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Dhaba Style Chicken Curry

Dhaba Style Chicken Curry

Anjali Venugopal April 23, 2020 1 COMMENTS

Since the residents of this home have been exposed to delicious North Indian grub in our lives, there are days when we feel a craving for something that is quintessentially Northern Indian. This is one of those recipes that comes to our rescue in such times. This curry is loosely based on a recipe I learnt from my roommate’s mum during my law school days in Pune. This curry is not sophisticated. Instead it’s a glorious mix of brazen flavours that will whisk you away to one of those highway Dhabas that serve food straight from the heart. Serve it with some hot Jeera Rice and vegetable raita and you’ll know what I mean.

Things you will need:

  • 1 kg chicken on the bone (Skinless, cleaned and cut into medium sized pieces)
  • 3 Onions (medium sized , sliced finely)
  • Ginger Garlic paste made of a 1.5 inch stick of ginger and about 10-12 pods of garlic. You can be lavish with the garlic. Use about 5 pods if your pods are large like the ones we get in Europe.
  • Greek yoghurt or regular yoghurt- 2 full tablespoons
  • 5-6 Green Chilies, slit (Adjust the spice as required)
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 – 5 Cardamoms
  • 8 – 10 Peppercorns
  • 4 – 5 Cloves
  • 3 Tomatoes (medium sized, chopped)
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 heaped tablespoons coriander powder
  • Salt to taste

For tempering: (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 2 green chilies slit
  • Fresh coriander (to garnish)

How to go about it:

  1. First, marinate the chicken with the yoghurt, half a teaspoon of salt and half of the ginger garlic paste. Keep that aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds. Add all the whole spices (bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns and cloves) to the oil. Once they start to splutter and the flavours release into the oil, add the onions. Saute the onion on a low to medium flame, until it is nice and brown. Sauteing your onion well is always the base of a good curry. Next, add the remaining ginger garlic paste and the slit green chilies and saute for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the tomatoes, salt to taste, turmeric powder and coriander powder. Saute for a minute and then keep the wok closed to allow the tomatoes to soften up. Cook till the tomatoes start melting, and almost form a paste and the spices and fully cooked and the oil starts to release from the sides. This is the base for the curry and should be more or less homogeneous.
  4. Add the marinated chicken and toss the pieces around till the chicken is sealed with the spices. This takes about 2-3 minutes. Next, add 1 cup of water, mix it all well, bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and let the curry simmer on low to medium heat for 20-25 minutes (stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom the pan) or until the meat begins to fall off the bone and the gravy begins to thicken. (If you are using a pressure cooker instead, add only a little more than half a cup of water and pressure cook the curry for 2 whistles on medium heat and wait until the pressure is completely released. When you open the cooker, if you feel the gravy is watery, you can give it a quick boil again without the lid and wait till the gravy thickens up.)
  5. Once the chicken is well cooked and the gravy thickens (this step is optional), in a separate pan, heat two tablespoons of ghee, add the green chilies and saute until the chilies are lightly charred. Empty the contents into the chicken curry, give a quick mix and remove from heat. Additionally, you can garnish the curry with fresh coriander leaves.