Dhaba-Style Indian Chicken Curry Recipe

If you’ve ever traveled the bustling highways of India, you’ve likely encountered the rustic charm and irresistible aromas of a roadside dhaba. These humble eateries, often run by families, serve up some of the most authentic and mouth-watering dishes you’ll ever taste. One such beloved dish is the Dhaba-Style Indian Chicken Curry. This hearty, flavorful curry is a staple of North Indian cuisine, known for its rich, spicy, and deeply satisfying taste.

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In this blog post, we’ll take you through the steps to recreate this classic dish in your own kitchen. Get ready to embark on a culinary journey that brings the essence of an Indian dhaba straight to your dining table.


To make this delicious Dhaba-Style Indian Chicken Curry, you’ll need:

For the Marinade:

  • 1 kg chicken (bone-in, cut into pieces)
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt to taste

For the Curry:

  • 3 tablespoons mustard oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 2-3 green chilies, slit
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 4-5 green cardamom pods
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
  • Salt to taste


Step 1: Marinate the Chicken

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  1. In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt.
  2. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, ensuring each piece is well-coated.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight for best results.

Step 2: Prepare the Base

  1. Heat the mustard oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or pressure cooker over medium heat. Mustard oil adds an authentic flavor, but you can use vegetable oil if preferred.
  2. Add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, and cloves. Sauté until the spices release their aroma.
  3. Add the finely chopped onions and sauté until golden brown. This step is crucial for developing the curry’s depth of flavor.
  4. Add the ginger-garlic paste and green chilies, sautéing for another 2-3 minutes until the raw smell disappears.

Step 3: Cook the Tomatoes and Spices

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  1. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pot. Cook until they become soft and the oil starts to separate from the mixture.
  2. Stir in the turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder. Cook the spices for a few minutes to bring out their flavors.

Step 4: Cook the Chicken

  1. Add the marinated chicken to the pot, mixing well to coat the pieces with the spice mixture.
  2. Cook on medium heat until the chicken is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add enough water to cover the chicken pieces, bringing the mixture to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat and let it simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender, approximately 20-25 minutes. If using a pressure cooker, cook for 2-3 whistles on medium heat.

Step 5: Final Touches

  1. Once the chicken is cooked, stir in the garam masala and adjust salt to taste.
  2. Let the curry simmer for an additional 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  3. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Serving Suggestions

Dhaba-Style Indian Chicken Curry pairs beautifully with a variety of Indian breads like naan, roti, or paratha. It also goes well with steamed basmati rice or jeera rice (cumin rice). Add a side of sliced onions, green chilies, and a wedge of lemon for an authentic dhaba experience.

Bringing the flavors of an Indian dhaba into your home kitchen is easier than you might think. With simple ingredients and a few steps, you can create a dish that’s rich in tradition and bursting with flavor. Whether you’re looking to recreate memories of a past trip to India or simply explore new culinary horizons, this Dhaba-Style Indian Chicken Curry is sure to delight your taste buds and leave you craving for more.

Happy cooking!

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