chicken changezi – hotel style

Think rich. Creamy. Complex. A little spicy. And completely over the top. That is chicken changezi.

Chicken changezi is a curry unto it’s own. There’s nothing like it. That I know of anyway. The spice cuts through the cream. It has bite. A lush curry. Special even.

This might not be the chicken changezi you’re expecting. It’s on the bold side. Big flavours. Shouldn’t be a surprise though. This is glebekitchen.

It’s always flavour first here. I’m not the king of subtle. Want to know my worst nightmare? Someone says “Meh. That was a little bland”.

I’m not worried. This is a Mughlai dish. Which is a fancy Persian word for Mongol.

The most famous Mongol of all time? Ghenghis Khan I think. So I’m going to pretend I know Ghenghis.

And I’m going to pretend I know Ghenghis liked his dishes spicy. Nothing to do with reality. But I’m going with it.

So my chicken changezi has to be a little badass. No way it can be bland. Not for the meek. Not crazy. But not to be mistaken for insipid either.

Yes. That’s ridiculous. I know. No need to tell me. I’m just having a bit of fun here.

Chicken changezi and rice from above

The history of chicken changezi

With a title like that I bet you are expecting a bunch of facts. I would be too. But this one is a little murky. Willing suspension of disbelief required please.

Chicken changezi big in the North. Ghenghis Khan invaded the North. It’s Mughlai. He was a Mongol.

So of course this must be his favourite dish ever. That makes sense right? OK. Maybe not.

But there’s also the “fact” that they called him Changhez in India. See where this is going? Changez liked his curry just so.

A little creamy. Some dairy to soften things. Maybe all that invading gave him ulcers? Conquering is a tough gig.

I know if I was the royal cook I’d be worried. Wouldn’t want to give him indigestion. There’s only one way that would end. And I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like it.

So a tasty curry with badass spicing and cream to tame it? That sounds like something like Changez would approve of. That would keep the royal cook alive.

Fun story. Tall tale. Work of fiction. But in the end it doesn’t matter. What matters is that chicken changezi is one tasty curry. And hotel style pushes it over the top.

Spoonful of chicken changezi

Hotel style for serious flavour

This part isn’t a joke. If you want deeply flavoured dishes. And you want the lush sauce you get in restaurants. Then hotel style is for you.

Hotel style is about more. More flavour. More polish. Just more. It takes restaurant cooking up a notch. Or two.

Think high end restaurants. Posh restaurants. The ones where you go “Wow – that is so much better than my local takeaway”. That’s what hotel style is about.

It’s called hotel style because that’s what they serve at the fancy restaurants in India. The ones in the crazy hotels. And in high end Indian restaurants around the world.

It’s more work up front. That’s why every restaurant doesn’t do it. Labour costs money. But it’s easier at service. Nowhere near as messy either.

And you get amazing curries. It’s just win win win.

chicken changezi in a kadai with dal and rice from above.

Hotel gravy is the secret

Restaurants don’t make curries in the traditional style. They have tricks to get your dinner in front of you in less than two hours.

And they don’t just have pots of every dish on the menu simmering on a hundred burner stove. That’s a recipe for bankruptcy.

They use sauces. Or gravies. And they turn those gravies into the dishes they serve.

It can be simple. Like regular restaurant style. The same gravy for every dish. Like a blank canvas. I like that. It’s tasty. But maybe a little limiting.

Or it can be more sophisticated. Hotel gravy. Makhani gravy. Specialized gravies. Combination of gravies. The right tool for the job. I like that better.

That’s hotel style. Opens up a whole new world of possibilities. For me. And for you.

Chicken changezi in a kadai from the front

Chicken changezi is a curry for kings (or khans)

Changez had it pretty good. At least when it came to his dinner. Chicken Changezi is a little decadent. Seriously tasty. Opulent even.

I don’t think I’ve ever described anything here as opulent. But it is. So opulent is the right word.

I don’t do a lot of creamy curries. Not much dairy in general. My roots are Bengali. Creamy isn’t really my thing. When it comes to Indian anyway.

It also doesn’t quite fit my usual flavour sledgehammer style. I wouldn’t go as far as subtle. It’s a little less over the top. But only a little.

Which is why I’m fascinated by this one. It doesn’t really fit my mold. Creamy. A bit restrained. Not my thing.

And yet I’m putting this one into my regular rotation. Try it. I’m willing to bet you will too. Changhez would approve.

Chicken changezi and dal from above.
Chicken changezi in a kadai from above
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5 from 18 votes

chicken changezi – Indian hotel style

Rich. Creamy. Delicious. That's chicken changezi.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword chicken changezi, Indian hotel style
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 771kcal
Author romain | glebekitchen


The spice mix

  • 2 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp chaat masala
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/3 tsp kosher salt

The chicken marinade

  • 4 chicken thighs boned and skinned. Cut into 3 pieces each
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper – butcher's grind (a little coarse)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp tandoori masala – a commercial mix (I know. It's hard for me to write those words) mostly for colour and a bit of tang.
  • 1/3 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp plain yoghurt

Chicken changezi

  • the marinated chicken
  • 3 tbsp canola oil – any neutral oil
  • 1 black cardamom for a hint of smoky flavour
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste – recipe link below
  • the spice mix from above
  • 1 green finger hot chili – aka jwala chili coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pureed tomatoes – or makhani gravy (see note)
  • 1 tbsp plain yoghurt – I like full fat Greek yoghurt for this
  • 1 cup Indian hotel curry gravy – Recipe link in the notes. It's meant to be thick. The juices from the chicken will thin it and you can adjust it to taste at the end.
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp kasoor methi – dried fenugreek leaves
  • fried shallots to garnish


Do your prep

  • Measure out your spices. Prep your chicken. Chop your green chili
  • Basically have everything on hand and ready to go

Coat the chicken

  • Combine the spices and yoghurt. Whisk to combine. If it is really thick add a little dribble of milk to loosen it up.
  • Add the yoghurt mixture to the chicken and mix to thoroughly coat the chicken. It's ready to go at this point. Letting it sit for few minutes won't hurt but it won't really make much difference either.

Fry the chicken

  • Set a large skillet over medium heat. For this step a non-stick skillet helps. I don't say that often but in this case pull it out.
  • Add the oil.
  • When the oil starts to shimmer add the chicken in an even layer.
  • Fry until lightly coloured. Maybe 3 or 4 minutes per side. Regulate your heat so the yoghurt doesn't burn.
  • You aren't trying to cook the chicken through. When it has a bit of colour remove from the pan and set aside.

Make the chicken changezi

  • Transfer the oil from frying the chicken into a clean skillet. This is now spiced oil. You want to get back to 3 tablespoons so if it looks low a little more oil won't hurt.
  • Heat the oil over medium heat.
  • Add the black cardamom. You should see little bubbles form. Cook for about 20-30 seconds.
  • Stir in the garlic ginger paste. Gently fry until the garlic ginger paste stops sputtering. This step can get a bit messy so be ready.
  • Turn your heat down to medium low and add your spice mix. Cook for about 30 seconds. You want to fry your spices in the oil. There are fat soluble compounds in spices. This is how magic happens.
  • Add the yoghurt. Stir it well. Fry for about 30 seconds. I know frying yoghurt is a bit strange. Just trust me. The yoghurt needs to get cooked out.
  • Add the tomato puree and the green chilies. Fry the mixture for 2-3 minutes. You will need to add a bit of water or stock to keep it from getting too thick. But at least when that happens you'll know you're doing it right.
  • Add the Indian hotel curry gravy. Stir well. You want everything mixed together. Bring to a simmer.
  • Add the cream and kasoori methi. Stir to combine.
  • Add the chicken thigh pieces in a single layer. Nestle them down into the sauce. Cover and cook about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the lid, flip the chicken and replace the lid. Continue simmering until the chicken is done. You are shooting for an internal temperature of 170F. Should only be a couple minutes more.
  • Chicken changezi should be a saucy curry. Look at it in your pan. It's going to need a little extra liquid (water or no-sodium chicken stock) to get it there. Somewhere between 2-4 tablespoons. You want a consistency just slightly thicker than heavy cream.
  • Serve garnished with fried shallots if you like. It's not essential but it is a really nice touch.


You can use makhani gravy without the final cream and butter in place of the pureed tomatoes. Using the makhani gravy adds an extra dimension of flavour and the richness of the cashews. I’m allergic to cashews so I tend to leave them out. The pureed tomatoes make for a very nice changezi as well. Up to you. If you want to go the distance makhani gravy is a nice touch. 
Make your Indian hotel curry gravy ahead of time. It does take time to make so think about doing it the day before. You can freeze one cup portions and pull them out when you need them. That’s what I do.
For maximum flavour consider making your garlic ginger paste from scratch. I know I say this a lot but it makes such a difference.
1 cup is 237 ml. And check out the metric conversion feature I just added.


Serving: 2servings | Calories: 771kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 231mg | Sodium: 1603mg | Potassium: 1168mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1608IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 171mg | Iron: 5mg

34 thoughts on “chicken changezi – hotel style”

  1. Hi Romain, I’m happy to say that I’ve cooked nearly all the hotel recipes. I have a general question but don’t find a place on the site to ask general questions so asking it here: I enjoy the flavor or mustard oil, and they obviously sell it in enormous quantities at my Indian grocer, but you rarely call for it. What is the role of mustard oil in Indian cooking?

    • You can ask questions anywhere you want. I don’t have a special place set up so just feel free.

      Mustard oil is a little controversial so I have always shied away from recommending it. That said, I’m half Bengali and Bengalis love anything mustard. It has a distinct taste that works really well against Indian spicing but you should look into the science around mustard oil and decide for yourself if you want to go there.

      If you do decide you want to incorporate it into your diet and you like fish curries look at macher jhol.

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Romain!
    I have just discovered your recipe and completely sold on making it for a large dinner party in a few weeks! A few of the guests are vegetarian however, so what meat substitute would you recommend and how long should I cook that for? I was planning on cooking the sauce in two separate skillets too. Thanks!

    • I don’t have any experience with meat substitute products I am afraid. I do like roasted eggplant as a meat substitute generally (see the restaurant eggplant curry recipe for the method) and I hear people like seitan (never tried it). I think this recipe would be way too rich with paneer FWIW.

  3. 5 stars
    Wow! What a stunning curry!

    I’ve never even heard of changezi before and I’ve never seen it on any restaurant menu either. That’s their loss.

    The sour/tart edge balances the cream and lets that cream make the dish delightfully rich and velvety without it tasting so rich you can’t finish it. As soon as I started reading the recipe and looked at the unique spice profile I knew this was going to be something quite different and interesting.

    Thank you Romain! This has to be one of the best curries I have ever eaten, and I cooked it!

  4. 5 stars
    After working my way through most of your hotel style this is my favourite curry of all time, along with the hotel style kerala curry. Me and my wife love them both. It’s hard to choose a winner as they’re both so crazy good. Trying to grow some methi to try your methi chicken now, haven’t managed to find any where I am in the UK. All I know is I make a damn good curry these days, and that’s all thanks to you Romain. Cheers!

  5. 5 stars
    Hi Romain, chicken Changezi is absolutely awesome!! At least the way you do it. No surprise there 😉 But this is clearly a dish that I’m going to do many many times.

    As it happened, I had just the right amount of leftover Makhani in the freezer so I went all the way! This dish really has it all: black cardamom, the soft feel of Butter Chicken, hotel gravy, and a very serious and original spice combination. And just to top it off, fried shallots. Perfectly decadent! So. Incredibly. Good.

    Thank you for creating and sharing the recipe, chef! Always in your debt.

    Ps. I have lately been making a number of middle eastern recipes from a cookbook called “Jerusalem: a cookbook”. Having followed Glebe Kitchen for almost two years now, it was so easy to do it. And the best part: I noticed that I can immediately spot when the spice amounts are accurate and when they are not. Plus I also tinkered with the recipes based on all the different tricks I have been accumulating. Everything turns out super good. So I guess I wanted to say, thanks for the lessons, inspiration and confidence! Now I can unlock another wonderful new world of flavors!

    • This one is on my list of completely over the top recipes too. I’m overdue to make it myself.

      I have Plenty from the same author/chef. There are some great recipes in that book. If you can now just look at a recipe and see what is wrong then the Force is strong in you! That is the mark of a great cook!

  6. Romain,

    I have followed many recipes from internet but got best appreciation when I followed your changezi chicken recipe. My kids tell me that this is the best chicken dish ever..


  7. 5 stars
    Hi Romain,
    I made your Changezi a few weeks ago and it went down so well with our Indian food friends – thank you!
    In fact, it was (like your other traditional offerings) so good, that I am preparing it again today. I have been following glebekitchen for sometime now and feel it’s about due that I let you know how much the recipes are enjoyed. Seems only fair!
    Not only have you enabled me to take my modest Indian cooking to a much higher level, but also to provide history of the dishes which always entertains when we sit round the table.
    Tonight, we are having Changezi, Dhansak, Saag Aloo and Pilau Rice. Wish me luck, as the rice is a first – I usually just do Basmati boiled rice. I’ll let you know how it turns out!
    Thanks again, you are an inspiration.

    • You are very, very welcome. I’m happy to hear you are enjoying the blog and took the time to leave a comment. Your menu sounds amazing BTW. That’s a serious session in the kitchen!

  8. Hi Romain. I have friends coming this week who love your hotel style Jalfrezi when I make it. I’m thinking this would be a good one for them. Please can you help with pronunciation…
    Is it pronounced ChanJezi or ChanGezi? (Hard or soft g?)

    Thanks. I love your recipes and style!

    • I have always said it with a hard g (Ghengis/Changez). Not going to risk saying that’s gospel truth though…

  9. Hi Romain
    Found your website, and love your style and recipes. Have tried 2 already – amazing:)
    Please could you share the approx weight of the chicken used in this recipe – i assumed 4 chicken thighs to be around 500g?

    • Thank you so much! Where I am 4 chicken thighs is about 500-600 grams or so with skin and bone. After you skin and bone it is probably closer to 350g or so. Basically you want a reasonable amount of chicken for two per recipe.

  10. 5 stars
    Hi Roman! Using your recipes & techniques I prepare Indian curries etc that are always better than what’s available at our local take aways/restaurants.

    Tonight was hotel-style chicken changezi (w/makhani gravy!) and punjabi dal makhani. Oh my, heavenly. Now if I could only find a good naan recipe hint hint.
    ps I’m loving your dal recipes!

    • I’ve been asked that one (naan) before. I am going to have to try to perfect something soon I guess. Maybe a pizza oven naan? I’m more of a paratha and chapatti guy but I do love a really good naan as well.

  11. You have caused me to take on Indian food with a vengeance. I made Lamb Vindaloo (hotel) and that was amazing. Then I made the Lamb Madras (hotel) and didn’t think it could get any better-nailed the “bloom” on the spices. Oh, that was until tonight. Made Changezi using Makhani gravy. OMG. Only change I would make to your recipe is to say that the fried shallots are mandatory. Over the top.Slowly fried to brown and sweet. And even atop a lush, layered, amazing sauce, those shallots were the jewels on the crown. Outstanding. As wonderful as it was, having a freezer with containers of hotel gravy, Makhani gravy, ice cube trays with frozen ginger/garlic meant that it was easy, quick, and pretty idiot-proof. Thank you.

  12. Hi Romain!

    It’s your friend, the Proofreader, back with an idea! Not a typo today! Well, ok, maybe one suggestion, besides the idea. Not necessarily a typo though.

    In step 1. of “Marinate the chicken”, I don’t know that this is a “better” word. Just an idea, a word that came to mind while I was reading this. Infusion. You decide, obviously!

    You said this is not a long term marination. Infusion came to mind. As did the thought that “long term” should probably be hyphenated since it modifies “marination”.

    Again, just an idea. Not necessarily necessary!

    I did want to ask though, how long is “not long term”? Are you just dipping and coating? Or do you leave it sit for a few minutes to infuse all of the wonderful flavors? Or perhaps something completely different?

    Seems like that wouldn’t hurt! I haven’t made it yet. Just read it now. It sounds wonderful! And creamy!

    Your thoughts, please? And thank you!

    • Hi Proofreader:-). I went back to look at what I wrote and decided coat the chicken would be more appropriate. Thanks for giving me a nudge.

5 from 18 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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