Post Agatha Christie old Delhi-style Chicken aka Modu Murgh

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is the world’s longest longest running play – now in its 63rd year. It’s classic Christie – the characters all isolated in a guest house and one of them is a murderer. It’s a mixture of 1950s drawing-room farce and murder mystery. Not great art, but nevertheless an entertaining period piece.

It was the play that we happened to see on a regular theatre evening with friends at the Salisbury Playhouse. Afterwards we went, as usual, to Anokaa, an Indian restaurant conveniently both near and open post-theatre, with speedy service and good food.

My choice is almost always the Modu Murg, an old Delhi-style honey and orange-glazed chicken chargrilled then simmered in a fresh tomato gravy with cream of coconut and fenugreek. Go to my post on fenugreek for more on that wonderful spice.

Recipe for modu murgh – chicken with honey, coconut cream and fenugreek

Serves 6-8


  • 1 kg/2 lbs chicken breasts, sliced into pieces about 1 cm thick
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp blood orange juice
  • 4 fat cloves of garlic, crushed with smoked salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped coriander
  • ¼ tsp crushed dried chillies
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger (you can keep this in the fridge) – or ground if you don’t have any
  • 1 tsp ground dry-fried fenugreek
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 1 800g/1 lb 12 oz tin chopped tomatoes
  • 480ml (3 tins)/2 cups coconut cream
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Indonesian long black pepper
  • 1 pkt vegetable crisps
  • 1260g/2 lbs 12 oz jasmine rice
  • 3 small lemons
  • 3 chicken stock cubes
  • 2 tsp nigella seeds


  1. Fry onion, garlic and ginger until onion is light golden brown in colour.
  2. Add dried chillies, fenugreek and cinnamon stick and stir until the spices release their fragrance.
  3. Add tomatoes, honey, blood orange juice, and chicken pieces and simmer until chicken is white in colour and tender to touch. This will take approximately 40 – 45 minutes.
  4. Turn heat down and slowly stir through coconut milk/cream.
  5. Keep heat on low and warm through for several minutes taking care not to let the coconut milk/cream separate.
  6. Once cooked serve with jasmine rice cooked as attached but add the nigella seeds
  7. Garnish the curry with finely sliced coriander leaves.
  8. Serve all, together with the vegetable crisps (I actually use just the beetroot ones), or with poppadums and either mango chutney or Indian green yoghurt mint sauce.
This post is dedicated to Lesley and William Norris.
I think the crisps make it look rather professional. Put them on right at the end otherwise they go soggy
I think the crisps make it look rather professional. Put them on right at the end otherwise they go soggy.
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