MARANDHU SELLU CHICKEN CURRY
This Indian Recipe Serves 4-5
Marandhu Sellu Chicken Curry is typically a chicken curry cooked with an Indian spice known as Marandhu Sellu (Birth Masala). It is also sometimes referred to as Maranshil or Maransil which translates to Mortal – yep that’s how good of a spice this is.
The term Birth Masala came from our ancestors as this spice was regularly used for women after giving birth, known as the postpartum period. The reason for this was to detoxify the mother’s body, help regain her strength & regulate milk production, relieve water retention & also help prevent the flu/cold.
It has been passed down for many generations in the Indian culture & we were always told not to consume this spice during pregnancy as it causes indigestion, heat in the uterus which can lead to excessive menstrual bleeding & possibly miscarriage. I am no doctor so please seek professional advise if you do want to consume this spice during pregnancy. Some have said to have had it during pregnancy with no issues.
In South Africa, this spice is used in drinks, soups & curries as such. In India however, they do not use this spice in meat dishes – only in drinks for medicinal purposes.
I find this spice to be very addictive as it is adds a lot of flavour to curries. It is most commonly used in Chicken curries (in South Africa) but I actually prefer it more in a lamb curry!
This spice was not easily accessible in the past but nowadays it can be found in local spice store – I get my supply at Gorima’s.
Marandhu Sellu Chicken Curry Ingredients:
- 1 whole chicken or a tray of chicken pieces
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 green chilies
- 1 onion
- 3 sprigs thyme
- salt to taste
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star aniseed
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin (jeera) seeds
- ½ teaspoon fennel (soomph) seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin (jeera) powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander (dhania) powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon cardamom (elachi) powder
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 2 teaspoons Birth Masala (Marandhu Sellu)
- 3 tablespoons chili powder/masala
- 2 potatoes (optional)
- 2 teaspoons ginger & garlic paste
- fresh dhania (coriander) for garnishing
- Cut whole chicken & remove the skin if you prefer not consuming that in the curry. Rinse & place into a bowl.
- Peel & chop the onion.
- Rinse & slit the green chilies.
- Rinse the tomatoes & either blend or grate it. It may be chopped but I find it cooks faster & forms more gravy by blending or grating them.
- Pour the vegetable oil to a large pot. Allow the oil to heat on medium high heat. Thereafter, add in the onions, green chilies & thyme.
- Thereafter, add in the bay leaves & the curry leaves.
- Then add in the cinnamon stick & star aniseed.
- Add in the cumin (jeera) seeds & the fennel (soomph) seeds.
- Mix & allow to simmer until the onions are translucent.
- Once the onions are translucent, add in the turmeric powder, red chili flakes, cardamom (elachi) powder, cumin (jeera) powder, coriander (dhania) powder, garam masala, birth masala (marandhu sellu) & the chili powder/masala.
- Add in the ginger & garlic paste.
- Mix well & allow to simmer for 30 seconds.
- Thereafter, add in the chicken pieces & salt to taste.
- Give it a good mix.
- Make sure that the chicken is thoroughly coated in the spices. Lower the heat if it tends to catch at the surface of the pot. Do not add any water.
- Cover with a lid & allow the chicken to seal in the spices for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, give the chicken a stir.
- Add in the tomatoes.
- Pour in a little water, approximately ¼ cup.
- Mix well.
- Cover with a lid & allow to cook for 20 minutes. Check on it every now & again so that it does not burn & add very little water if necessary.
- Peel & cut the potatoes into quarters.
- After cooking the chicken for 15 minutes, notice how the tomatoes have cooked down to form a delicious gravy.
- Add in the potatoes & some water.
- Mix well, coating the potatoes thoroughly.
- Lower the heat to the second heat level & tuck the potatoes into the gravy. This will result in those gravy soaked potatoes.
- Cover with a lid & allow to cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, the potatoes should be cooked. If not, add a little water & allow it to cook until soft.
- Turn off the heat & garnish with fresh coriander (dhania).
- Plate & serve.
- This Marandhu Sellu Chicken Curry goes well with roti, bread or rice & pickles or carrot salad.
- Serve with rice, bread, puff pastry roti or plain roti & a side of or pickles.