Best Of Bengali- Doi Murgi (Bengali Chicken in A Spicy Yogurt Curry)

Best Of Bengali- Doi Murgi (Bengali Chicken in A Spicy Yogurt Curry)

Growing up, I was under the impression that Bengali food was just about how badly you can burn your throat on chillies. How wrong I was. Doi murgi is a Bengali chicken curry made from lashings of mustard oil, marinated chicken with crispy charred bits and a curry base reduced to creamy perfection!

I love Bengali chicken curry, especially traditional recipes that dictate frying or roasting chicken before adding to the jhol (spicy gravy to the rest of the world). This one is no different. The tenderising broth of this curry results in a balance of creamy and aromatic flavours. Not forgetting that partially cooking the chicken beforehand prevents it from getting tough from being thrown into instant heat! Cooking it this way with plenty of yogurt, kicks of mustard oil and healthy sprinklings of chilli powder is the perfect winter warmer.

Prep+cooking time: 1hr. 40 mins
Portions: 6 servings

Ingredients to marinate:

  • 1 kg chicken drumsticks, skin removed and scored

  • 200ml natural yogurt

  • 3-4 tbsp mustard oil

  • 1-2 tsp salt

  • ½ tsp turmeric

  • ½ tsp red chilli powder

Ingredients for jhol:

  • 3-4 tbsp mustard oil (or any other kind)

  • 1 tbsp grated ginger and garlic paste

  • 3-4 medium sized onions, finely chopped

  • 1-2 dried red chillies

  • 1 cinnamon stick, approx. 3 ins

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 tsp salt

  • ½ tsp cumin powder

  • ½ tsp turmeric

  • ½ tsp red chilli powder

  • Extra toppings: birishta (crispy fried onions), fried garlic slices


  1. Wash, clean and score the chicken before marinating with all the yogurt and spices. Leave overnight if you have the time, otherwise an hour in the fridge should do it!

  2. Once marinated, scrape off excess marinade from your drumsticks before charring them on a hot grill or frying pan. You are aiming to colour the meat, not cook it. Leave the charred chicken to a side and do not dispose of the marinade as you will use this later.

  3. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat mustard oil and temper your whole spices before adding onion, ginger and garlic. Salt will help soften the onions so add this now. Leave covered for 10 minutes, occasionally stirring to prevent burning.
    Note: Do not add the dried red chilli straight to hot oil unless you want to end up blind.

  4. Add the remaining powdered spices and a few tablespoons of water before giving another stir and leaving covered for 10 minutes.

  5. Add the drumsticks and remaining marinade to the jhol and cook on a low heat for 20 minutes, allowing the yogurt to break down and reduce into a creamy texture.

  6. Once the chicken has cooked through and jhol has reduced, remove from the flame and enjoy with jeera rice.