part-time musings

Tag: Bombay

Mystery murgh makhni recipe…

Matt’s recent culinary experiments inspired me to offer him my recipe for Murgh Makhni (Butter Chicken). So this is it. I can’t remember where I got it – it’s written out on a sheet of Mount Nelson notepaper, but I last stayed there ten years ago and have to say can’t remember it involving any recipe swapping. Mystery. Anyway, it’s easy peasy despite the longish list of ingredients, and as good as any chicken I’ve had in India.

Heat the oven to 180C (which Google tells me is 350F).

This is for about 1 kg of chicken fillets, preferably thighs.

2 inches fresh ginger root, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

80g ground almonds

170ml plain yoghurt

4 green cardamon pods

1/2 red chilli, chopped finely (or chilli powder if that’s what I have. I’m not Martha Stewart)

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (or, yes, whole cloves if that’s what you have. Really)

1/2 ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon garam masala (mine’s from my favourite Bombay mum, Mrs Goregoaker. I’m eking it out till I go back. Also, this is a hint to anyone who’s reading this who may, for example, be stopping over in Bombay en route from Singapore in July. Ahem.)

About 300g of chopped tomatoes

Salt for seasoning

large onion, sliced

about 5 tablespoons of ghee (or, let’s be realistic here, butter or margarine or your favourite lactose-free alternative)(And yes I know it’s a lot. Don’t freak out, it’s Butter Chicken, remember.)

4ish tablespoons of cream

5ish tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves (cilantro, for our American friends)

Grate the ginger and garlic, and add to a dish that can go in the fridge. Add to this, the ground almonds, the yoghurt, chilli, spices, tomatoes, and salt. Add the chicken and give it a good mix. Cover and pop in the frigo to marinade for a couple of hours. Now fry the onion in the ghee/butter/alternative until soft and brown. Easy tiger, you’re not looking for blackened onions here so be gentle and keep an eye on it. Then add the chicken and the tomato/yoghurt marinade and fry for a few minutes. Add the coriander and the cream and maybe a mug of water if it’s looking a bit dry or you want it to stay in the oven for a bit longer. Bake it in the oven for an hour, or up to two hours. I start it off covered with a lid, then remove the cover about half an hour before the end to let the edges brown a little.  Voila.


Tippling through India. Bombay. Part 2.

Generally speaking I like my drinks like I like my drinks – cold, strong and uncomplicated. So usually you’ll find me ordering martinis or G&Ts. But very occasionally I’ll try something else, particularly if it’s the specialty drink of the house. In my house the specialty drink is a champagne cocktail. At the legendary Harbour Bar in Bombay, the house drink is the ‘Harbour 1933’. It comes with a story as long and fruity as the concoction itself – something about marking the end of Prohibition in the US – which the barman narrates while engaged in the complex mixing process.  When I say complex, I mean it involves a tray, a Boston shaker, several glasses, exotic fruit, and something that looks like a bunsen burner.  The fruit is warmed with some Chartreuse in a brandy glass over the burner before being set alight and poured into the cold part of the drink.

Having experimented eventfully with recreating this drink at home, I can only recommend that setting fire to drinks in this manner is best left to the professionals.  Much to the relief of everyone who knows me, I’ve developed a non-flambéed ‘cold’ version of this drink for the domestic setting which I’m calling a Cold Harbour.

Cold Harbour

  • One double shot of Tanqueray 10
  • Half a shot of yellow Chartreuse
  • Half a shot of peach liqueur
  • Some pear, finely chopped
  • Sprinkling of pomegranate seeds
  • Three double shots of pear or litchi juice
  • 5-6 ice cubes

Combine. Stir. Drink. Repeat.  (Or – although I haven’t tried this yet – I’m pretty sure the volumes could be ‘scaled up’ to make a decent punch come the Summer.)

Tippling through India. Bombay. Part 1.

I bring you news, Dear Readers, from the Indian Subcontinent! As you know, I have a deeply-held conviction that travel is made bearable only by the frequent application of G&Ts. And obviously the fact that ‘Indian Tonic Water’ is one of the principal ingredients of a good G&T means that India is soundly on my list of desirable travel destinations.

Due to the vagaries of modern air travel, flights to Bombay* arrive typically in the less sociable hours of the early morning. The city is only slightly less frenetic at this time than it is at other points in the day. Stepping off the quiet, cold stupor of the plane one has the choice of either being overwhelmed by the noise, humidity, and excitement of the city or embracing it. But you’d be missing some of the greatest fun of your life if you didn’t choose the latter. Despite my instant affection for this bustling, charming city, I’ll admit that when I finally reached the tranquility of the Taj Palace I was pleased to wrap my hand around an ice cold Hendricks G&T, garnished, as it ‘always‘ is, the barman tells me, with cucumber to elevate the cucumber notes of the gin. Why didn’t I have a Bombay Sapphire G&T you wonder? Because, Dear Readers, this gal is many things, but she endevours never, ever to be obvious.

*Yes I KNOW it’s really called Mumbai. But I have yet to meet a person who lives in the city who doesn’t refer to it as