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Gucchi Aur Murgh Kalia (Chicken and Morel Curry)

This is a North Indian recipe (Lucknow & Awadh) found in the book “Curry” by Vivek Singh.

We would be delighted if you used our morels – they are foraged in the Western Cape and are available in 15g packets here!

Serves 4-6
Aromatic and spicy

Chicken and Morel Curry

In the mid-18th century, competition between rakabdars (chefs) in Lucknow was at its peak. Each tried to outdo the others by creating ever more sophisticated dishes. Addition of gold leaf was, and still is, the ultimate luxurious adornment.” -Vivek Singh


  • 50g large dried morels
  • 500g onions, finely sliced
  • oil for deep-frying
  • 300g plain yogurt
  • 100g ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp royal cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp whole allspice
  • ½ nutmeg
  • 1 blade mace
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 1kg boned chicken thighs, excess fat removed and each cut lengthways in half
  • 2 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 100ml single cream
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • ½ tsp ground garam masala
  • few drops of rose water (optional)
  • 2 sheets of gold leaf (optional)


  1. Wash the morels thoroughly to get rid of any grit. Soak in 200ml water for 30 minutes to rehydrate. Drain the morels, reserving the liquid, and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  2. While the morels are soaking, deep-fry the onions until golden. Drain, them blend with 50g of the yogurt and a little water to make a paste.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan and add ½ teaspoon of the royal cumin. When it crackles, add the morels and sauté for a couple of minutes over a moderate heat. Using a slotted spoon remove the morels from the pan and set aside.
  4. Heat the rest of the ghee in the pan and add the whole spices, together with the remaining royal cumin. Stir for 1-2 minutes, then add the chicken pieces. Sauté for 2-3 minutes on a high heat, then add the onion, ginger, and garlic pastes and mix together. Stir for another 2-3 minutes. Add the red chilli powder and salt and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the remaining yogurt, little by little. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the stock and the reserved morel soaking liquid. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer gently until the chicken is cooked.
  5. Remove the chicken pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside. Pass the sauce through a sieve, then return to the pan and bring back to the boil. Boil until reduced to a sauce-like consistency.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream, saffron, and garam masala. Add the chicken pieces and simmer briefly to heat up. Lastly, just before serving, add the morels and finish with the rose water, if using. Transfer to a shallow dish and garnish with the optional gold leaf.
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