Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Murshidabad Cuisine - From the Kingdom of Murshid Quli Khan !

The heroics of Nawab Murshid Quli Khan and how in 1704 the nawab changed the seat of power from Dhaka to this district on the banks of the river Ganges is a tale etched in history. Even after the fall off Bengal to the British, Murshidabad still held on.

Murshad Quli Khan aide to  Emperor Aurangzeb is the true founder of this ancient district. The Murshidabad Palace among many other royal buildings from this era still stand tall and is a magnificient piece of Italian architecture known from its times.

The cuisine of Murshidabad is distinct. The royal cuisine of the nawabs and the delicacies of Bengal have amalgamated over the centuries to a truly rich heritage cuisine with amazing earthy flavors. The influence of the Mughals can be distinctly seen in the preparation of mutton in Murshidabad. The cuisine also show glimpses how the expensive and rich ingredients used by the Mughals were toned down and improvised by the natives of this land in a cost effective fashion resulting in what surfaced as the delectable Murshidabadi cuisine. We see succulent potatoes in the meat curries, there is abundant milk used in sweets, the nuts have got replaced at places with poppy seeds and all this without diminishing the heavenly taste and aromas of the food. Traditional desserts were basically prepared with the pastes of jaggery and sugar. The usage of milk has been gradually increased along with cream sugar and expensive spices like saffron and cardamom. Murshidabad is also known for its mangoes, litchis and silk. 

This amazing cuisine from a glorious era includes; Tikia, Jhal Tengra, Dar Chini Gosht, Dhuki Haser Gosht, Tok Murgi, Murgir Korma, Shiraji Murgir Goleya, Oal Korma, Tostori Mocha, Lal Bagh Mushur Dal, Murshidabad Murgir Biryani, Seekh Kebab, Badi Pholodi, Kolayar Dal, Chitua, Shiraj Porota, Chana Boda, Chanar Polao, Poshto Halwa. Some recipes are as below :

Tok Murgi (  Serves Four )

Chicken ( Cut into small pcs.)  01 kg.
Onion Sliced                           300 gms
Mustard Oil                            50 ml
Jeera Powder                         20 gms
Dhaniya Powder                     20 gms
Haldi Powder                          10 gms
Red Chilli Powder                  10 gms
Green Chilli Slit                     04 nos.
Tamarind Pulp                        100 gms
Ginger Garlic Paste               50 gms
Salt                                          To taste
Whole Garam Masala           25 gms

Preparation :

In a thick bottomed vessel, pour the mustard oil, garam masala add onion, sauté till golden brown.
Add the chicken and sear for 05 mins. Add ginger garlic paste and powdered spices along with the pulp. Cover with lid and allow to cook till tender. Put green chilli slice and salt to taste. Sprinkle with chopped coriander before serving.

Postor Halwa ( Serves Four )

Khus Khus                              01 kg
Khoya                                     100 gms
Milk                                        150 gms
Sugar                                      250 gms
Cardamom                              04 nos.
Saffron                                    01 gm
Ghee                                       200 gms
Preparation :

Take a vessel, put the ghee, add green cardamom. Now add khus khus paste. Saute it till the raw smell of khus khus disappears. Gradually add milk and khoya along with the sugar syrup. Cook till the ghee leaves the sides of the vessel. Garnish with saffron.

Tikia ( Serves Four ) 

Lamb Minced                                       500 gms
Ginger & Garlic Paste                           50 gms
Chopped Onion                                    100 gms
Matar Dal ( Dried Peas); Soaked and Ground   100 gms
Chopped Green Chillies                        25 gms
Raw Papaya Paste                                50 gms
Salt                                                      to taste
Ghee                                                    To Shallow Fry

Preparation :

Mix all the ingredients and keep it aside for atleast 02 hrs.
Divide the mixture into 20 roundels. Flatten them with wet hands and shallow fry in desi ghee.

Murshidabad Murgir Korma ( Serves Four )

Chicken ( Cut into small pcs.)               01 kg.
Tamarind Pulp                                      200 ml
Brown Onion Paste                              200 gms
Cashewnut Paste                                  100 gms
Poppy Seed Paste                                50 gms
Ginger & Garlic Paste                           50 gms
Salt                                                      To taste
Ghee                                                     200 ml
Whole Garam Masala                           30 gms
Saffron                                                 01 gm

Preparation :

Heat desi ghee in a pan, add the garam masala. Add the tamarind pulp and the four pastes. Cook on medium flame. Add the chicken and little water. Add salt. Cook till the chicken is tender and the gravy is aromatic. Add saffron to finish. Serve with steamed Gobindo Bhog Rice.

                                                                       Tok Murgi

By : Devraj Halder

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