Dhania Murg Makhni – Creamy Coriander chicken

dhania chicken yumm

Cilantro based recipes are quite common in India, but not many of them use the roots, which is primarily found in South Asian cuisine. Cilantro or coriander plant is one of those very few annual plants whose every part can be utilized in cooking. While the roots and stems impart great flavors when cooked, the flowers and the leaves work better as garnishes. However, few recipes call for almost the entire plant to be used, and this is one of them.

Feeding three devoted meat eating humans can use up a lot of brain cells. And at times, inspiration is hard to come by. Then once in while, you are simply overcome by a desire to cook something extra special, and this ‘murg’ – hindi for male chicken (I refuse to use any other word to replace it) definitely fits the bill.

 

Dhania murg makhni

I have tried many versions of this recipe, but the one that I loved the most is by Chef Karan Suri of Team India from NDTV cooks.  It has the perfect blend of taste and punch. I have altered the recipe a bit to fit the US measurement standards, and I skipped the heavy cream part almost completely. It is heavy enough and tasted divine without all that fat.

Note that this recipe is a bit long and looks labor intensive, but it’s not. As long as you simply follow the ingredient list, it’s easy.And as my younger son says – ‘a butter chicken that is more awesome’.

dhania murg makhni

 

Ingredients:

  • 1500 g chicken thighs and drumsticks, hearts and liver (young chicken preferable)
  • 1.5 cup onions sliced
  • 2 cups yoghurt
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup fried cashewnut paste (sauteed in little ghee till golden, cooled and blended with a little water.)
  • 2 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 3/4 cup green coriander (with roots)
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala powder
  • 1 Tbsp green cardamom powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh cream

 

For bhuna masala

 

  • 3/4 cup ghee/clarified butter
  • 6 Tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 6 Tbsp Thai green chilli, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric powder
  • 2 Tbsp cumin powder
  • 3 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 2 Tbsp deggi mirch (or cayenne pepper)
  • 2.5 Tbsp kasoori methi (fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or as needed)

creamy-chicken-in-coriander-gravy

 

Instructions

 

  • Clean and trim the chicken. Keep the hearts and liver separate in a plate/bowl
  • Heat 3/4 ghee in a heavy bottomed wok.
  • When the ghee is hot (but not smoking) add chopped ginger, chili and ginger garlic paste, and fry it.
  • Add the chicken and saute well till browned. Do not add the hearts or liver at this point.
  • Put turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, fenugreek leaves and salt.
  • Add some chicken stock and cook the mixture.
  • Using a tong, carefully remove the chicken on a plate and keep aside.
  • Cook the left over mixture some more and when the mixture dries up, take it off the flame, cover and keep aside.This cooked masala mixture is the bhuna masala
  • Meanwhile, in a separate pan, heat the remaining ghee and fry onions till brown and crunchy. Keep aside.
  • Now put the wok with bhuna masala back on the flame.
  • Add whipped yoghurt  and cashewnut paste. Cook on low heat. 
  • Add browned onions, crushing them by hand as you add them.
  • Pound coriander seeds in a mortar-pestle and add the coarse powder, reserving 1 tsp for garnishing.
  • Pound coriander roots in the same mortar-pestle and add. Stir till oil starts leaving the sides.
  • Now add the chicken, hearts and liver and stock, and cook on a slow flame till chicken is completely cooked.
  • Add garam masala powder and green cardamom powder. Once the aroma of garam masala starts wafting, take it off the flame.
  • Finish with cream, pounded coriander seeds. Serve hot with naan/roti

chicken coriander makhni

 

Printable recipe

 Makhni chicken – Creamy Coriander chicken

5.0 from 6 reviews
Dhania Murg Makhni - Creamy Coriander chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1500 g chicken thighs and drumsticks (young chicken preferable)
  • 1.5 cup onions sliced
  • 2 cups yoghurt
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup fried cashewnut paste (sauteed in little ghee till golden, cooled and blended with a little milk.)
  • 2 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • ¾ cup green coriander (with roots)
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala powder
  • 1 Tbsp green cardamom powder
  • ½ cup fresh cream
For bhuna masala
  • ¾ cup ghee/clarified butter
  • 6 Tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 6 Tbsp Thai green chilli, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric powder
  • 2 Tbsp cumin powder
  • 3 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 2 Tbsp deggi mirch (or cayenne pepper)
  • 2.5 Tbsp kasoori methi (fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
Instructions
  1. Clean and trim the chicken.
  2. Heat ¾ ghee in a heavy bottomed wok.
  3. When the ghee is hot (but not smoking) add chopped ginger, chili and ginger garlic paste, and fry it.
  4. Add the chicken and saute well till browned.
  5. Put turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, fenugreek leaves and salt.
  6. Add some chicken stock and cook the mixture.
  7. Using a tong, carefully remove the chicken on a plate and keep aside.
  8. Cook the left over mixture some more and when the mixture dries up, take it off the flame, cover and keep aside.This cooked masala mixture is 'bhuna masala'.
  9. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, heat the remaining ghee and fry onions till brown and crunchy.
  10. Now put the wok with bhuna masala back on the flame.
  11. Add whipped yoghurt and cashewnut paste. Cook on low heat.
  12. Add browned onions, crushing them by hand as you add the,.
  13. Pound coriander seeds in a mortar-pestle and add the coarse powder, reserving 1tsp for garnishing.
  14. Pound coriander roots in the same mortar-pestle and add. Stir till oil starts leaving the sides.
  15. Now add the chicken and stock, and cook on a slow flame till chicken is cooked.
  16. Add garam masala powder and green cardamom powder. Once the aroma of garam masala starts wafting, take it off the flame.
  17. Finish with cream, coriander seeds. Serve hot.

dhania murg makhni2

*Note: Fresh chicken needs more cook time. So increase or decrease the chicken stock accordingly. I used store bought organic young chicken that used very less stock as it cooked faster, so I used less stock than I have mentioned in the recipe. So play it by the ear and increase or decrease stock according to desired consistency.

*Note: Coriander has a strong flavor. However, seeds impart a very different flavor than the leaves, or cilantro they are more popularly known as. So even if you do not eat or like cilantro, this curry has a very distinctive taste that does not have the cilantro flavors overpowering it unless you add it in garnish.

Note: This dish is difficult to make in small quantity, though not impossible.However, it freezes well. I cooked, and the used half of it and froze the rest in an air tight container. The guys actually looked forward to eating the left over portion and claimed it tasted better.

Note* I used less cream, but you can use more, upto another cup, if you want more creamy, thicker version and don’t mind the fat content. After all, it’s OK to party rich every once in a while.

35 comments for “Dhania Murg Makhni – Creamy Coriander chicken

  1. March 22, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    Ugh, now I wish I had taken out chicken to defrost! This looks so good. I adore kormas and especially dhania ones with lots is cardamom. I really want this now and not the chilli my husband requested.

    • March 24, 2014 at 7:37 PM

      Don’t you just hate it when you see a recipe you want to make right away and instead end up preparing something else because you were too far down the preparation? I get into that all the time. Your blog is a special torture as I always want to make everything you post, or better still, eat it.
      Minnie recently posted..Dhania Murg Makhni – Creamy Coriander chickenMy Profile

  2. March 22, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    Look at all of those flavours! I bet it tastes really good. I love coriander and yes usually save the roots for stir fries and curries :D

  3. March 22, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    That chicken looks fork tender and all those flavours send my tastebuds spinning with joy.

    I’m not sure tastebuds can spin but IF they could, they would with this dish.
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef recently posted..The Pitchfork Restaurant, Peregian BeachMy Profile

  4. March 23, 2014 at 5:00 AM

    Thoroughly enjoyed the post.

  5. March 24, 2014 at 2:31 AM

    I’m with your son on this one: “butter chicken but more AWESOME!”

  6. March 24, 2014 at 5:32 AM

    This is a really yummy looking curry and I can see this is a dish everyone in my family would love. I love a chicken curry cooked with cashew nut paste! Very delicious! xx
    Hotly Spiced recently posted..The Hymn BookMy Profile

    • March 24, 2014 at 7:42 PM

      Thanks Charlie :)

  7. March 24, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    Ha, no way, I didn’t know that one can use the roots too and that it was commonly done in the south. Also I haven’t tasted this dish yet and if it’s a moghul dish I better try it soon! Thanks so much for sharing, I pinned it for later. Hope you have been fine otherwise. =)
    Helene D’Souza recently posted..Caprese Salad – Tomato Mozzarella BasilMy Profile

    • March 24, 2014 at 7:43 PM

      I had truly had no idea, and have never come across it in Indian cooking, but I am sure it is used. Cuisine in India is so vast that it will take a life to learn it all, but I am happy that I learn something every day.
      Minnie recently posted..Dhania Murg Makhni – Creamy Coriander chickenMy Profile

  8. March 24, 2014 at 6:14 PM

    looks absolutely divine. I hate it that I can not have it.
    Linsy Patel recently posted..Uttapam balls in Garlic Pepper RasamMy Profile

  9. March 24, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    Look at that color and the consistency. I love the flavors of cilantro root. It is so delightful with chicken especially. Great dish.
    Ansh | Spiceroots recently posted..Oatmeal Kedgeree with Ethiopian Berbere SeasoningMy Profile

    • March 24, 2014 at 8:42 PM

      Thanks so much Ansh!

  10. March 24, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    Minnie,
    Thank you for doing this without all the cream. I want to make this for my Saturday night dinner if I can find the ingredients but I have some questions.
    - Is cashew nut paste the same as cashew butter but less creamy?
    - Are the fenugreek leaves fresh or dry?
    - Where do you find coriander with the roots still on?
    Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits recently posted..Flourless Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

    • March 24, 2014 at 8:47 PM

      That’s great Mireya! I hope you like it.
      - No, this cashew nut is fried in a little ghee/oil and then blended in a blender to a smooth paste with milk. You can grind the cashews with water too, but the taste will change as will the consistency.
      - It’s dried. It is called ‘kasoori methi’ and you can find it in all Indian grocery stores.
      - I bought it from my local grocery store, where they sell it in a bunch. That is how it is normally sold here. Normally I just chop the roots, pluck the leaves and store them in a airtight container. I am sure most South Asian stores would sell the roots too.

  11. March 25, 2014 at 5:25 PM

    Coriander root is really hard to get here, not sure why. This looks really delicious and certainly worth searching out the root for. GG

  12. David Crichton
    March 25, 2014 at 7:09 PM

    Hi Minnie, I’ve a version of murgh makhni before. It is one of my favourite curry dishes. Your spice blend, especially with coriander roots, looks a bit more impressive. I’ll give it a whirl soon.

  13. March 25, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    This sounds fantastic, Minnie — and I am one of those that do not like coriander leaves. Try as I might, my palate says “No!” I’m glad you noted that the coriander flavor isn’t overpowering. I’m sure I’d be fine with it. I hope so because I would love to learn how to make a dish like this. Thanks for sharing your recipe.
    ChgoJohn recently posted..We’re Celebrating St. Joseph’s Feast Day with a Sicilian StrataMy Profile

    • March 28, 2014 at 1:51 PM

      I hear you. I have the same issue with parsley. My palate rejects it outright, but I have been training it to get past that, and now i can enjoy some of the dishes as long as I don’t have to chomp on them raw. You can totally skip the garnishing part, and only work with the roots. The seeds of course are not even close to tasting like cilantro, strange as it may sound. I think you might actually enjoy this. Cross my fingers :)
      Minnie recently posted..Roti/Chappati Indian flatbread Step by stepMy Profile

  14. March 27, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    Wow… I can’t wait to make this also and dip my chappati in the sauce to eat. My mouth water thinking about it. What a great meal, Minnie! We need to be neighbors! ;)
    Nami | Just One Cookbook recently posted..Royal Milk Tea ロイヤルミルクティーMy Profile

  15. March 28, 2014 at 5:16 AM

    This looks so yummy..can’t wait to try this soon…beautiful clicks
    Maria John recently posted..Cracked Wheat Vegetable Biryani | Broken Wheat Vegetable Biryani | Cracked Wheat RecipesMy Profile

  16. March 29, 2014 at 7:03 AM

    AHH, THAT S MY FAVOURITE FOOD AND I CANT WAIT TO EAT IT NOW ITSELF.
    PRASHANTH recently posted..jaya nama samvatsara ugadi 2014 Panchangam Free downloadMy Profile

  17. April 1, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    Looks great Minnie! I’m living with two coriander haters at the moment (fresh, not dried) so it’s off the menu for me sadly. Soon we’ll be in our own place… I think I’ll celebrate by buying the world’s largest bunch of the stuff and eating it all in one meal :D.
    Charles recently posted..Cheese and Vegemite SconesMy Profile

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