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Murgh Musallam-Dajaj Mahshi Fusion: From The Kitchens Of India

Murgh Musallam-Dajaj Mahshi Fusion: From The Kitchens Of India

Murgh Musallam-Dajaj Mahshi Fusion: From The Kitchens Of India

“Murgh” in Urdu basically means chicken, while the word “Musallam” means whole or “complete”. Therefore, Murgh Musallam literally means ‘whole chicken’. It is generally served with sauce. The dish was popular among the royal Mughal families of Awadh, now the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. Ibn Battuta described Murgh Musallam as a favourite dish of Muhammad bin Tughluq, who was the eighteenth Sultan of Delhi. He reigned from February 1325 until his death in 1351. The sultan was the eldest son of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq, founder of the Tughlaq dynasty. The dish was also served in the Delhi Sultanate.

“Dajaj” in Arabic basically means chicken, while the word “Mahshi” means stuffed. Therefore, Dajaj Mahshi literally means ‘stuffed chicken’. It is generally served dry, with pulao.

My husband’s recipe for Murgh Musallam is a little different, yet it is delicious to the core. It is different because he first tried it out while living in the Middle East, and so, naturally, his recipe of Murgh Musallam came to be influenced by the Arabic Dajaj Mahshi. Hence, his recipe is a fusion of Indian and Arabic-style cuisines. This sumptuous dish, basically and traditionally, consists of whole chicken marinated in a special paste, stuffed with boiled eggs and prawns pulao, infused with spices like saffron, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, etc., and, of course, finally garnished with almonds.

When this Murgh Musallam is cut into two long pieces (neck to bottom), one can see the egg right in the middle, surrounded by prawn pulao, with both of these elements sitting comfortably in the belly of the chicken. It is a feast for the eyes, followed by a divine taste that lasts a long time on one’s palate.

I have been diligently following this recipe of my husband’s for many years now. This recipe, of course, calls for loads of preparatory work, but the end result is amazing. It not only has a wonderful visual appeal but tastes fantastic as well.

Without much ado, I would like to share the recipe.

Main ingredients:

1) Chicken: fully dressed whole chicken, 1 to 1.2 kg

Chicken marination:

Mix all these ingredients into a nice, thick paste.

Make deep cuts in the breast and leg portions of the chicken. Apply this chicken marinade and set it aside overnight. This makes the chicken soak up the marinade well and makes it tender too.

2) Prawn Pulao

Prawns, 250 gms, deveined and marinated with turmeric powder and salt

For the prawn masala:

Fry the prawns in oil for 2 to 3 minutes and keep aside.

After removing the prawns, in the same oil, sauté the above masala, add a little water, and sauté it well till it turns into a thick gravy. Then add the fried prawns to this gravy and keep it aside. The prawn masala for the pulao is now ready.

For the prawn pulao:

Boil water for rice along with the above whole spices, a tablespoon of oil, and salt. Add rice and cook till it is 80% done. Drain the rice and mix in the prawn masala. Add a fistful of fried cashews, raisins, coriander leaves, 1 teaspoon saffron soaked in a little milk, rose essence, and a table spoon of ghee, and cook (dum) on a slow flame for 10 minutes. Prawn pulao is now ready.

The next step is to place the marinated chicken in the oven for about 30 minutes at 200 °C, turning it once halfway through. Once done, take the chicken out and stuff it with a small portion of the prawn pulao and two whole boiled eggs. Apply butter to the chicken and place it in the oven for 10 minutes at 180 °C.

Finally, remove the chicken from the oven and place it on a layer of the remaining prawn pulao. Garnish it with toasted and sliced almonds. Murgh Musallam cum Dajaj Mahshi are now ready. It is a very flavorful and aromatic dish, and it comes out perfect every time. It is my favourite and will always remain one.

Serve it with cucumber raita and pappad. And finish it off with some Qahwa (Arabic coffee). This is an experience of peace and contentment. Relish it with your family and friends.


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