Sep 25, 2019

Bhuna Chicken

Bhuna Chicken Recipe
Bhuna Chicken
This dish is for all those dhaba food lovers out there. The most rustic version of any chicken dish ever! 
Nothing compares to cold winter nights, and hot dhaba food as we drive around town exploring tapris and the night fog. Winters in India are cold esp in New Delhi (Nothing compared to Chicago though!) This is one dish you would always find in the dhabas and goes so well with hot rumali roti or naan.

Since I moved to US, there hasn’t been a day I don’t miss the warmth and food of home. I am a good cook, so I keep cooking to keep myself busy and miss home a little less. This recipe was created to live that moment on my cozy couch with finger licking yummy Chicken!

This is called Bhuna Chicken because the base cooking technique is ‘Bhuna’ i.e. sauted till cooked well.

Here’re some tips and then we'll jump straight to the recipe:
  • Use Mustard oil for the cooking. Another option can be vegetable oil. Olive oil or peanut oil might just not give the same depth of flavor.
  • The chicken drumsticks could be with or without skin as you prefer. The good thing is this cooks perfect with the fresh chicken as well, so don’t fret if you forget to marinate the chicken.
  • Chicken should be room temperature
  • Use red onions. Yellow onions cannot give the same taste of caramelization
  • Use a skillet (Kadhai) for cooking. The flat saute pans do not give the same charred effect. Non stick or otherwise, both are good. Choose the size which can fit atleast 6 drumsticks tightly.

Recipe makes 6 Chicken Drumsticks


6 Chicken Drumsticks (Leg Pieces) – Raw or marinated in Oil and salt for 30 mins
2 medium Onions halved and thinly sliced (like in Pulao)
2 medium Green Chilies
6 cloves of Garlic chopped
1-inch piece of Ginger chopped
3 tbsp Mustard Oil
2 tbsp Dry Coriander Powder
2 tsp Kashmiri Red Chili powder (or any variety you prefer)
Half tsp Turmeric
Salt to taste
2 tbsp chopped coriander

Whole Spices -

·       1 tsp Cumin seeds
·       1 Bay Leaf
·       4-5 peppercorns
·       Small piece cinnamon stick
·       1 Green cardamom
·       1 cm small flake of Stone Flower (Pathhar ke phool) Optional


  1. Heat the mustard oil in the skillet on medium high heat. As soon as the oil starts smoking (You see smoke from the skillet), turn heat to low and add the dry whole spices. Do not smoke heat if using any other oil.
  2. Immediately after whole spices, add the garlic, and onions. Sauté for 1 minute on medium heat. Then add Ginger and Green chilies. Don’t add ginger straight to hot oil.
  3. Now keep sautéing for 6-8 mins on medium heat, stirring well every 1-2 mins so onions don’t stick to bottom. Don’t let them brown at this stage.
  4. Add the chicken pieces to the skillet, give it all a good mix and cover partially with a lid. Cook for 10 mins.
  5. Now open the lid, mix well again and add the powder spices and salt. You can also add a pinch of kasuri methi (fenugreek leaves) if you like.
  6. Mix well and cover the lid fully again for 5 mins, on Low heat. After 5 mins, you’ll see that chicken has released a lot of water. Don’t worry it’ll all dry up. This stage helps cook the chicken till tender.
  7. Mix well. Add chopped green coriander or parsley and again keep the lid partially open (leave a tiny gap for steam to escape). Let it simmer for 10 mins on low heat. 

And it’s done! If you feel there’s still some water, remove the lid and let it simmer for another few mins on medium heat.
I’ve tried to explain the steps in a lot of detail which might look like a lot of steps but its really easy and delicious.
Try it this week, and let me know how it turns out. It pairs amazingly well with roti, naan or kulcha. And ofcourse, just by itself!


  1. This looks yummy!!

  2. This looks delicious! Thanks for a detailed step by step recipe :)



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