Dhaniye aur Kaju wale Murgh (Chicken with Coriander-leaves and Cashews)

May 18, 2007 at 12:28 AM (animals, birds, cashews, chicken, dishes by cuisine, dishes by main ingredient, India, Punjab, various greens, various nuts like me)


I own a truly fascinating cookbook, by Smita and Sanjeev Chandra, entitled Cuisines of India. Besides having an eye-catching dust-cover, it really is a good read. The chapters are divided into broad, historical summaries, coupled with a discussion of the cuisine developement of the parties involved. There are political maps included as well! Every single recipe in the book also includes an interesting tale as its introduction, and because of all this, one could definitely spend hours just reading, as I did when I first acquired my copy, and not enter the kitchen at all!

    My favorite recounts are those of Fanny Eden and her brushings with Ranjit Singh- that colourful Sikh leader who made himself king of Punjab in 1801. I still find myself truly laughing at loud when I read one of the Punjabi/Punju recipes that includes one of these! Here, for your amusement, is the one which heads a very good recipe that I just tried, taken from chapter 4, Decline of the Moghul Empire: Flowering of Regional Cuisines:

The table was covered with gold bottles and cups and some specimens of Sikh cookery- spiced balls of meat, or rather essence of meat, of very strong composition, pomegranite seeds, etc…The composition he calls wine is like burning fire, much stronger than brandy, and his great delight when he sets in to be gay is to make people drink it…I got on very well for some time, pretending to drink it and passing it to his cup-bearer. But he grew suspicious, put it up to his one eye, looked well into the cup, shook his head and gave it me back again. The next time he put his finger into the cup to see how much was gone. I made Major Wade explain to him that ladies did not drink so much in England, upon which he watched till George’s [her brother, governor general of India] head was turned away and passed a cup to me under his arm, thinking George was the horrid tyrant who prevented me.

    Poor Fanny… 😀 In other exerpts from her journal we find her suffering through other banquets and dishes that, heaven forbid,  were made to look like precious metals…

    This recipe, though simple to prepare, is quite delicious! I have no idea how authentic it is; I’d like to hear feedback from anyone who might know! I made a couple additions to keep a theme going and make use of things I had handy: I sprinkled two finely-sliced green onions and a pinch of shredded mint-leaves over the top at the end of cooking. Either way, it is a very green, very vitamin-infused sauce that complements chicken deliciously well. It is sugested by the authors to serve it with rice and bhindi ki sabzi (sabzi-fied okra?!)

Dhaniye aur Kaju wale Murgh

8 skinless chicken thighs, bone in, washed and drained (I cleaved each into three pieces, bone included)

For the marinade:

1/4 C raw cashews, ground

1 t ground coriander seeds

3/4 t ground cumin seeds

1/2 t ground chiles

1/4-1/2 t ground black pepper

1/2 t garam masala

1/2 t turmeric

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1/2″ piece of ginger, sliced

1 C coriander leaves and stems, washed, drained, chopped

1 hot green chile, seeded and sliced (I used 3)

1 C plain yoghurt, not low-fat

salt to taste

1)Make a paste of the garlic, ginger, coriander leaves and green chiles.

2)Combine this with the rest of the marinade ingredients and mix with the chicken pieces well in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.

For finishing:

2 T or so of oil

1/2 t cumin seeds

2 medium onions, peeled and thinly-sliced

1/4 C raw cashews, whole

1 T lemon (or lime) juice

1/2 C coriander leaves, chopped

2 green onions, finely-sliced(my addition)

4-5 mint leaves, finely shredded (stack, roll into a little log and slice thinly- my addition)

1)Heat oil in a cooking vessel over med-high heat and add the cumin seeds; after a few seconds add the onions and whole cashews; fry stirring fairly constantly until the onions are golden and just beginning to brown.

2)Strain these, using a slotted spoon, from the oil and set aside. Add the chicken and its marinade to the pan, stir well, cover and allow it to come to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low and cook for 40 min, stirring occasionally to avoid catching, until tender.

3)Add the reserved onions, cashews and lemon juice and cook 5 minutes more. Check for salt.

4)Sprinkle coriander leaves, green onions, and mint leaves over the top and serve hot with rice.


My deepest gratitude to Musical and her Kitchen for her assistance in translating the title of this dish for me! 🙂



  1. Asha said,

    I have that book too,I like it as well.Murgh looks yummy:))

    Thanks! Isn’t that a fun book to have?

  2. Aruna said,

    Hi, nIce blog, chicken looks good 🙂

    Thank you; this recipe is a keeper.

  3. bee said,

    ranjit singh was an amazing uy. this story sounds just like him. whee do you get these wonderful cookbooks from, pel? you have an amazing collecion of ‘lost’or out of print books, it seems.

    Sadly, unless a cookbook is either very controversial (Diet for a Small Planet) or backed by a celebrity (In the Kichen with Rosie, Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook) the fate of most of them is a limited printing and short attention by reviewers and thus, even well-written, well-designed cookbooks end up on the discount pile…
    Ah, Ranjit Singh…if only some of our most powerful world-leaders today were even a fraction like him…

  4. Anita said,

    Indulgence is underrated – Good food, and if you’re lucky enough to get good wine/tequila/vodka/gin 🙂 , should be considered next only to Godliness!
    Babette’s Feast was right on target!
    BTW, most Punjabis are very colourful, kyon Musical?

    I’m not sure, but she should be arriving soon enough!
    I am in total agreement! Make do with bread and water until god sends the milk and honey…and when it comes, down it with some liquor and do things you might be ashamed of later! The next day? Back to dal-chaval of course! 😉 (and a good ‘bloody mary’…)

  5. Sharmi said,

    I dont have the book ! its not fair to put pics which are not clear.

    Aw…I am terribly sorry; the pic of the finished dish was a little blurry because I was trembling in excitement from the enticing aroma! 😉 Later, when I was viewing the photo, I had little choice but to make them look like paintings… I’ll send you a clear pic. 🙂

  6. Cynthia said,

    Ah ha, now I understand the reason for the painting-photo. Looks good though. 🙂
    I want to hear more stories like those… so the book is it out of print?

    Unfortunately, yes, but used copies might be found here. I’ll be posting more recipes from it here and there though…

  7. Sejal said,

    Hi Pelicano,
    Thanks for visiting my blog and your wishful thinking. I am still very new to blogging world so I will have to learn the tricks of the trade before I can start another blog but I will definitely keep that in my mind about starting a food blog. I think of myself as a student and so its like being this kid who still has so much to learn before I could write a food blog. Although I love the idea 🙂 I checked out dining hall blog and it has such helpful information for people like me. thanks again.

    Hey! No problem…thanks for stopping by and visit anytime!

  8. sunita said,

    Hi Pelicano, that’s a very interesting recipe you’ve got there…I’ll have to give it a try…btw, I don’t mind the picture…love paintings…

    Thank you! I must say the recipe is a good one indeed!

  9. musical said,

    i am loving the first picture Pel 🙂

    I was feeling a little experimental….glad you like it! Thanks again for your help BTW.

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