Best Murgir Lal Jhol

From the rich culinary traditions of India, one dish that stands out not only for its exquisite taste but also for its vibrant appearance is “Murgir Lal Jhol,” or chicken red broth. Indeed, in many Bengali homes, Murgir Lal Jhol holds a special place as a traditional and cherished Sunday lunch dish. Sundays are often reserved for elaborate and flavorful meals, and Murgir Lal Jhol perfectly fits the bill. The tantalizing aroma of the spices, the vibrant red color, and the rich, hearty flavors make it a delightful centerpiece for a family gathering.

This beloved Bengali dish not only satisfies the taste buds but also brings families together, creating lasting memories around the dining table. Whether it’s a relaxed Sunday brunch or a festive occasion, Murgir Lal Jhol is a symbol of Bengali culinary heritage and a testament to the love for good food shared by generations.

Since childhood, many of us have been captivated by the allure of a deep lal jhol / red broth in our meat and fish curries. In this article, we will delve into the delightful world of Murgir Lal Jhol, exploring its origins, ingredients, and a step-by-step guide to preparing this mouthwatering dish.

The Allure of Lal Jhol:

The fascination with red broth is not limited to one’s childhood; it is a sentiment shared by many. There’s something inherently enticing about a fiery red curry, a visual treat that ignites our senses even before we take the first bite. The magic of Murgir Lal Jhol lies in its striking appearance, thanks to a unique layer of red oil that forms on the surface during cooking.

A Brief History:

Murgir Lal Jhol traces its roots to the heart of Bengali cuisine, where food is not just a meal but a celebration of flavours. This dish has been a staple in Bengali households for generations, and it has found its way into the hearts and plates of food enthusiasts worldwide.

Ingredients You’ll Need For Murgir Lal Jhol:

For the Marination:

  1. Chicken: Opt for fresh, tender pieces of chicken. You can choose bone-in or boneless, depending on your preference.

  2. Spices: Gather an assortment of aromatic spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, and dry red chilies. These spices infuse the broth with a depth of flavour.

  3. Onions and Tomatoes: Onions provide sweetness and body to the curry, while tomatoes add a hint of tanginess.

  4. Garlic and Ginger: Freshly crushed garlic and ginger paste will enhance the curry’s taste and aroma.

  5. Red Chili Powder: For that fiery red hue, you’ll need quality red chili powder.

  6. Turmeric Powder: This imparts a warm yellow colour to the broth.

  7. Potato: Potatoes absorb the flavours of the spices. They also provide a contrasting texture to the tender chicken, with their soft interior and slightly crispy exterior when cooked.

  8. Curd: Curd makes the chicken meat more tender. 
  9. Garam Masala: Garam masala adds a depth of flavour and complexity to chicken dishes. 
  10. Mustard Oil: A must-have for authentic Bengali flavour, mustard oil also plays a crucial role in forming the iconic red layer.

  11. Salt: To taste, and don’t forget to season generously.

How to Make Murgir Lal Jhol:

Now, let’s get down to the business of making Murgir Lal Jhol. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you recreate this delectable dish at home:

1: Marinate the Chicken: Start by marinating the chicken pieces with a pinch of salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, ginger-onion paste and mustard oil. Allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes.

2: Saute Potato: Heat mustard oil in a pan until it starts to smoke slightly. Lower the heat and add potato pieces sprinkle a little amount of salt. Saute for 2-3 minutes and keep them aside.

3: Sauté the Aromatics: In the same oil add the whole spices (cinnamon, bay leaves).
Add finely chopped onions and cook until they turn translucent, Stir in the garlic and ginger paste and sauté for a few minutes until the raw smell disappears.

4: Add the Spice: Pour red chili powder and turmeric powder.

5: Introduce the Chicken and potatoes: Now, add the marinated chicken pieces and the diced potatoes and sear them until they turn brown. Add a little amount of sugar to balance the taste.

6: Incorporate curd:  Add curd. Cover the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes on high heat. Continue to cook until they soften and meld into the gravy.

7: Simmer with Water: Pour in enough water to cover the chicken pieces. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the chicken is tender and the flavours meld together.

8: The Red Layer: As the chicken cooks, you’ll notice a layer of red oil forming on the surface. This is the hallmark of Murgir Lal Jhol.

10. Simmer to Perfection: Pour in enough water to cover the ingredients, bring it to a boil, then simmer until the chicken is tender and the potatoes are cooked through. Raw mustard oil and garam masala should be added at the end to give a extra flavour to the cooking.

Serving Suggestions: 

Murgir Lal Jhol pairs wonderfully with fluffy steamed Basmati rice. The mild, aromatic rice complements the spicy curry, creating a perfect balance of flavors


Q: What is Murgir Lal Jhol?

A: Murgir Lal Jhol is a traditional Bengali chicken curry known for its vibrant red colour and rich flavours. It features chicken cooked in a spicy and aromatic gravy, with a distinct red oil layer that forms on the surface during cooking.

Q: What gives Murgir Lal Jhol its red color?

A: The fiery red color of Murgir Lal Jhol primarily comes from the use of high-quality red chili powder and mustard oil. The combination of spices and oil creates the iconic red layer.

Q: Is Murgir Lal Jhol very spicy?

A: The spiciness of Murgir Lal Jhol can be adjusted to suit your taste. While it is known for its heat, you can control the level of spiciness by modifying the amount of chili powder and whole red chilies you use.

Murgir Lal Jhol is not just a meal; it’s an experience that engages your senses from the moment you set your eyes on its fiery red hue. This beloved Bengali dish combines the rich heritage of Indian cuisine with a vibrant visual appeal that has captured hearts worldwide.

Now that you have the secrets to creating this enticing delicacy, it’s time to step into your kitchen and embark on a culinary journey that will leave you and your loved ones craving for more. So go ahead, savor the flavors, and relish the artistry of Murgir Lal Jhol. Happy cooking!

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Murgir Lal Jhol

Course: Main CourseCuisine: Indian


Prep time


Cooking time






  • For the Marination:

    • 500 grams of chicken pieces (bone-in for more flavor)
    • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 tablespoon  ginger paste
    • 1½ tablespoon onion paste
    • 1½ tablespoon mustard oil


  • For the Curry:

    • 3-4 tablespoons mustard oil (or any cooking oil)
    • 3 medium-sized Potatoes
    • 1 large onion, finely chopped
    • 2 small sticks cinnamon 
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 tablespoon garlic finely chopped
    • 1 teaspoon ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1/ teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 3 tablespoon curd
    • 1 cup hot water
    • 1 tablespoon garam masala
    • salt to taste


  • Marinate chicken with turmeric, red chili powder, salt, ginger paste, onion and and mustard oil. Marinate 30 minutes.

  • Heat oil on a pan. Add potato dices with little amount of salt. Saute for 2-3 minutes and keep them aside.

  • Add cinnamon stick, bay leaf.

  • Add garlic, ginger, Cook till fragrant. 

  • Add onions and salt. Sauté until translucent.

  • Add spices, turmeric powder, red chilli powder. cook for 2-3 minutes.

  • Add marinated chicken and fried potatoes, sear them for a few minutes. Add a little amount of sugar to balance the taste.

  • Add curd. Cover the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes on high heat 

  • Pour water to make gravy. Add mustard oil (if you like the raw fragrance of mustard oil,) and garam masala. Let them cook for another 10 mintues. 

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