Dhaba Style Chicken Curry

India can actually brag about the several varieties of Chicken Curry that we enjoy in different parts of the country. From the robust punjabi Butter Chicken, to the fiesty Kadhai Chicken & who can forget the popular Chicken Tikka Masala 😉 In North & East India, the chicken curry is bursting with the bold flavours of garam masala. In the Western parts of the country, poppy-seeds & cardamom play an important role in making the curry. In the South, the gravy turns beautifully nutty with the addition of coconut. A chicken curry is basically pieces of meat simmered in a hearty gravy that’s put together by combining basic vegetables, a combination of spices, sometimes with yoghurt and sometimes by adding souring ingredients like tamarind, kokum or lemon juice. A well-prepared Chicken Curry is a crowd-pleaser. It’s served with either rice, types of flatbreads, appams, idlis, pavs & more!
Making a mean Chicken Curry is nothing short of a skill in itself. The meat is cooked to perfection so that it flakes off the bone easily & combines with the well-simmered gravy to absorb all the flavours. Are you drooling yet? Wait, not yet. Try out this rich Dhaba Style Chicken Curry & prepare to be blown away! Yes, it’s THAT good. Rustic, bold flavours with a silly good gravy that you can savour with steamed rice or mop up with rotis. Trust me on this one  😄

Dhaba Style Chicken Curry

Course: FoodCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time



Rustic, bold flavours with a silly good gravy that you can savour with steamed rice or mop up with rotis. Trust me on this one!


  • Chicken (skinless but with bones): 500gms

  • For marinade:
    -1tsp salt
    -1/2tsp turmeric
    -1tbsp ginger garlic paste
    -1tsp red chilli powder
    -1tbsp lemon juice
    -2tbsp oil.

  • Oil: 4tbsp

  • Ghee: 2tbsp

  • Onions: 3 medium (sliced)

  • Tomatoes: 2 large (roughly chopped)

  • Garlic: 6 cloves (roughly chopped)

  • Ginger: 1inch piece (roughly chopped)

  • Green chillies: 2 (roughly chopped)

  • Coriander stems: A handful

  • Tej patta (bay leaf): 1

  • Green cardamom: 3

  • Black cardamom: 1

  • Cloves: 5

  • Black peppercorns: 8-10

  • Jeera: 1tsp

  • Kashmiri red chilli powder: 1tsp

  • Dhaniya powder: 2tbsp

  • Turmeric: 1/2tsp

  • Roasted jeera powder: 1tsp

  • Garam masala: 1tsp

  • Kasuri methi: 2tsp

  • Water: 500ml

  • Salt to taste

  • Chopped coriander for garnish


  • Wash the chicken well & pat it dry with a kitchen towel.
  • Now marinate it using the ‘marinade’ ingredients listed above. Best would be to leave this marinated in the fridge overnight, but you can do with an hour’s marination too.
  • Take a kadhai, add 3tbsp oil and flash fry the chicken. This simply means that you drop the chicken pieces in hot oil and fry them for a couple of minutes on each side. this process seals the chicken so that the moisture doesn’t escape while cooking it later.
  • Once done, sieve the leftover oil in the kadhai & re-use it now. Add tej patta, both varieties of cardamom, cloves, black peppercorns & jeera. When the seeds start crackling, add the chopped chillies, ginger, garlic & sliced onions.
  • The onions will need to be golden in colour, this will take about 10 minutes. Cover the kadhai with a lid & cook for even & faster cooking (but obviously keep checking in between).
  • Once the onions turn golden, add the chopped tomatoes & salt to taste. Remember there’s already some salt in the marinade. Cover & cook for 5-7 minutes so that the tomatoes turn soft.
  • Now add the coriander stems. Keep stirring & you will see that the masala will start leaving oil from the sides. This means it’s done 😀 Turn off the gas & let the mix cool down completely.
  • Transfer this masala to a blender & add some water to grind it into a smooth paste.
  • In the same kadhai add the ghee & let it heat. Now tip in the kashmiri red chilli powder, stir & add the masala paste. Then add the haldi, bhuna jeera powder, dhaniya powder & mix well. The gravy will come to a boil, at this time add the flash-fried chicken pieces & the residual liquid to the kadhai. Mix well.
  • Now add the water, garam masala & kasuri methi (slightly roasted & crushed) to the chicken. Stir and combine everything well.
  • Cover the kadhai, turn the gas on low flame & let the chicken cook for about 10-15 minutes. Keep checking & stirring in between. Once done, the oil will begin to surface up on the gravy & chicken will be tender & falling off the bone.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped coriander. It’s done!


  • This recipe seems elaborate but trust me, it’s not. It takes time but is pretty simple. The result is so delicious, it’s totally worth the time.
  • Please do not skimp on the ghee. It’s really the soul of the curry.
  • The recipe isn’t too spicy so you can adjust that according to your own taste.
  • When you flash-fry the chicken, all the moisture gets sealed inside. hence the chicken remains succulent till the end. Don’t skip that step.
  • Serve this curry either on a bed of steamed rice or phulkas to mop it up with. It’s absolutely lipsmacking!

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