Jardallo ma murghi

Jardallo ma murghi

Chicken with apricots

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

This sounds very basic but it is a very popular Parsee chicken dish served at festive occasions, weddings etc. The Parsee tradition of cooking with dry and fresh fruits dates back to our ancestry from Persia. The Persians, incidentally, were the first to establish cooking as an art as well as turn it into a culinary form. The apricots used here come from India or Pakistan and have a stone which, when cracked, yields a tasty nut. You can find them in Indian food stores. They taste richer and less tart than other dried apricots. We Parsees would garnish this with sali – crisp straw potatoes. You could buy crisp potato sticks and heat them briefly in the oven.



Quantity Ingredient
6-8 dried red chillies
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2.5cm cinnamon stick
4-5 green cardamom pods, split
4-5 cloves

For the chicken

Quantity Ingredient
200g dried apricots
250ml hot water
4 tablespoons sunflower or rapeseed oil
2 x 2.5 cm pieces cinnamon stick
2 onions, chopped
2 heaped teaspoons garlic and ginger paste
or 6 garlic cloves, crushed, and 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
500-600g boneless chicken, cut into 2 cm dice
salt, to taste
4 tomatoes, chopped
1-2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
Makki ki roti
or Chapattis
Baafaela chawal


  1. Grind the masala ingredients in a clean coffee grinder, small food processor, mortar with a pestle or in a small bowl with the end of a rolling pin. Set aside.
  2. Soak the apricots in the water for 2–3 hours (or overnight if more convenient) until soft and swollen. The Indian apricots will have a stone inside, which you may like to remove before putting them into the gravy. We do not do so at home, instead we put them on the side when we eat the meal and then crack and eat them later. If you do remove the stones, they may lose their texture and pulp into the sauce.
  3. When ready to cook the chicken, heat the oil in a heavy-based pan until hazy and add the cinnamon sticks. When they have absorbed some of the oil and puffed a bit – about 1 minutes – add the onions and brown slowly.
  4. When the onions are browned add the ginger and garlic and the prepared masala and sauté well until the oil, which has been absorbed, is released slowly around the edges of the onions.
  5. Add the chicken and sauté for 4–5 minutes or until half done. Add a little salt, the chopped tomatoes and the soaked apricots and any residual soaking water, mix well, cover and simmer until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.
  6. If the sauce is too thin, uncover and cook for a few minutes until rich and thick but take care not to overcook the chicken. If really necessary, remove the chicken with a slotted spoon before boiling the sauce rapidly to thicken and reduce, then return the chicken to the pan.
  7. Stir in the chopped coriander, taste and re-season, if necessary. Sprinkle with the straw potatoes and serve with bread or chapattis, or boiled rice.
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