Murgh Mussallam

Naheed and I cooked Murgh Mussallam; my first time.

Contributed by Naheed Rahman

If ever there was dish fit for kings, it is the Murg Musallam. It is not only one of the most presentable dishes, covered in silver paper (Tabaq), but as the name suggests, it is one whole chicken. What makes it the traditional numero uno of all preparations are some expensive ingredients like saffron and dry fruits that are vital for this dish. We cooked it in vegetable oil and not ghee; a change that left my mother aghast. The thick gravy in this dish tastes delicious with pulao, roti or naan. Here’s a quick video medley on our cooking session.


But be prepared. Every good thing comes with a price. Not only are the ingredients expensive, though not hard to get, the dish needs about 1-2 hours of cooking time. But believe me, if you get it right, it is worth the effort.


  • 2 whole chickens about 1Kg each
  • 1 Kg Onions sliced
  • ½ Kg yoghurt
  • 200gm oil + 1 Large Tablespoon of pure Ghee for flavour
  • 1 Heaped Tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 Heaped Tablespoon garlic paste
  • 2 tsp. pepper powder
  • ½ tsp. red chilli powder
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 3 tsp. poppy seeds dry roasted & ground
  • 4 cloves, 2 black cardamom
  • 12 deseeded green cardmoms
  • ¼ tsp. saffron,
  • 20 blanched & peeled almonds
  • 2 Boiled eggs and 2 lightly boiled potatoes
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    1. Soak saffron & green cardmoms pods in water & grind.
    2. Truss the chicken & immerse in boiling water for 3 minutes to kill the smell.
    3. Drain well.
    4. Whisk yoghurt.
    5. Grind cloves and black cardamom
    6. Fry onions till golden brown.
    7. Remove the onions.
    8. In the oil put the paste of garlic & ginger, salt, red chilly powder, poppy seeds, pepper powder and fry for 2-5 minutes.
    9. Divide the masala into 2.
    10. In one half add the almonds, apply it to the outside of the chicken and put the remains inside the chicken.
    11. To the masala in the vessel add half the fried onions, whisked yoghurt and cook for 10 mts till the white of yoghurt disappears.
    12. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes on either side.
    13. Add the remaining fried onions.
    14. After 5 minutes put in the saffron and cardamom paste.
    15. Cover the vessel and layer the lid with flour so that steam does not escape easily.
    16. Cook for another 20 minutes over slow fire.
    17. When done Put it on a serving dish, apply silver foil on the chicken & serve.