3.0/5 rating (25 votes)

Murgir Jhol

Bengali Chicken Curry

  • Heat Hot
  • Serves 6
  • Prep 15 mins
  • Marinade 1 hr
  • Cook 50 mins
Murgir Jhol

Chicken curry cooked in the traditional Bengali style

Hari says

Murgir Jhol is a classic Bengali chicken curry usually served up as a Sunday special for the family to come together and enjoy. Because fish curries for many Bengali families would be everyday dishes  having chicken or mutton (Mangsho Jhol or Kosha - mutton curry) at the weekend was a really family treat and something the whole family would look forward to.

Bengali curries are beautifully unique and quite different to my usual Punjabi dishes. They can be cooked dry 'Kosha' or more soupy 'Jhol' so you can make them to suit your tastes. Both are so special in their own way and wonderfully delicious. 

Some of the key differences of Bengali curries is the use of mustard oil in meat and fish dishes which gives an amazing glossy finish to the soupy curries. There is also the classic addition of sugar to the oil once the whole spices have been added. This sugar caramelises resulting in a wonderful dark, rich colour and flavour in the final dish. I am also told that no Bengali curry is complete without the addition of thick, chunks of potatoes to soak up the wonderful flavours of the sauce.

In this dish you will notice that I am not using any tomatoes, instead I am using yoghurt to add the tang but if you prefer you can add tomatoes instead.

Really looking forward to hearing what you think below.



  • Ingredients
  • Method


  • 1kg of chicken pieces on the bone
  • 1 small onion roughly chopped
  • 7cm piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves,
  • 3 tbsp yoghurt
  • 2 tsp lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp mustard oil


  • 3 tbsp mustard oil or rapeseed oil
  • 6 small potatoes washed and peeled
  • 5 cloves 
  • 6 green cardamom 
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 7cm piece cassia bark
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 green chillies, slit lengthways
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp salt



  1. Mince the onion, ginger, garlic, to a paste and in a large bowl mix with the yoghurt.
  2. Crush the coriander and cumin seeds in a pestle and mortar (or use ground if thats what you have).
  3. Add lemon, Kashmiri chilli powder, ground cumin and coriander, mustard oil and salt to the yoghurt and mix together.
  4. Add the skinned chicken pieces and coat with the marinade then set to one side for an hour.

Chicken Curry

  1. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a wide pan, once it glistens add the chunks of potato with some salt and fry until golden. This will take about 5-6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep to one side.
  2. Crush the cardamom pods and cloves in the pestle and mortar. Remove the fibrous pods on the cardamom.
  3. Pour in the remaining oil to the pan and heat gently. Add the whole spices - bay leaves, cassia bark, crushed cloves and cardamoms until the spices become aromatic.
  4. Add in the sugar and heat until it bubbles and caramelises.
  5. Stir in the sliced onions and saute on medium high heat until soft and golden brown in colour.
  6. Add the marinated chicken along with the marinade and cook on a fairly high heat. Keep stirring for about 9-10 minutes until the meat no longer looks raw.
  7. Put the fried potatoes back into the pan and mix with the chicken. Cover the pan and cook for about 10 minutes.
  8. As the juice starts to dry out, oil will seep in around the sides of the pan, add the sliced green chillies and pour in 500ml of hot water (you can adjust this if you don’t want it too thin).
  9. Bring to the boil and check the seasoning adjust with salt or sugar if required.
  10. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken and potatoes are cooked through.
  11. Stir in garam masala and 1 heaped tsp of ghee into the curry and bring back to the boil for a minutes.
  12. Remove from the heat and serve it hot with rice or roti or paratha.

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