This Dhaba Style Chicken Curry stands for every road trip we’ve had with our families. It stands for all the stop-overs and midway cravings. It is hot and fragrant and is made with ground spices, onions and tomatoes. Its perfect for a family lunch or dinner over which you can reminisce!
I think I’ve finally nailed it. This Dhaba Style Chicken Curry is the BOMB we’ve all been waiting for. It took some time, but this awesomeness is totally happening in my house right now!
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 (rope and wooden cots) 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 and tandoori roti’s fresh from the oven to mop it all up. These soul satisfying meals will always be etched on to my heart!
Even today, visiting home is accompanied by a trip to the local dhaba. Since I’ve moved to Bangalore, food from dhaba’s is something I miss a lot. And I’ve been trying very hard to replicate the dhaba style chicken curry I remember. It took some time, but this recipe comes pretty close to the real thing.
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 is what lends dishes a unique flavor.
More Dhaba Style Recipes:
- Dhaba Dal Tadka
- Dhaba Style Dal Fry
- Slow Cooker Dal Makhani
- Paneer Butter Masala
- Butter Chicken Masala (Murgh Makhani)
Watch Dhaba Style Chicken Curry Recipe Video
This recipe was first published on August 10, 2015 and updated on 13 October, 2020 with a minor change in the recipe and a step by step video
Dhaba Style Chicken Curry
- 1 kg Chicken Skinless, cleaned and cut into medium sized pieces
For the marinade:
- 2 tablespoons Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 Juice of lime
- 1 tablespoon Salt
For the curry:
- 1/4 cup Oil
- 4 medium Onions finely chopped
- 10 cloves Garlic
- 1½ inches Ginger
- 3 – 4 Green Chilies (Adjust the spice as required)
- 1 tablespoon Cumin Seeds
- 2 Bay leaves
- ½ Cinnamon stick Stick
- 4 – 5 Cardamoms
- 8 – 10 Peppercorns
- 4 – 5 Cloves
- 4 medium Tomatoes chopped
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 1 teaspoon Red Chili Powder optional; adjust the spice as required
- 2 tablespoons Coriander Powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 tablespoon Ghee or Oil
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- 2 Chilies Green (slit lengthwise)
- ½ inch Ginger piece , julienned
- Coriander for garnishing
- Marinate the chicken pieces with ginger garlic paste, lime juice and salt. Cover and set aside for 30 mins.
- Grind onions, ginger, garlic and green chilies to a fine paste. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a pressure cooker or a large heavy bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds. Roughly pound all the whole spices (bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns and cloves) and add to the oil. Once they start to splutter, add the onion paste. Cook the onion paste on a low flame, stirring occasionally, till it is reduced to a golden, brown paste and the oil starts to surface.
- Add tomatoes, salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder (if using) and coriander powder. Cook till the tomatoes start melting, and almost form a paste.
- Add the chicken, garam masala and ½ cup water.
- At this stage, if you are using a pressure cooker, place the lid and pressure cook for 3 whistles. Switch off the flame and let the steam escape before opening the cooker.
- Simmer for 5-10 mins on high flame, if required, to thicken the curry (Chicken leaves a lot of water). I didn’t need to do this.
- If you are using a heavy bottomed pan, bring the curry to a boil, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and let it cook on medium heat for 20-25 minutes. Uncover the pan, and cook for another 10-15 minutes till the water evaporates and the curry starts to thicken. Once the curry is ready, switch off the flame.
- In another small pan, heat ghee and add green chilies and ginger. Once they start to splutter and become slightly crisp, switch off the flame and mix the tadka (or tempering) into the curry. Top with coriander.
- Let the curry sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. Tastes best with rotis or rice.