Morog Polao is another discovery for me! Within the same week that Bangladesh kacchi biryani became my new-found favorite, I found myself looking for variations of biryani and concentrated on one more from Bangladesh. With my success in the first two recipes as they were glorious, finding out more is, of course, the next best thing. Morog Polou is Bangladeshi’s term for chicken biryani. However, chicken biryani and morog polau are different in a lot of ways. I would share the recipe for morog polao with you here.
I tried a recipe from the internet and made a few variations brought by my inability to find all the spices from where I am in Saudi Arabia. However, as I am not that courageous to risk not getting the recipe right, I asked an expert. A Bangladeshi friend confirmed with me that what I have is fine.
What is Morog Polau?
We should ask that question first, right? Let’s straighten things out, I was about to say, until I got to read this in Wikipedia. It is interesting reading and has loads of information from history to variation in the name of the dish, and which country has what – all surrounding the word Polao.
Polau, pulao, pilaf, biryani, etc. confirm that the same dish exists in different parts of the world and is called a different name accordingly. “There are thousands of variations of pilaf made with rice or other grains like bulgur. In Central Asia there are plov, pilau on the Indian subcontinent, and variations from Turkmenistan and Turkey. Some include different combinations of meats, fruits or vegetables, while others are simple and served plain. In the present day, Central Asian, Indian, Turkish cuisine, Iranian and Caribbean cuisine are considered the five major schools of pilaf.”
Where is Morog Polao from?
As we are in Bangladesh, let me pick what Wiki said about morog polao: In Bangladesh, Polao, Fulao, Holao or Fulab, is a popular dish cooked with rice and meat (chicken or mutton or beef). Polao is a rice dish, cooked in seasoned broth with rice, meat and spices. The rice is made in mutton or beef or chicken stock and an array of spices including coriander seeds, cumin, cardamom, cloves and others.
How to cook Morog Polao
Morog polau is cooked with chicken, and is popular in occasions, especially wedding ceremonies. I would not call this one easy at this stage yet, because I still find the list of spices and the steps challenging. One thing I can guarantee, however, is that “the moment this dish touches your mouth, you would forget the time you had spent cooking it.” Similar to my husband’s favorite phrase, “good things are worth waiting for.” This dish is a perfect example.
The secrets to perfecting the taste of Morog Polao
This will guarantee that the rice, when done, do not stick to each other. Also, the aroma of the spices are magnified when they are mixed with Basmati rice.
Ratio of water and rice.
Ensure that the ratio of the rice and water is 1:1.5. I used 4 cups of rice with 6 cups of water in this dish. It came out perfectly, despite my initial fear! I have not been good in cooking meat and rice together, but this one was cooperative, or was I?
This is best served with what they call Bengali Garden Salad. You can get the recipe of this salad here.
For the chicken:
- 1 kilo chicken cut into pieces
- 2 cups onion thinly sliced
- 4 tbsps onion paste
- 3 tbsps ginger and garlic paste
- ½ tsp nutmeg powder
- ½ tsp garam masala
- 2 tbsps ghee
- ½ cup oil
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- Yellow color or saffron threads soaked in 1/8 cup fresh milk
- Salt to taste
- 2 cups yogurt
- ¼ cup evaporated milk
- 2 tbsps fresh cream I used Nestle cream
- 2 tbsps milk powder
For the rice:
- 4 cups Basmati rice
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 6 green cardamom
- 5 cloves
- 2 pieces of cinnamon sticks about an inch each
- 2 black cardamom
- ½ cup Milk
- ¼ tsp Saffron
- 5 tbsps Ghee
- About 5 tbsps cooking oil
Soak the rice in water for 30 minutes. Drain and keep aside.
Clean chicken pieces and and pat dry with kitchen towel. Roll in yellow color or saffron-milk mix.
Fry chicken pieces until golden brown and keep aside.
Using the same pot, fry the sliced onion until they become golden brown. Set aside.
Fry the cashew and raisins and keep aside.
Still using the same pot, add onion paste, ginger and garlic paste to the oil and sauté for few minutes.
Add the chicken pieces. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well, then cook covered for a few minutes, followed by the fried onion. Mix again.
In another pot, heat ghee and oil, then add the whole spices and fry for a couple of minutes. This is the best part, when the aroma fills the kitchen!
Add rice and stir until it starts to become a bit transparent. Move the rice to the side of the pot, making a well in the middle then put the chicken pieces with all its sauce. Ladle the rice back to the middle covering the chicken pieces.
Add hot water – 1 is to 1.5, or 6 cups in this case.
Add salt. Cover and cook until the rice is cooked.
Remember the other set of saffron and milk mix? Sprinkle this onto the rice and top with nuts and sultanas (if using) and the rest of the browned onion slices.