jeera seeds, garum masala, ginger paste, cooking pot with oil in it, garlic paste, potatoes.
First up, simmer onion, jeera/cumin seed, garlic and ginger paste, to release flavors.
The tomato homes on in! Trick — thicker than tomato sauce, much thinner than paste. You can also do this from fresh tomatoes, but this is NOT the time of year around here to find edible fresh tomatoes!
Garum marsala, turmeric, a little ground black pepper, and the chili pepper appeared in here before the chicken. BUT NOW: Add the de-skinned chicken bits. Make certain everything is coated with the sauce. Note the yellow turmeric effect.
Frying up some sali from scratch. Whatever you use, use an oil that can stand high heat. When some browning occurs, flip these sticks over.
Captured crispy potato sticks (sali, er, potato lachchas) for our upcoming meal. Drain them on paper towels. Sprinkle with a little salt.
Prep Time: 20 minutes, not counting sali prep time which you can do during cook time (10 more minutes)
Cook Time: 10 minutes for onions etc, 5 minutes for tomato etc, 40-45 minutes for chicken. (say, an hour).
Rest Time: Not really
- 3 tablespoons oil or ghee
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1.5 tablespoons jeera / zeera seeds, whole. Cumin seed is essentially the same thing, so substitute if you need. (My jeera seeds are a lot smaller than my cumin seeds — from the same packager — but the taste is similar.)
- 2 teaspoons garlic paste – I kinda went a little heavy…
- 2 teaspoons ginger paste
- 1.5 cups of tomato puree (thicker than tomato sauce, thinner than paste)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon (or to taste) of ground black pepper.
- 1 green chili, chopped. Seeded or unseeded at your preference.
- 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
- 6-8 pieces of chicken: Either three-four full legs, broken into drumstick and thigh, skin and excess fat removed. Or, skinless, boneless chicken thighs. (I went with the former)
- Salt, to taste.
- Water to nearly cover
- Toppings: Sali (which are deep fried potato lachchas, or thin julienned “sticks).
- Frying oil for the sali.
- 2 potatoes, skinned and julienned thinly.
- A little more salt as needed (for the sali)
- Optional topping: fresh cilantro (coriander leaves)
Prep everything up – you can wait to prep the potatoes until when the chicken is actually cooking, as it won’t take long.
In a large pot, add the oil. Heat to medium high, and when ripples form, add the onion and jeera/cumin seeds. Add the garlic and ginger pastes. Allow the onion to turn at least translucent, and the cumin seeds to roast, about 10 minutes or so.
Add the tomato puree, and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally (reduce heat!)
Then, add the turmeric, garam masala, and the green chili. Cook another few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Now add the chicken, making sure all pieces are coated in the sauce, and add salt.
Add water to nearly cover the chicken.
Cover, and simmer for 30 – 45 minutes. (30 if the pieces of chicken are boneless, up to 45 if the bone-in pieces are large) This is done when the meat begins to fall off the bone.
While this is cooking, make the sali:
Julienne strips of peeled potato (I used Yukon golds yet again) to thin. I used my mandoline, but you can use a dedicated julienner, or patient knife skills.
Add high heat tolerant oil to a pot — I used grapeseed oil. Wait until it gets fully hot — flick a drop of water in, and watch the reaction.
Then, add the potato sticks, and unless you have a wide pot for cooking them in, divide up the amounts added — you may have to do this two or three times.
Every minute or half minute, flip the potato sticks in the cooking oil, over and around. Allow them to brown but not blacken or burn. Remove and drain on a paper towel, scattering a little salt above them. Make as many batches as you need.
Since I was not going to eat all my Sali Murgh in one sitting, I reserved the other potato for frying up when next I need the sali/fried lachchas! I’d want them to be crisp, which I suspect won’t happen if stored after frying, in the fridge. (PS, in Indian markets you can also buy the potato lachchas / sali pre-made in bags, kind of like buying potato chips. I opted not to go that route, once I found out that they were easy to make.)
When the chicken is finished:
Reserve one thigh and one drumstick per serving, and when you plate up your dish or bowl for these individual servings, top with the crispy sali, and with the optional cilantro.
EXCELLENT! I’ve never encountered this dish in an Indian restaurant to date, to my regret. I think I may leave all the seeds in the green chili the next time I make it — the dish still had some heat without having all of them, but I can tolerate and enjoy a bit more. (Your mileage may vary.)
I plan to put this dish on rotation here at home. I simply love this Northern Indian Curry Link Party March Challenge, and the ideas for new dishes these people inspire me to try!