Murgh Cholay (chicken and chickpeas)

I had a lot of fun making this dish. This is a classic dish you will find across every menu in every restaurant in the Punjab Province of Pakistan. But this classic flavour is enjoyed by all Pakistani’s across the country. It’s a spicy, tangy and packs-a-punch kind of dish. I have eaten this many times during our trips to Islamabad, Lahore and northern hilly areas of and near Lake Saiful Mulook. And I remember it being the dish of the day everywhere we went! The last time I tried this wonderful delight was in 1999! So I was intrigued by the thought of making it when I saw a spice mix for it in the grocery aisle of our local Pakistani store in Abu Dhabi.

On a side note it fascinates me that with technology and innovation we can enjoy foods, fruits and flavours from around the globe in the comfort of our home or if you’re not too kitchen-savvy then at least in or around your city. I love travelling and have always taken a keen interest in trying out the authentic local cuisines of every place I visited (given certain dietary restrictions such as no pork, no meat, no alcohol, no gelatin, etc.). Nonetheless I enjoy cooking up the flavours of far away lands and getting to enjoy them without the hassle of having to take off my shoes at every immigration/ customs checkpoint at airports.

Long story, short! Tried it, loved it! I used a ready made spice mix once and the next time I just read all the ingredients from the packet and added them in individually (based mrely on approximation of trying to achieve the remembered flavour, no proper measurements) only because as part of the Pakistani spice rack, I have all the individual ingredients stocked up. My sister insists that I did a better job than the manufactured spice mix of a leading export brand of Pakistan, and I chalk that up to sisterly love! And maybe the fact that she wants to butter me up so that she can come over to eat this and many more delicious foods at my house whenever she likes! Well I say, no problem my dear, I love you and your appreciation and enthusiasm to try out all the things I cook for my family! You and your little munchkins are always welcome in my house and on my table. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Thanks Fa!

Happy cooking everyone!



  • 250g ghee/butter/vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 750g chicken, skin off and cut into 8-10 pieces
  • 2 cups water
  • 300g / 1 can chickpeas/ garbanzo, drained 
  • 3/4 packet Shan Murgh Cholay Curry Mix
  • 3-4 green chillies, whole


  1. Heat the ghee or butter or oil (use whichever you prefer, I used oil because ghee and butter make it very heavy on the stomach) and fry the onions until golden. Add the garlic paste and the chicken and stir fry it for a few minutes til the chicken pieces get a nice golden color on them.
  2. Add the water to the pan, cover and cook for at least 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is completely tender. I add in a few whole green chillies at this stage as they impart a nice aroma into the dish without adding to the heat in the dish.
  3. In a separate bowl place the drained chickpeas and add the Shan Murgh Cholay Curry Mix and mix it well with chickpeas so that they are all coated with the spice mix.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked through, add the spiced up chickpeas into the pan. Stir together and cook for 5-10 minutes on low flame until the oil separates from the gravy. Garnish with chopped green chillies, chopped coriander, julienne ginger and a pinch of garam masala. Serve with hot naan bread and enjoy! 

If you are not licking your fingers because you enjoyed this dish sooooooooo much, then there is something seriously wrong with you! I’m kidding to each his own. I do hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we did. Thanks for reading. 

P.S. In case you don’t find the curry mix or want to create your own flavour then here are the ingredients you will need to coat the chickpeas. I can’t give any exact measurements for this because I just winged it. You will have to make a blend that suits your tastebuds.

Ingredients for Murgh Cholay Spice Mix

  • Coriander powder
  • Red chilli powder
  • Large whole dried red chillies
  • Cloves
  • Black cardamoms
  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric powder
  • Nutmeg powder
  • Mace
  • Cumin powder
  • Bay leaves
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Black pepper



    2 Comments Add yours

    1. hynasami3 says:

      I want to be your munchkin too…

      1. Nida Sami says:

        You are much more than that! And I’m waiting, you come my house! In Shaa Allah!

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

    Google photo

    You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s