Dhaba Style Chicken Curry
This Dhaba Style Chicken Curry stands for every road trip we’ve had with our families. Same bold flavours, ready in under 45 minutes – it’s hot and fragrant and is made with ground spices, onions and tomatoes. I’ve shared how to make this recipe in a traditional pressure cooker, instant pot and on the stovetop.
I think I’ve finally nailed it. This Dhaba Style Chicken Curry is SO good. Its legit, as close as it gets to eating it in a dhaba. Spicy, fragrant with spices, big, bold flavours and really juicy pieces of chicken.
Dhabas, for the uninitiated are roadside restaurants scattered all over the country, and their food is unique. Hell, the experience is unique and is one you must have. Small mud shacks, with only chaarpai’s and a wooden plank for a table, you’ll find them as you drive along the highway. They are usually patronized by truck drivers and budget travellers who are looking for food which reminds them of home. Growing up, the highlight of any road trip was a stopover at a dhaba for steaming hot, spicy dhaba style chicken curry, dal fry or dal makhani and tandoori rotis fresh from the oven to mop it all up. These soul satisfying meals will always be etched on to my heart!
Unlike my other recipes, this one’s slightly time consuming because masala is ground and cooked till it’s color changes. This is characteristic of most Indian curries, and the slow cooking process or bhuno is what lends dishes a unique flavor.
What To Serve With Chicken Curry
- Okay, so rice is basically non-negotiable. Almost all curries, no matter where they come from, are served with rice. Try out this Coconut Jasmine Rice or Instant Pot Brown Rice.
- Or if youre low carbing it, you can fake rice by pretending your veggies are grains. I do this all the time!! Its so good and such an easy way to cut calories. Check out this Indian-Spiced Cauliflower Rice or just regular Cauliflower Rice.
- The other Most Important Thing to have with your plate of curry is a traditional flatbread like Homemade Naan or Roti . If youve tried them, then YOU KNOW. They are absolutely essential for scooping up every last bit of your curry sauce!
- You could also try this Asian-Marinated Cucumber Salad or this Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad. Either would add a nice, light, cooling flavor to your meal. I want to try this Raita recipe next!
- Looking for cooked veggies? Try Sauteed Zucchini and Squash, Roasted Broccoli, or this simple Curry Roasted Cauliflower. Add a spoonful of store bought chutney to really take any curry to the next level!
- Also, did we forget salad? Big ol green side salad never did a curry wrong.
Ingredients For Chicken Curry
- Coriander, cumin, turmeric, fennel seeds, cinnamon, pepper, ground mustard, ground cloves, cayenne pepper and salt these spices build incredible flavor in this dish. Together they create a homemade curry blend.
- Olive oil used for sautéing.
- Fresh onion, garlic and ginger these aromatics add a key depth of flavor.
- Low-sodium chicken broth to create a sauce base to coat the chicken.
- Canned tomatoes fresh tomatoes will work here too but canned are quicker and easier.
- Chicken breasts be careful not to over-cook so the chicken doesnt become dry.
- Cornstarch used to thicken the sauce slightly.
- Heavy cream this makes the sauce deliciously rich and creamy.
- Chopped cilantro adds a nice prop of fresh flavor and color.
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How To Make Chicken Curry
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in heavy bottom pan. When the oil turns hot, add
- 1 small bay leaf
- 2 inch cinnamon piece
- 4 cloves
- 3 green cardamoms.
2. Add 1 cup very finely chopped onions and 1 chopped green chili pepper. Saute the onions till they turn golden. To speed up, I used another tbsp of oil here and this is optional.
3. Add 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste. Make sure the onions turn golden before adding ginger garlic.
4. Saute ginger garlic for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the raw smell disappears completely.
5. Add ½ cup tomatoes . Also add ¼ teaspoon turmeric and ½ teaspoon salt.
6. Next fry until the tomatoes turn completely mushy and the raw smell has gone.
7. Add 1 teaspoon red chili powder and ¼ cup whisked yogurt . Check the tips section below to know tips on how to prevent yogurt from splitting in the curry. To substitute yogurt, you can soak 12 cashew nuts or almonds or 3 tablespoons white poppy seeds in ½ cup hot water for 30 minutes. Blend it to a smooth paste & add here.
8. Saute on a medium flame until the mixture becomes thick and begins to smell good. Optional If you do not like chunky onions in your curry, then cool and blend this with water to a smooth puree.
9. Add the following ingredients
- ½ kg chicken
- 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves or mint leaves.
10. Saute for 3 to 4 mins or until the chicken turns pale.
12. Pour ½ to ¾ cup hot water or as needed. Using cold water often makes the meat tough & hard.
What My Man Says
“This curry dish is really flavorful and pretty simple to make.”
“Dicing the chicken thighs took me longer than I expected, and as a result my prep time was around 45 minutes.”
“Working with all the different spices is a cool sensory experience – they all have powerful smells and the different colors are very pretty and combine to make a rich ocher.”
“I found that I really had to turn the temperature back up after I added the chicken to get everything back to a boil / simmer.”
“We didn’t have any Cilantro, so I omitted it but we did have some frozen peas that I added for a couple of minutes at the very end . The end result was quite delicious and the sauce gets even thicker and richer the next day for the leftovers :-)”
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How To Make Indian Curry
1. Grind or crack fresh whole peppercorns and whole coriander seeds.
2. Heat some cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick pieces cracked peppercorns and coriander seeds in a small amount of oil over low heat. Doing this will help bring out more flavors from the spices.
3. Add in sliced red onions and caramelize along with the spices, which will take in between 30-40 minutes. Take the time to do this because the more caramelized the more flavor into your curry. Also, red onions are most commonly used in Indian cuisine.
4. Add in garlic and ginger and cook for just a few minutes while stirring. Only use fresh garlic and ginger and be sure to finely mince.
5. Sprinkle in the turmeric, ground coriander, cumin, and chili powder and mix in completely.
6. Pour in the pureed tomatoes and cook over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes or until it becomes a paste. You can roughly chop the tomatoes, finely mince or place in a blender to rough puree, which is what I did. You can also use canned in the off-peak season.
7. Season with salt and finish with fresh chopped cilantro. Only finish with cilantro if using right away, if you are storing it then use the cilantro when adding it to something that will be served up immediately after cooking.
How Many Types Of Curry Are There
SO many! Curry is really just a sauce or gravy seasoned with a combination of dried spices. Its so simple that it makes sense that tons of countries have their own version. Weve got red green or yellow curry in Thailand, Japanese Curry, or Indonesian curry. There are famous curries from Jamaica, Trinidad, and various regional curries from all over Africa and the Middle East too. YOU get a curry, and YOU get a curry! Like Oprah style you know??
I think the most well-known curries throughout the world are Indian curries though Todays recipe takes inspiration from Indian spices. All you need is yellow curry powder and garam masala. And all this other stuff:
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Can I Make A Whole Chicken Curry Or Can I Use Boneless Chicken
You can make this chicken curry with bone-in pieces from a whole chicken, or just bone-in pieces of just chicken legs or chicken thighs. Or for convenience, you can just use boneless pieces of chicken. Obviously, boneless chicken will cook faster, and is my choice when I want to cook a quick curry that can be ready in less than 30 minutes. BUT, a GOOD chicken curry uses bone-in chicken pieces because the bones flavor the curry sauce .
If youre using boneless chicken, I recommend using the red meat over white meat of chicken. Chicken thighs has more flavor and wont overcook easily and can withstand the cooking time.
For a healthier option you can use sliced boneless chicken breasts too. But make sure to cook them for a shorter amount of time OR braise them for a longer time to make it tender. Otherwise the pieces will be too dry.
To cook with sliced chicken breasts for a quick curry, make sure to make the curry sauce FIRST and then add the chicken at the end and only cook it until the chicken is cooked through.
Some choose to remove the chicken skin to lessen the fat in the chicken curry as well. I have always loved eating the skin, so I compromise and add half with the skin, and half without. So thats totally up to you!
Types Of Curry Powder
Although Indian-inspired curry powder gets most of the spotlight, there are many different curry powders from around the globe all with their own uniquely dynamic flavors. Thai curry powder adds lemongrass and lime leaves for an intensely tangy effect, while Caribbean blends have a sweeter base and embrace spices like anise and allspice. Garam masala is a South Indian spice mixture that is similar to curry powder, but uses more pungent spices like nutmeg, black cardamom, and cloves.
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Why You Will Love This Indian Chicken Curry Recipe
- Its easy! This authentic Chicken Curry Recipe just takes a few minutes to prep, and then all you have to do is simmer it for 20 minutes. Its so simple and ready in less than an hour!
- Healthier than takeout: Takeout food is usually loaded with extra oils and ingredients that are unnecessary. This chicken curry tastes even better than the restaurant version, and its good for you.
- Amazing flavor: Loaded with onion, garlic, turmeric, curry powder, coconut milk, and fresh cilantro, this recipe is a powerhouse of flavor!
- Meal prep: This is a great recipe to make and save for later in either the fridge or freezer. Perfect for work lunches or a no-fuss dinner later in the week.
Our Tips For Recipe Success
In the recipe, we ask that you marinate the chicken in spices for at least 20 minutes before making the curry, but we encourage you to marinate for longer if you have the time. The chicken can be left out at room temperature for about an hour or if you plan to marinate for longer, cover it and place into the refrigerator. The chicken can be left to marinate up to 24 hours in the fridge, although, you dont get much additional benefit after 8 to 12 hours.
Use fresh garlic and fresh ginger. We dont recommend swapping the fresh garlic and ginger for dried in this recipe. Fresh ginger lasts at least a week in the fridge so dont worry about wasting it. We love to juice leftover ginger or use it to make this spicy garlic ginger edamame!
Use whole fat yogurt and dont skip the cream. This recipe isnt the one to lighten up with lower fat yogurt or milk. Plain full-fat yogurt and cream make the sauce of this curry perfectly rich and mouth-watering. The yogurt helps to tenderize the chicken and along with the cream, it balances all the spices. I use plain unsweetened yogurt.
Add the yogurt a tablespoon at a time. In the recipe, we ask that you stir in the yogurt a spoonful at a time. This adds an extra minute, but it helps to prevent the yogurt from separating or curdling. Using full fat yogurt also helps to prevent curdling.
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Tips For Making Chicken Curry
- Release some of the aromatic properties of the curry spices by sautéing them with the onion. You can also add a teaspoon of garam masala for more flavor .
- If your curry tastes bitter, add a small amount of sugar to the recipe to balance the flavor.
- Add more veggies to this curry dish, like peas, green beans, or chopped spinach.
- If youre not a fan of yogurt, you can make this chicken curry recipe with a can of full-fat coconut milk . The light coconut milk will not be as creamy. You can also use light sour cream.
- You can make this curry dish with leftover cooked chicken, like rotisserie, or use turkey or beef. If youre using cooked meat, you only need to cook the curry dish until its heated through.
- You can make this as spicy as youd like by adding more or less cayenne pepper. If its your first time making this dish or Indian cuisine in general, I recommend using less, because there are a lot of other seasonings in this recipe.
Using Yogurt In Curry
Most often thick yogurt with lesser whey in it, wont split in the curry but however for unknown reasons it may sometimes happen. So these tips will help you if you want to prevent that.
- Simply whisk it with a fork until smooth. Temper the yogurt first by adding 2 tbsps of onion tomato masala to it. Mix it well. Ten lower the flame completely and pour the yogurt to the pan.
- Yogurt that is not sour and has lesser whey works well in this recipe. So you can use greek yogurt or even homemade yogurt.
- If your yogurt is too runny and has a lot of whey, simply strain it in a cheese cloth and then use. Too much of whey will always split the yogurt in the chicken curry.
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How To Make Easy Indian Chicken Curry:
The steps are simple and easy:
- We start by frying the onions, ginger+garlic paste together.
- Then adding chicken, spices, and stirring everything together and letting this cook on medium heat until chicken is tender . Stir every 2 minutes to prevent burning.
- Once the chicken is tender and almost cooked, add tomatoes and let this cook for another 5 minutes.
- Finally, add water and cover cook for 6-7 minutes on low heat.
- Turn off the heat, transfer to a bowl, add chopped cilantro on top and serve hot.
- Enjoy with a choice of sides or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
More Indian Curries You’ll Love:
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Spicy Malvani Chicken Curry
A fiery curry with a coconut base. The highlight of this chicken curry is the freshly-made malvani masala. A perfect recipe for all the spice lovers out there, Malvani chicken curry is a hot, delectable chicken recipe from the konkan region of Maharashtra. This is sure to leave your taste buds tingling for more! This Chicken Curry Recipe is a fiery curry with coconut base from the Malvani cuisine of Maharashtra.
Indian Curry Chicken Recipe
- 3teaspoons ground cumindivided
- 1teaspoonsred chili powder
- 4teaspoonscurry powderdivided
- 2teaspoonsall spicedivided
- 1poundchicken, cut into Â½ inch piecesthighs will have more flavor
- 2teaspoons peanut oil
- 1medwhite onion, chopped
- 2teaspoonsgarlic, minced
- 2teaspoonsginger, finely chopped
- 14oztomato puree
- Â½cuphalf & half or coconut milk
- Â½cupGreek yogurt
- 1fresh lime or lemon
- Â½teaspooncayenne pepperoptional
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Why Make This Chicken Curry
- If you’re looking for the easiest curry that’s also quick to make, then this is it. It takes only 20 minutes to cook.
- It uses easy-to-find spices and the chicken pieces are cooked in sour cream or yogurt and tomato-based gravy so it absorbs all those wonderful flavors. As a result, it is a rich, creamy, and delicious sauce.
- And the best part is that you do not need to do any chopping of vegetables. Just blitz in a food processor and your curry paste is ready. Then, saute with chopped chicken pieces and cook for 15 minutes.
- Today I am serving this chicken with basmati rice, chapati, and aloo gobi but you can also serve it with naan or garlic naan. Alternatively, you can also serve it with cauliflower rice or try turmeric cauliflower rice or mustard dill cauliflower rice
This Indian Chicken Curry Also Known As Is Super Quick And Easy To Prepare And Has A Great Authentic Taste You Can Make It In Your Pressure Cooker Or On Your Stovetop In Under 30 Minutes Making It A Great Weeknight Meal Or A Great Dish For Meal Prep Throughout The Week
This simple Indian curry is made with boneless chicken breast and is simmered in a rich tomato, yogurt, and cream sauce that youll be sure to love.
Serve it over white rice, brown rice or even riced cauliflower for a flavorful low carb curry.
Me and my partner like to go out for Indian food at least once per month and this is the type of dish he typically goes for.
He just loves Curry Chicken so much that he could eat it every single day!
I tend to choose a more spicy curry goat or lamb dish, however, when it comes to Curry Chicken, this recipe is definitely high up on my favorite list. I learned this dish from Chef Vikram Vij when he was on the food network some time ago and Ive been making it ever since!
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