Food has always been my answer to difficult questions.
Couldn’t solve that math problem? Let’s solve it with a snack. Need to make new friends? Offer them my lunch. Have to make up to my cousins for being rude to them? Make them a spicy treat. College is depressing? Take my friends across the city for amazing street food. Heartbreak? Fill that void with desserts. Lost my way and need to find a new path in life? Go on a journey with the one thing I’ll always be passionate about. Food.
However, I haven’t found my footing in this journey yet. I have been fumbling around, wanting to find my own voice, my own style. I kept wondering whether my food journey should be about my discovery of exotic cuisines or my rediscovery of my roots.
I stayed away from the kitchen for a long time, trying to find answers. I was hoping these answers would tell me how to find my way back in life. That they would magically pull me out of depression and make things better. This time too, the answer was the same. It’s all about the joy of creating. Something that satisfies not just the stomach, but the soul too. The truth was simple. I had to stop hoping and just start doing things.
So, I made my way back to the kitchen armed with the happiest memories of my childhood. A table full of my favorite foods that mom would make on special occasions. In this blog, I’m going to be talking about making Murg Mussalam, a Mughlai dish that involves a whole roast chicken.
• 1 whole chicken. (approximately 900g to 1kg)
• 250g red onion
• 50g chicken or lamb mince
• 8-10 cloves of garlic
• 2 tablespoons of ginger garlic paste
• 1 teaspoon cumin powder
• 1 teaspoon coriander powder
• ½ teaspoon turmeric
• ½ teaspoon red chilli
• ½ teaspoon garam masala
• ½ cup of mixed nuts (cashews, raisins, almonds are a must)
• 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
• 1/3 cup of ghee
1. Slice the onions finely and fry them in the vegetable oil until they are slightly brown.
2. Mince the garlic finely and add it to the onion.
3. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for 2 minutes. Next, add all the spices and fry for 5 minutes.
4. Take your chicken or lamb mince and add it to the pan. Fry until golden brown.
5. Add the mixed nuts and dry fruits and fry for another 2-3 minutes. Your stuffing is ready now. Set some aside for the gravy.
6. Pat the chicken dry before you put the stuffing inside. Seal the opening to make sure the stuffing doesn’t fall out. Tie the legs together.
7. Rub salt and pepper all over the chicken.
8. Take a heavy bottomed pan and put the ghee in it. Make sure it is on low heat. Add the chicken to the pan and fry it for 7-8 minutes. Make sure there is a sear on both sides.
9. Add a cup of water and the rest of the stuffing to the pan. Cover it up and let it simmer for about 30 mins on low heat.
It might sound simple, but this recipe is a complete beast. After the chicken came out looking beautiful and all in one piece, I realised I love my mom so much more now for she had the patience to make this recipe for me. As I lay out this beautiful spread on the table, it did more than just remind me of my childhood. It made me proud of the person I have become today.
And all it took was the right plate of food.