GONDHORAJ MURGI (KAFIR LIME CHICKEN)

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Gondhoraj Murgi is a sinfully delicious Bengali dish of chicken simmered in a lip-smacking gravy of yogurt and Gondhoraj Lebu juice. A copycat recipe of the famous Lebu Lonka Murgi from Bhojohori Manna, this light aromatic, and flavorful chicken recipe is ideal for hot summer days.

The literal translation for Gondhoraj is the king of aroma. The crispy, citrusy smell of Gondhoraj Lebu is indeed one-of-a-kind. The fresh and intoxicating flavor of this lime is nothing like any other lime out there. Even the lime leaves are aromatic enough to transform a trite recipe. Try my Lebu Pata Daal, if you haven't already, and check out how to elevate your regular Daal to deliciousness. The leaves of the Gondhoraj Lebu plant are similar to Kafir Lime leaves used in Thai cuisine. Though the latter is by no means as aromatic as Gondhoraj. 


As you might have guessed already, I am obsessed with the aroma of Gondhoraj Lebu. Even a whiff of its smell can make me go weak on my knees. If I could, I would use it in all my dishes. As a child, I remember my mother plucking some leaves from the Gondhoraj plant in our garden and secretly adding it to the daal. My fussy-eater brother would gleefully finish a bowlful of daal and ask her what on earth have you added to this. 


For the uninitiated, Bhojohori Manna is a popular restaurant in Kolkata, India, which specializes in authentic home-style Bengali food. Thanks to this restaurant, we have rediscovered many hidden gems of Bengali cuisine that would otherwise have died a silent death in the kitchens of our grandmothers. Bhojohori brought them to the forefront, reintroducing them to the current generation and in the process giving these a new lease of life. So, if you have not been to Bhojohori Manna yet, it is never too late. 

 

ABOUT THE RECIPE


Bhojohori Manna has been one of my favorite restaurants growing up. So, when I relocated to the United States, I had these pangs of missing out on my favorite food. One such specialty from Bhojohori Manna that I missed terribly was the Lebu Lonka Murgi (chicken cooked with lime and chilies). The main ingredient of this recipe is the Gondhoraj Lime. I had a tough time trying to source this lime in the US until I learned about the Kafir Lime (a.k.a Makrut lime). Kafir lime is similar to Gondhoraj, so I happily used it as a substitution to create my version of the Lebu Lonka Murgi. I named it Gondhoraj Murgi to give the hero of the dish the due credit.


Gondhoraj Murgi is a light, flavorful chicken curry that is ideal for lunch on hot summers. The minimum use of spices makes it suitable for kids too. It uses healthy ingredients like yogurt, lime, and fresh green chilies. The gravy is light and thin loaded with the refreshing flavor of lime. You can taste the lime in every bite. The slow cooking method ensures that the chicken pieces come out tender and juicy. 


INGREDIENTS


You will need bone-in chicken pieces for this recipe. You may use boneless pieces too if you prefer but in that case, make sure to use boneless thigh pieces.


For the marinade, we will need yogurt, kafir lime juice, onion paste, ginger paste, garlic paste, green chili paste, coriander powder, garam masala powder, and salt. Skip the chili paste if you cannot tolerate heat, but it does add to the taste.


We will need whole spices like Bay leaf, Green Cardamom, Cinnamon Stick, and black peppercorns for tempering.


We will also need some sugar and kafir lime leaves for a finishing touch.


HOW TO MAKE IT?


Marinate chicken pieces with yogurt, kafir lime juice, onion paste, ginger paste, garlic paste, green chili paste, coriander powder, garam masala powder, and salt. Keep aside for at least 2 hours or overnight if possible.


Heat oil in a pan. Temper with Bay leaf, Green Cardamom, Cinnamon Stick, and black peppercorns. When they splutter, add the marinated chicken. 


Continue to cook until oil starts to separate from the sides. At this stage, add some sugar. You may also add water if required (depending on the consistency you are looking for). Cover and cook for 10-15 mins or until chicken is cooked.


Turn off the flame when the chicken is done. Add a few kafir lime leaves and a couple of whole green chilies.


Allow a standing time of 10 minutes before serving for all the flavors to absorb. 


While serving sprinkle with some fresh lime zest for an extra zing.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


Can I make this recipe without kafir lime?


You may use ordinary lime instead of Kafir lime, but the result will not be the same because the uniqueness of this recipe lies in the aroma that is missing in regular lime. What you might consider doing is at least try to use the kafir lime leaves, if not the lime itself.


Do you eat the lime leaves?


Most people do not eat the leaves because they are mainly used for their flavor. The whole leaves are quite hard so it is better to avoid eating the leaves when used in this daal. In some Thai recipes like Tod Mun and Panang, where the leaves are thinly sliced, they can be eaten. 


Where can I buy Kaffir lime leaves?


You can get kaffir lime leaves in any Asian grocery store or Speciality stores. You can also buy it online.


How can I store Kaffir lime leaves?


Keep the leaves in a bag or container and store them in the crisper drawer of your fridge for up to one week.

 

You can also freeze them for later use. Put them into a resealable plastic bag in the freezer and remove one or two leaves as you need them. They do start to lose quality after a couple of months though. When using frozen leaves, wash them under hot water for a few seconds to thaw them and release the delectable aroma.


What can I use instead of chicken?


You may use fish or shrimps instead of chicken but in both these cases, skip the marination process. Shallow fry the fish or shrimps and keep aside. Temper the oil as instructed and start frying the marinade ingredients. When the oil starts separating, add the fried fish or shrimps, and proceed as usual. 


SERVING SUGGESTIONS


Serve Gondhoraj Murgi with steamed Basmati rice or Mishti Polao (Bangali Sweet Pilaf). While serving, you may sprinkle with some fresh lime zest for an extra zing. It is a great meal for both busy weekday lunch or weekends.

 

STORING SUGGESTIONS


You can store Gondhoraj Murgi in a refrigerator for up to 3 days. It is advisable to use multiple containers for easy reheating so that you do not have to reheat the entire batch again and again. Thaw the chicken before heating in a microwave and sprinkle some freshly squeezed lime juice for a fresh flavor.

 

GONDHORAJ MURGI (KAFIR LIME CHICKEN)
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GONDHORAJ MURGI (KAFIR LIME CHICKEN)

Yield: 6
Author: The GradChef
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 35 Mininactive time: 2 H & 10 MTotal time: 2 H & 50 M
Gondhoraj Murgi is a sinfully delicious Bengali dish of chicken simmered in a lip-smacking gravy of yogurt and Gondhoraj Lebu juice. A copycat recipe of the famous Lebu Lonka Murgi from Bhojohori Manna, this light aromatic, and flavorful chicken recipe is ideal for hot summer days.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lb bone-in medium-sized chicken pieces
  • 1 medium onion paste
  • 2 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp green chili paste
  • 2 tbsp Kafir lime juice
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
  • 6-7 Gondhoraj Lebu Leaves or Kaffir lime Leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 Green Cardamom
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 5-6 whole peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2-3 Whole Green Chilies
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Marinate chicken pieces with yogurt, kafir lime juice, onion paste, ginger paste, garlic paste, green chili paste, coriander powder, garam masala powder, and salt. Keep aside for at least 2 hours or overnight if possible.
  2. Heat oil in a pan. Temper with Bay leaf, Green Cardamom, Cinnamon Stick, and black peppercorns. When they splutter, add the marinated chicken.
  3. Continue to cook until oil starts to separate from the sides. At this stage, add some sugar. You may also add water if required (depending on the consistency you are looking for). Cover and cook for 10-15 mins or until chicken is cooked.
  4. Turn off the flame when the chicken is done. Add a few kafir lime leaves and a couple of whole green chilies and cover.
  5. Allow a standing time of 10 minutes before serving for all the flavors to absorb. 
  6. While serving sprinkle with some fresh lime zest for an extra zing.

Notes:

  • Gondhoraj lebu results in the best outcome but you may substitute with kafir lime for a close second.
  • Adjust the amount of green chili paste as per your tolerance of heat.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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