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Serving of chicken bhuna and rice from the front.
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4.55 from 11 votes

chicken bhuna curry

Chicken bhuna is delicious, well spiced chicken cooked in its own juices.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: chicken bhuna, chicken curry
Servings: 4
Calories: 465kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen


powdered spice mix

  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 2 tsp paprika for colour
  • 2 tsp kasoor methi fenugreek leaves, crumbled between your fingers
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

whole spice mix

  • 2 inch piece of cinnamon bark also known as cassia
  • 3 cloves whole
  • 1 black cardamom whole
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 3 red chilies dried
  • 1 Indian bay leaf also known as tej patta - optional

chicken bhuna curry

  • 8 chicken thighs boneless, skinless
  • 2 large onions chopped into 1/2 inch dice
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp garlic ginger paste
  • 1 1/2 cups pureed tomatoes I use whole canned tomatoes with their puree if I can't get decent fresh tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste or lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup cilantro chopped. A good handful really. No need to be super precise here.


Prepare your spices

  • Combine all the dry powdered spices and salt in a small bowl.
  • Combine all the whole spices in another small bowl

Make the chicken bhuna

  • Heat the oil in a pot with a lid that is large enough to hold all the ingredients over medium heat. When the oil starts to shimmer add the onions.
  • Cook the onions until they are browned on the edges. You aren't going for the deep brown onions this time. This should take 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Add the garlic ginger paste. Cook about a minute more.
  • Push the onions to one side. Give them a squeeze with a wooden spoon or spatula to get the oil into the pan. Add the whole spices and cook until you see little bubbles forming around the spices.
  • Pay attention to this step. Turn the heat to medium low. Add the powdered spice mix. Stir to combine thoroughly with the oil. You are going for a spicy oil slurry. You should have enough oil but if it looks dry add another tablespoon.
  • Cook the powdered spices for about a minute, stirring regularly. You need to be careful here. If you have enough oil the spices shouldn't burn. Burnt spices is the kiss of death. You have to start over if you burn them. If you have any doubts just push the pot off the burner.
  • Now stir the spice slurry into the onions. Mix it all up. Cook for about a minute more.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the chicken. Give it a stir and bring to a lively simmer. Cover loosely, reduce heat to get a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked through. Chicken thighs are perfectly cooked at 170F. Use your instant read thermometer. You have an instant read thermometer right? If you don't, you are just guessing.
  • The chicken should be done in 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on it. Give it a gentle stir every 5 minutes or so. You want this to be a pretty dry curry. The chicken will throw liquid as it cooks. If it looks really saucy take the lid off completely to finish cooking.
  • Add the tamarind or lemon and a good handful of chopped cilantro. Stir to combine. Cook for a couple more minutes. If it's too thick add a splash of water. Once you have reached your desired consistency taste and adjust salt.
  • Serve with roti or rice or both.


You can make this with bone-in, skinless chicken thighs as well. Just adjust the cooking times upwards by around 10-15 minutes. It's a little messier to eat but bone-in is real home cooking.
Homemade garlic ginger paste is way better than the stuff you get in a jar. If you want to up your game think about making it. It keeps for weeks in the fridge.


Serving: 4servings | Calories: 465kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 194mg | Sodium: 911mg | Potassium: 1073mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1354IU | Vitamin C: 63mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 4mg