Greg's murgh moelho
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I've bought a number of books in a series with names like “Asia: The beautiful cookbook”. They're well named: the photography is good, much better than the recipes.. Still, they have some interesting recipes that I haven't seen elsewhere, and today I decided to cook a purported Goanese dish, “Murgh Moelho”. It was pretty clear that the quantities were wrong; even the various pieces of chicken in the photo didn't match the recipe, which called for drumsticks only. Searched the web and found very few recipes, all word for word the same as in the book; even the photo was on the web. The following recipe is my interpretation, somewhat hampered by not knowing the original.


I always weigh solids. In particular, things like “clove of garlic” or “big onion” mean nothing. The “traditional measures” column below is for convenience only if you don't have any way to weigh the ingredients. Don't use it if you can help. See the weights and measures page for more details.

traditional measure quantity ingredient step
2 tablespoons 25 g cummin seed 1
1 tablespoon 15 g white mustard seed 1
1 teaspoon 5 g turmeric powder 1
teaspoon 2.5 g chili powder 1
150 ml vinegar 1
1 kg chicken thighs 2
3 cloves 12 g garlic 3
1 large 300 g onion 3
ghee for frying 4

1: The spices

Heat the whole spices gently in a dry frying pan until the mustard seed starts to pop. Grind and add any powdered spices. Add the vinegar and make a pasted.

2: The chicken

Peel the skin off the chicken and prick the flesh. Rub in the spice paste and leave for at least an hour, preferably longer.
The original recipe said 30 minutes. That's what I did, but I suspect that overnight would be better.

3: The garlic and onions

Cut the onions into thin strips and start frying in the ghee over low heat. Crush the garlic directly into the pan and fry until the onions brown.
The original recipe wasn't clear about how to chop the onions, and the photo doesn't show any onions. But in general there are two ways to use onions in these dishes:
  1. Finely chopped, preferably pureed, to give body to the sauce. These onions should not be browned.
  2. Chopped in slices as decorations. They may or may not be browned.
As a result, I decided to make slices.

Remove the onions from the pan and squeeze out the remaining ghee. Put into a cooking pot.

4: Fry chicken

Add more ghee if necessary and fry the chicken in a single layer (in several batches if necessary) until brown on both sides. Add to the cooking pot. Put the remaining marinade paste into the frying pan and fry until dry. Add to the cooking pot.

5: Cooking

Rinse the frying pan with water and add to the cooking pot, topping up to barely cover the chicken. Add salt, bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Allow to cool and wait overnight before warming up and eating.

Other murgh moelho recipes

There only seems to be one recipe out there. The best one is in Dutch: it includes the photo mentioned above. The English translation does not have a photo.

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