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Recipe: Richard Holkar's Murgi Survedar

Last updated on: April 27, 2024 10:06 IST
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IMAGE: Richard Holkar is the princely descendant of Maharani Ahilyabai and the son of the last maharaja of Indore.
Photograph: Kind courtesy Richard Holkar/Instagram

Richard Holkar's Murgi Survedar is a must addition to a truly royal weekend food spread. The chicken is first fried with garlic, ginger and cashews. Water is then added to create a chicken broth. A portion of this aromatic broth, the chicken pieces are later added to a gravy flavoured with spices, yoghurt, coconut cream, poppy seeds.

Holkar, zealously involved with Maheshwar, the former capital of the Holkar state, has been responsible for the restoration of the magnificent Ahilya Fort, on the gently-flowing Narmada, and turning it into a luxurious heritage property. He is also deeply passionate about the production and preservation of traditional Maheshwar weaves and handloom through the Rewa Society, an organisation that plays an important role in empowering local craftsmanship.

Holkar's elegant chicken dish has a place in Sunita Kohli's The India Cookbook, which is 'a personal culinary journey that celebrates the friendships and good-will of well-wishers across India'.

Chicken Curry

Kindly note the image has only been posted for representational purposes.
Photograph: Kind courtesy E4024/Wikimedia Commons

Murgi Survedar

Serves: 4-6


For the chicken

  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
  • 700 gm chicken pieces
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • ½ tsp haldi or turmeric
  • 30 cashews, unsalted
  • Water

For the masala

  • ½ tsp lavang or clove powder
  • ½ tsp dalcheeni or cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp green elaichi or cardamom powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper powder
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 8 garlic pods
  • 2½ tbsp minced onion
  • ¼ cup water

For the assembly

  • 6 tbsp ghee
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup yoghurt
  • 1 cup thick coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp khus khus or poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp of chopped fresh green dhania or coriander or cilantro


For the chicken

  • Begin by preparing the chicken (use the ingredients listed for the chicken) and add the garlic, ginger, and ghee/oil into a blender and purée.
    Pour this purée into a heavy, medium-sized saucepan and saute over medium heat for 5 minutes.
    Ensure that the masala does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
    Add a little water if required.
    Add all the remaining ingredients, including the chicken pieces, salt, turmeric powder, cashews.
    Mix well.
    Increase the heat and continue frying, adding a little water from time to time, until the chicken has fried and is golden and all the liquid has evaporated.
    Add 3 cups of boiling water.
    Cover and simmer until just tender.
    Take off heat.
    Take out the the chicken pieces and nuts, drain, and keep aside.
    Strain the broth, reduce to 1 cup, and keep aside.

For the masala

  • One by one, drop all the ingredients listed for the masala into a blender; pulverise each before adding the next.
    Add ¼ cup water and blend to a smooth, thick paste.
    Keep the masala aside next to stove.


  • In a heavy, medium-sized saucepan, heat the ghee and fry the onions until they just turn golden.
    Take off the heat, stir in the masala mixture, yoghurt, coconut cream, poppy seeds.
    Return to heat and continue frying, scraping the bottom of the pan and stirring with a spatula.
    Add 1 tbsp of boiling water whenever necessary to prevent sticking.
    Continue until the butter bubbles up to the top of the paste and the masala moves as a single mass when stirred.
    Add the reserved broth, cooked chicken, nuts.
    Mix and heat until warmed through.
    Do not allow the curry to boil.
  • Sprinkle 2 tbsp of fresh chopped coriander on top and to serve. 


Sunita Kohli is a New Delhi designer and architect. Her book is a collection of eclectic recipes from homes she has dined at in the capital and elsewhere.

Please do have a look at Nalini and P Chidambaram's recipe for Crab Masala, Shashi Tharoor's Idlis and Pheroza And Jamshed Godrej's Baked Eggs.

This recipe was excerpted with the kind permission of the publishers, Aleph Book Company from The India Cookbook: From The Tables Of My Friends, selected and edited by Sunita Kohli.


Lead photograph: Kind courtesy Richard Holkar/Instagram

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