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Jan 25, 2010

MURGH BOTI KABAB

Murgh means chicken. This kabab is very popular on both sides of the Indo-Pak border. I leanred to cook this off of a very popular Pakistani TV cooking show that I sometimes watch on Youtube. I did add one little thing – to give it my own touch to it. That chicken breasts could ever turn out so succulent was beyond my wildest dreams!


There are a few easy tricks to making a good kabab. First and foremost, you can NOT stint on the marination time. Kababs are best when they are marinated a minimum of 8 and upto 24 hours. So making kababs needs a little planning. But you cn easily
marinate a batch of kababs in a big
 glass bowl before going to bed and simply skewer and grill or broil them the next day after work… or even half for lunch and the rest for dinner. Now how easy is that – prep once and eat twice!
 Secondly, kababs should be cooked on the highest heat setting you can give them. Traditionally kababs are made in a tandoor – which is a clay oven in which temperatures go up to 950F. So broiling or grilling is the best way to cook kababs in Western kitchens.
The final and MOST IMPORTANT point is to elevate the kababs while cooking so they do not sit in the juices that are being released by the meat. You don’t want the kababs to give off the excess moisture, not swim in it! So use long skewers that you can balance on a roasting dish. Or use a flat meat roasting rack. Broiler pans have slits for moisture to fall through and that works perfectly too.


Wooden skewers tend to burn in the high heat of the broiler so soak them in water for at least 30 minutes. I got so tired of my wooden skewers burning that I finally bought four metal ones. If using wooden skewers remember to soak them for 30 minutes in cold water. 

I took a photo of the ingredients used in this kabab. The only ingredient missing from the photo is the cumin seeds, which I just pulsed in the food processor to break the seeds up a little. You could just as easily use cumin powder and no one will notice.


Recipe:
Click here for printable recipe

2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (you could use thighs just as easily)
1/2 cup yoghurt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon kasuri methi leaves (available in Indian grocery stores)
1/2 tablespoon ghee (Indian clarified butter) or oil (DO NOT USE OLIVE OIL)
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 heaping tablespoon of cumin seeds, pulsed in a food processor (or 1/2 tablespoon of cumin powder)

Method:

In a big glass or stainless steel bowl, add the yoghurt, heavy cream, lemon juice. Whisk into a smooth mixture.

Crush the kasuri methi by rubbing between your palms and add it to the bowl followed with the salt, pepper, ghee or oil, Parmesan cheese and the cumin powder. Whisk again to combine everything.

Cut the tips of the chicken breast off. Add to the marinade. Now cut the chicken breasts lengthwise through the middle into two halves and then each half into 1-1.5-inch cubes. Add all the chicken pieces to the marinade and mix. Make sure the chicken is completely covered by the marinade. Cover the bowl with a piece of cling-wrap and let marinate in the fridge for 8-24 hours.

If using wooden skewers soak them in cold water for at least 30 minutes. Turn on the broiler or grill. Remove the grill grates and rub with paper towel dipped in vegetable oil to keep the chicken from sticking to the grates. Do the same if using a roasting rack in your oven broiler. Thread the pieces of chicken onto the skewers leaving a little room between each piece. I needed 3 long skewers.

Put under the broiler or on your grill and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes. Rotate the skewers once the side facing the heat shows a few blisters. Do not scorch the kababs completely. The taste lies in the fusion of the burnt flavour from the heat and the creaminess of the kababs. Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until done.

Cut through one piece of chicken to make sure the centre is cooked thorugh and no longer pink. Let the kababs sit for a few minutes and then serve with any type of Indian flatbread (parathas, naan, roti, puri) and yoghurt-mint chutney.

 

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