I am one sick individual.


This means, I have ze hacking cough. And ze sniffles. And ze throaty husky croaky sexy voice which otherwise I cannot achieve apart from in my unmentionable dreams.

I am sick, I repeat.

So I made remedy.

In my life, my favorite cure from cold generally consists of a hot, steaming bowl of “murgir jhol” over a ridiculous amount of steamed, slightly overcooked white rice, along with a pat of butter and salt and a large green chilli which forms the first part of the meal. The “jhol” I savor afterwards has to have at least two pieces of potatoes because I like my starch with more starch and there should be exactly three pieces of chicken. One from the breast, one from the thigh, and one lovely piece of offal (liver, gizzard, brain, and we consider the neck to be another gorgeous piece of meat too and eat it with gusto as well… you know, I am a lover of those unmentionables).

I digress. 

I need to stop doing that. And stop playing with the underlines.

So, one very sniffly me will give you step by step method for the all-cure “jhol”. This is the way my mother makes it, and my grandmother used to make it before her. I am sharing with you a piece of my family history!

Be grateful now, and besides, its excellent for dipping breads innit.

Get yourself some skinned and jointed chicken. in my house we generally ask the chicken sellers to do the dirty work for us, however, if you are not so lucky, then I can suggest you joint a 1 kilo (give or take a hundred grams or so) chicken into 18-20 pieces, where you would be getting, 2 wings, 1 neck, 4 pieces from the thighs, 4 drumstick and 6 pieces from the breast and PLEASEFORGOD”SSAKE do not throw away any bones, including the spine, which adds to the dish by releasing all the chicken-y goodness into it.

No Skin included or allowed. It disrupts searing.

Wash it, clean it, and marinate it in the following – 1 tablespoon plain vineger, salt, red chilli powder (or hot paprika, which adds a lovely flavor) to taste, and no less than 1 teaspoon because under that you’re a wuss, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste, and 1/4 teaspoon cumin, which is totally optional. Rub this over the chicken and leave it alone for 30 minutes at least.

Chickens like serenity.

Heat up a large pan or kadai, with a heavy bottom.because you would be building up a dish there, and it will have to be heavy because some searing is involved. Now to the heat add about 45 ml, or 3 tablespoons’ worth mustard oil.

Yes, Mustard Oil. And for those who do not have it, you can use peanut oil or any other kind of white, non-flavored oil, but its JUST not the same as mustard oil.

Heat it till it is VERY HOT, or till it has stopped giving out the icky raw mustard oil smell.

Add 2 whole dried red chillies, 2 green cardamoms, 4 cloves, and a stick of cinnamon, all smashed with the back of your knife to release the essential oils within, and 2 bay leaves. Give it 20 seconds to merge before you add about 200 gms of chopped red onions, the more pungent the better.

Add a large pinch each of salt and sugar and lower the temperature. Let the onions cook down to beautiful softness, which would take about 10 minutes or so over a slow flame and gentle stirring every couple of minute or so. DO NOT let it out of your sight.

Again up the heat all the way to high, and introduce your chicken. Stir fry on high heat to sear the chicken and seal in all the juices which would help it cook down to a perfection later on.

Meanwhile, you can prepare the potatoes. Use about 250 gms of potatoes for every kilo of meat; however, this recipe is very forgiving and you can add as many or as less as you like. I like them mashed in my rice, so I will add as many as I can. Preferably peeled, cut in half and fried to golden happiness before I introduce them to my “jhol”. However, the frying part can be omitted.

As I said, very forgiving recipe here.

When the chicken has been frying for about four to five minutes on high flame, it is time for you to lower the temparature to a simmer, and then let the chicken sit for about three to four minutes.

This is important as the chicken would begin to release its juices, building the foundation for the gravy and also this will effectively help you scrape away all the beautiful bits which has been sitting pretty at the bottom of your vessel.

Then add 2 tomatoes (optional) chopped in eighths, and mix everything together, upping the heat again to medium high, and stir fry till the tomatoes melt slightly, about 4-5 minutes.

Add a generous pinch of salt, 400 ml or more water (preferably boiling) and the potatoes. Mix thoroughly, bring it all to a rolling boil and then make sure the potatoes are mostly submerged before you cover the vessel with a fitting lid.

Leave premises, and do not enter the kitchen the next 15 minutes at least, even if the world threatens to be over. Remove lid, and check the potatoes. They should be done by this time, unless you have selected HUGE ones. I insist you don’t.

Adjust salt and sugar. I don’t like sugar much in my food, so I did not add any. Eat. Be happy.

Written by Poorna Banerjee

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  1. panu 2012-02-04 at 9:34 pm Reply

    🙂 thank you! keep returning.

  2. liked your blog, impressed with the pictures, loved the recipes! keep blogging !!!

  3. panu 2012-02-03 at 8:47 am Reply

    Kuntala – 🙂

    Rahul – dont hate me.

    Santanu – Thank you. I will continue posting, so keep in touch.

  4. Santanu De 2012-01-30 at 8:11 am Reply

    Very old favorite of mine. Your recipe is also predictable. But, I must say the style of your blog, simple & lucid yet humorous, has completely bowled me over. I have actually breezed through the blog as if it's a pacy suspense thriller. This is my first time in your blog but certainly not going to be the last.

  5. Roadside Rendezvous 2012-01-29 at 6:34 am Reply

    there is nothing more soul comforting than a homely curry…. poorna… i hate u

  6. Kuntala Sengupta 2012-01-29 at 2:15 am Reply

    gawd poorna!!! amazin' 🙂

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