Dhaba Style Chicken Recipe:
A deliciously spicy, Indian dhaba (motel) style chicken in a thick gravy.
We just love chicken, and that has been established quite long back and perhaps also that the thick and spicy version of the gravy is our favourite. There are just two ways of enjoying that comforting homestyle curry, one ofcourse is to cook your regular chicken curry at home , and the other lies at the end of a decent drive to the petite, yet lively ‘sardar ji da Dhaba’. Isn’t there something magical about the way they cook food at those humble Dhabas scattered across our Indian highways. And yet, planning a dinner at those dhabas is soon turning into a thing of the past, for one it’s not quite feasible to drive across town through the maddening traffic, and two even if we somehow still manage through the trafiic there’s no guaranteeing that the dhaba we’ve reached would serve an authentic Dhaba Style Chicken.
I mean how far you can drive not to the Punjab highways on the countryside always right. Say across the city border at the max, but there all you’ll find are too many of the fake Dhabas. Seriously, the commercialisation has turned them into nothing more than a bad quality, low grade restaurant serving average commercial food. The detour brings me back to the point where we are left to the rescue of our home kitchens, and our own artful hands. The dhaba cooking is about large pots, no fuss recipes, no fancy gadgets and earthen clay oven. And that’s what the recipe here is all about, no grinding or churning of spices but roughly chopped or crushed and well marinated chicken cooked in an Indian wok, simple no fuss deliciousness. It is as close as you could get to the lingering delicious taste of our Dhaba style chicken recipe, best served with the Naan (here’s the recipe).
Ingredients (Serves 3-4):
- 800 gms chicken, with bone cut into 12-16 pieces
- ¼ cup curd
- 1 tsp red chilli pwd
- ¾ tsp turmeric pwd
- 1 tsp turmeric pwd
- 1 tbsp coriander pwd
- 5-6 clove pods
- 5 pods of cardamom
- 4-5 pepper corns
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 10-12 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 5-6 green chillies, finely chopped
- 4 tbsp plus 1 tbsp mustard oil
- 2 tbsp ghee
- ½ tsp garam masala pwd
- Some coriander leaves to garnish
- Salt to taste
- Put curd, red chilli pwd, turmeric, coriander pwd, cumin pwd and 1 tbsp oil in a large bowl and mix it well with a fork, then marinate the chicken pieces in the paste and leave for an hour to overnight (keep in fridge overnight and keep it out ½ hr before ready to cook).
- Heat the mustard oil with the ghee in a wok, temper the bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns and cardamom. Add onion and green chillies (retaining a few to garnish) fry till it is slightly golden.
- Then add crushed garlic and half the chopped ginger, fry for 2 mins on medium heat. Add the entire marinated chicken along with the marinade and fry on a medium heat for a 5 mins.
- Then add the chopped tomatoes and the remaining chopped ginger and fry scrapping down all the spices from the wok until the oil separates.
- Add 2 cups of warm water (or more if required) and simmer cook until the chicken is tender and the gravy is thickened. Add salt to taste along with the garam masala pwd and remove from heat.
- Garnish with remaining green chillies, a few ginger strips, and fresh coriander. Serve hot with Naan or any bread of your choice.
Dos and Don’ts:
- Chicken cooks fast, so raise the heat if required while frying.
- Adjust spices to your taste, especially chillies
- You may use boneless chicken; just cook the onion and spices a little longer before adding the boneless chicken cubes.