Dhaba Chicken Curry or North Indian Roadside Stall Style Chicken Curry


While the world everywhere is celebrating summers, except in the Indian subcontinent where it is really scorching hot, on this side of the planet, we are layering up and gearing for winter. The more the temperature dips the more I crave for hot and spicy food. I just can’t bring myself to eat salads during winters, I need sauce and I need carbs.

To celebrate the start of winters this year I bought a Morphy Richards Slow Cooker and can’t wait to cook in it. I think I will start with lamb shanks or maybe biryani, but something yummy! So the Dhaba Chicken curry is usually served in the roadside shacks across northern India and has very simple rustic flavours. It’s usually always cooked with bone-on-chicken , but since I still don’t know how to carve a whole chicken into pieces, I just used boneless chicken thigh.


I also am partial to using yogurt in curries than tomatoes and almost always end up substituting them. Also when cooking Indian meat based curries I like to use either ‘Ghee’ or ‘Mustard oil’ as it gives an extra punch to the flavour profile. The interesting flavours of this curry come from the dry roasted whole spices which are then ground into a coarse masala.This is a simple chicken curry which is medium spicy in hotness but you can reduce the heat by simply using less dried red chillies in the dry roast masala or vice versa.

Serve it simply with steamed rice or ‘roti’ and a side salad of onions and cucumbers.

Dhaba Chicken Curry

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: “easy”
  • Print


  • 500gms boneless skinless chicken thigh filets cut into even bite size pieces
  • 3 medium red onion finely chopped (I usually chop the onions in a high speed blender to get a paste like consistency)
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1tbsp garlic-ginger paste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1tsp turmeric powder
  • 1tbsp coriander powder
  • 1tsp red chili powder
  • 1tbsp garam masala
  • 4tbsp mustard oil or vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1tsp dry fenugreek leaves (kastoori methi)
  • 2tbsp finely chopped coriander
  •  Dry roast Masala
    • 1tsp cumin seeds
    • 1tsp coriander seeds
    • 1tsp black pepper corns
    • 2 black cardamoms
    • 4 dried red chilies
  1. Dry roast 1tsp cumin seeds, the dried red chilies, black cardamoms, coriander seeds and pepper corns till brown and fragrant. Coarsely grind the spices.
  2. Heat oil on medium high heat and add 1tsp cumin and the bay leaf.
  3. When the cumin begins to splutter, add the onions. Saute until the onions have softened and turned golden. Add the garlic-ginger paste, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chili powder, and salt. Saute for a couple of minutes until the raw smell goes away.
  4. Add the chicken and to the masala and roast it till it turns translucent. This should take around 10mins.
  5. Add the yogurt and  mix it well to coat. Reduce the heat. Cover and cook for another 15mins or till the masala is cooked through.
  6. Add water to get the gravy consistency you like. Cover the lid and let it simmer for 10mins.
  7. Add the roasted spices to the curry and adjust seasoning according to taste.
  8. Cook till the gravy has reduced and chicken cooked through. This might take 5-6 minutes on high flame.
  9. Broil the dry fenugreek leaves on a hot griddle and crush over the curry. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot.



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