Chicken Bhuna

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This recipe is not Anglo-Indian, but it is Indian. More important, it is delicious and worthy of inclusion in this blog. Having made it so many times i’ve lost count, i’ve developed a way of making it which suits my taste buds! Below is the recipe and some hints and tips that I have found useful. From this you could feed four people comfortably, but if you are like me, it will probably only stretch to two people 😉

Prep time approx. 10-15 minutes

Cooking time approx. 30 minutes


Fresh tomatoes on the vine are perfect for this curry


1 medium whole chicken and cut into 8 pieces (or 500g chicken fillet, cut into hearty chunks)

2 medium onions, chopped

2 tsp ginger and garlic paste (I usually use about 2 cm ginger, chopped, and 3 garlic cloves, chopped)

0.5 tsp salt (the original recipe called for 2 tsp – I think this is too much)

1 tsp chilli powder

1.5 tsp coriander powder

0.5 tsp tumeric

0.5 cup water

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

0.5 cup olive oil

1 tsp garam masala

2 tsp fresh coriander, chopped

3 small fresh chillies, sliced lengthwise (I use birdseye chillies – extra firey!)


1. In a heavy-based pan, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the salt, chilli powder, coriander powder and tumeric.

2. When onions soften, add salt, chilli powder, coriander powder and tumeric. Mix until the onions are well coated.

3. Add garlic and ginger. Reduce heat and stir.

4.  Add the tomatoes, stirring constantly, cook for 5 minutes.WP_20150417_003

5. Add the chicken and mix thoroughly. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes until the meat has turned slightly opaque and is half cooked.

6. Add garam masala and chillies.

7. Add the water and cook for 5-8 minutes, ensuring that you keep stirring all the time. The chicken is ready when the liquid has completely reduced.

8. Add corriander, stir once and transfer to serving dish.

9. Serve with plain basmati rice / pilau rice, and/or naan of choice (garlic naan always works well for me!) and mango chutney.

10. Of course, wine is always a great accompaniment. For me anything red and French works very well.

Hints and tips

1. This doesn’t have to be made with chicken. A great substitute is turkey, or for a delicious vegetarian option use sweet potatoes.

2. I add extra tomatoes and sometimes additional water to increase the sauce content.

3. Usually these curries call for vegetable oil – I use olive oil as a healthier alternative.

4. With all ingredients, the fresher the better, especially the chillies. In my experience, the fresher the chillies, the better the fieryness! This doesn’t mean it will blow your head off, rather that – as with all good curries – the fieryness and the spices build as you eat the meal, making the whole experience more satisfying.

5. I prefer not to crush the garlic and ginger to a paste, I prefer leaving them chopped finely which I think works very well in the Bhuna.

6. Don’t overdo the fresh corriander – as beautiful as it is – too much, drains the more beautiful fusion of the spices.

7. Whilst I almost always serve straight from the pan, this dish tastes so much better the following day. The fusion of the spices is divine.

Happy cooking 🙂

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