Dum Ka Murgh is served in a tiny shallow pan and served alongside naan and steamed rice

Dum Ka Murgh / दम का मुर्ग

Dum ka murgh is the legendary Hyderabadi chicken curry, slow cooked in a richly spiced creamy sauce.

I cooked it today for Gatari Amavasya (गटारी अमावस्या), the new moon night when Maharashtrians indulge in meaty feasts and binge on booze before the onset of the holy month of ‘Shravan’ when they’re required to abstain from meat and alcohol. It’s not compulsory to follow though.

In my book though, dum ka murgh is a dish fit for any occasion. My husband even hinted that he’d quite like it for his Christmas dinner (he’s not a great fan of turkey).

For such a fine dish it doesn’t take a whole load of effort. That’s just as well, festivals come thick and fast in our house and my busy life doesn’t let me spend all day in the kitchen for each and every one. Who can do that these days?

There’s a bit of prep and you’ll need to make a birista of crispy fried onions as well as a masala paste but with that done it’s just a matter of popping it in the oven and getting on with something else for an hour or so. You may find it a little tricky to concentrate on other jobs though, with the spicy aromas wafting around your kitchen, getting your taste buds in the mood for the feast ahead. I tried distracting myself with some chores in the garden but the enticing smell still got to me and even made the neighbours quite jealous.

But back to the dish of the day, after a very long hour your dum ka murgh is ready and all it needs is a handful of fresh coriander, mint, and another sprinkle of that birista to make it ready to serve with some simple boiled rice. But if you like it smokey as well, give it a dhungar. Enjoy!

Dum Ka Murgh / दम का मुर्ग

Recipe by RieethaaCourse: MainCuisine: Indian, HydrabadiDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time






  • For the birista
  • 4 large onions (sliced)

  • 120ml sunflower oil

  • For the masala
  • 70g or ½ cup cashew nuts

  • 50g or ¼ cup dry coconut (diced)

  • 25g or ¼ cup almond flakes

  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds

  • 4 green chillies

  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil

  • Spice powders
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

  • 1 tsp cardamom powder

  • 1 tsp coriander powder

  • 2 tsp garam masala powder

  • 1 tsp black pepper powder

  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder

  • Whole spices
  • 1 tbsp cloves

  • 1 tsp caraway seeds (shahi jeera)

  • 2 black cardamom

  • 2 star anise

  • 1 long cinnamon stick (broken into halves)

  • 1 tsp whole black pepper

  • 4 bay leaves

  • Key ingredients for the marinade
  • 1.2 kg chicken thighs on the bone

  • juice of 1 lime or lemon

  • 100ml warm milk

  • 1 tsp saffron

  • 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt

  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste

  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander (chopped)

  • 2 tbsp ghee

  • 1 tsp salt

  • For the dhungar
  • 1 small piece of charcoal

  • 2 tsp ghee 

  • a tiny heat-proof (steel) bowl

  • For garnish
  • A small ¼ bunch of fresh coriander (chopped)

  • 1 tbsp fresh mint (chopped)

  • 2 green chillies (slit) (optional)

  • Pot Needed
  • A saucepan

  • A glazed oven-proof lidded earthenware pot


  • Make a birista by shallow frying the onions in the oil in a saucepan. Add a tsp of salt to speed up the process. This could take 15-20 minutes over low to medium heat.
  • Meanwhile, shallow fry the nuts and poppy seeds along with the dry coconut in 2 tbsp oil. Grind together along with the green chillies and a tbsp of water.
  • Once the fried onions (from step 1) have adequately browned, transfer them onto a kitchen towel and allow to cool and crisp up.
  • Transfer the chicken into an oven-proof and lidded earthenware pot along with 
    a. the ghee, salt, ginger-garlic-paste, lemon juice, all the spice powders, warm milk infused with saffron, Greek yoghurt
    b. all the whole spices mentioned above
    c. the ground masala from step 2
    d. ¾ of the birista along with the birista oil
  • Marinate for an hour (optional).
  • Place the pot in a pre-heated oven for an hour at 160C.
  • Once cooked garnish with the remaining birista, slit green chillies along with some freshly chopped coriander and mint.
  • Make a dhungar with charcoal and ghee in the pot – Place a tiny steel bowl inside the earthenware pot. Heat the charcoal and place it inside the bowl using a pair of tongs. Now pour the ghee over the hot charcoal. Cover with the lid immediately so that the smoke stays in the pot. Rest for 15-20 minutes. Open the lid and serve warm.

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