Chicken with mustard greens

Chicken curry with Mustard Greens (Murgi-lai xaak)

This is purely an Assamese dish, traditional and rustic. Easy to cook and easy on the stomach too. I am sure, all those familiar with Assamese cuisine would vouch for its unique taste. There exists a more popular version- pork with mustard greens and this one is eaten almost in all of North-Eastern India.

The reason for its popularity is that mustard greens are abundant in the region. Moreover, our cuisine being less spicy as compared to other Indian cuisines largely depends on vegetables and herbs for flavour. So the mustard greens when used in the curry give a pungent flavour to the gravy and the leaves soak up the extra oil and spices to balance the taste and thickness of the gravy.

If you wish to try this recipe and find the taste & scent of the greens overpowering, just add more spices to bring it down. But the original dish is cooked with almost no spices except for chillies, ginger and garlic. Here, in Helsinki, since I don’t often find mustard greens, I use other types of salad leaves as well.

To cook this, I followed the same process but with some twists. I added onions, mustard seeds, black pepper and coriander leaves for that extra fresh flavour.

Chicken with mustard greens/murgi-lai xaak

Chicken with mustard greens/murgi-lai xaak

 

Here’s how I cooked this dish-

Ingredients-

  1. Small pieces of chicken (about 500 grams)
  2. leafy mustard greens shredded with hands as we want a raw texture (about 100 grams)
  3. Onions (3 medium size)
  4. Ginger and garlic paste, one tablespoon
  5. Mustard seeds, one teaspoon
  6. Oil, 2 tablespoons
  7. Green chillies, finely chopped (according to your taste)
  8. Black pepper, one teaspoon
  9. Potatoes cut into large cubed (2 medium size)
  10. Salt to taste

Method-

  1. Marinate the chicken with ginger, garlic, finely chopped green chillies, black pepper and if possible mustard paste (optional) for about one hour
  2. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and wait for them to splutter
  3. Add finely chopped onions, cook till golden brown
  4. Add salt
  5. Adding a pinch of sugar is optional (if you want to give it a nice colour)
  6. Put the chicken and the cubed potatoes in the pan, cook till golden brown (about 15-20 minutes over medium flame)
  7. Cover the pan with a lid and let the mixture cook in its own juice
  8. When the chicken and the potatoes are nicely cooked, add the mustard greens
  9. The mustard greens will leave lots of water and soon reduce in size
  10. Cook for 5 minutes and turn off the heat
  11. You can add water if you want a thin gravy
  12. Or you can let the water evaporate and make it a dry dish

 

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