Dhaba Style Chicken Curry Recipe

5 from 1 vote
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Dhaba Style Chicken Curry is a flavorful and rustic dish inspired by the roadside eateries, known as “dhabas,” in India.

These casual and vibrant food joints are famous for serving delicious and hearty meals to travelers and locals alike.

This chicken curry captures the essence of the dhaba experience with its robust flavors and aromatic spices.

The curry is prepared with succulent chicken pieces cooked in a thick and luscious gravy.

Dhaba Style Chicken Curry

Key Takeaways:

  • Dhaba Style Chicken Curry captures the flavors and essence of roadside eateries in India known as “dhabas.”
  • It is a robust and aromatic dish with a rich and savory taste, thanks to a blend of spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala.
  • The curry is characterized by its vibrant red color and balanced heat from red chili powder and Kashmiri red chili paste.
  • Slow-cooking allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a flavorful and tender chicken curry.
  • Dhaba Style Chicken Curry pairs well with Indian breads like naan or roti and is often served with steamed rice for a complete meal experience.

The Ingredients:

Dhaba Style Chicken Curry Ingredients

  • Chicken: 1 kg (Cut and cleaned))
  • Onion: 3 pieces (chopped)
  • Garlic: 10 cloves
  • Ginger-Garlic Paste: 3 tbl spoons (2-inch ginger and 2 large garlics)
  • yogurt: 2 tbl spoons
  • Tomato: 2 pieces (chopped)
  • Turmeric Powder: 1 tbl spoon
  • Red Chili + Kashmiri Red Chili Powder: 2 tbl spoons
  • Coriander Powder: 1 tbl spoon
  • Garam Masala: 1 tbl spoon
  • Kasauri Methi: 1 tbl spoon
  • Bay Leaves: 2 pieces
  • Cinnamon Sticks: 2 pieces
  • Green Cardamom: 4 pieces
  • Black Cardamom: 1 pieces
  • Cloves: 2 pieces
  • Cumin Seeds: ½ tbl spoon
  • Mustard Oil: 3 tbl spoons
  • Salt to Taste

How to Cook Dhaba Style Chicken Curry (Step by Step Images)?

1. Marinate the chicken with ginger-garlic paste, yogurt, turmeric powder, chili powder mixture, and some salt. You can use your hands while marinating the chicken. Set it aside for half an hour.

Marinating the chicken with ginger-garlic paste, curd, turmeric powder, chili powder mixture, and some salt

2. Heat the wok on the clay stove and add mustard oil.

Heating wok on the clay stove and adding mustard oil

3. Add the whole spices such as bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, green cardamoms, black cardamom, cloves, and cumin seeds into the oil.

Adding whole spices such as bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, green cardamoms, black cardamom, cloves, and cumin seeds

4. Once the spices emit an aroma, add chopped onions, and fry them until light brown.

add chopped onions and frying

5. Add tomatoes and stir well.

Adding tomatoes and stirring

6. Add garlic cloves and give the mixture a good stir.

Adding garlic cloves and stirring

7. After the onions and tomatoes become tender, add the marinated chicken pieces. Now comes the koshano (some arm-twisting work).

Adding the marinated chicken pieces

8. Add coriander powder and ½ tablespoon of garam masala. Cover it with a lid. Cook on low flame with a lid on.

Adding coriander powder and garam masala

9. Remove the lid after a few minutes and add water. Add salt and cover the wok once again.

Adding water, salt and cover the wok

10. After 10 minutes, remove the lid. Sprinkle Kasuri methi and garam masala. Cook for 2 minutes with the lid on.

Sprinkling Kasuri methi and garam masala

11. Switch off the flame. Pour the Dhaba Style Chicken Curry onto a serving bowl.

Pouring the Dhaba Style Chicken Curry into a bowl

Pro Tips for Making Dhaba Style Chicken Curry

Marination: For enhanced flavor, marinate the chicken pieces with a mixture of yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, and red chili powder. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator for best results.

Slow Cooking: To achieve the authentic dhaba style, cook the chicken curry on low heat for a longer duration. This slow-cooking method allows the flavors to develop and the chicken to become tender and juicy.

Spice Blend: Use a combination of whole and ground spices to create a robust flavor profile. Toast whole spices like cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and cardamom pods in a dry pan before grinding them to release their essential oils and enhance their aroma.

Onions and Tomatoes: Cook the onions until they turn golden brown to add a caramelized sweetness to the curry. Similarly, cook the tomatoes until they are soft and blend seamlessly into the gravy, imparting a tangy and rich flavor.

Ginger-Garlic Paste: Use freshly ground ginger and garlic to make a paste for a vibrant and aromatic base. You can also add a pinch of grated ginger towards the end of cooking for an extra kick of flavor.

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Balancing Heat: Adjust the amount of red chili powder and Kashmiri red chili paste according to your spice tolerance. If you prefer a milder curry, reduce the quantity of these ingredients or substitute them with paprika for color without excessive heat.

Garam Masala: Add a sprinkle of homemade or store-bought garam masala towards the end of cooking to elevate the flavors and add a warming touch. This spice blend typically includes cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and other aromatic spices.

Garnish (OPTIONAL): Finish off the curry with a garnish of fresh cilantro leaves (coriander) for a burst of freshness and a pop of green color. You can also drizzle some fresh lemon juice over the curry just before serving to brighten the flavors.

Resting Time: Allow the curry to rest for a few minutes before serving. This helps the flavors to meld together and enhances the overall taste of the dish.

By following these pro tips, you can recreate the authentic flavors of dhaba-style chicken curry right in your own kitchen and impress your family and friends with a delicious and aromatic meal.

What to Serve with Dhaba Style Chicken Curry?

Dhaba Style Chicken Curry Serving

Dhaba Style Chicken Curry pairs wonderfully with a variety of accompaniments, adding more depth and texture to your meal. Here are some delicious options to serve alongside your curry:

Indian Breads: Naan, roti, paratha, or kulcha are classic choices that complement the rich flavors of the curry. These breads are perfect for mopping up the thick gravy and savoring every bite.

Rice: Steamed basmati rice is a popular choice to serve with chicken curry. The fragrant, long-grain rice provides a neutral base that allows the flavors of the curry to shine. You can also consider serving flavored rice dishes like biryani or pulao for a more elaborate meal.

Remember to tailor the accompaniments to your personal preferences and the preferences of your guests.

How Does Dhaba Style Chicken Curry Taste?

Dhaba Style Chicken Curry Taste

Dhaba Style Chicken Curry is known for its bold and robust flavors that are both spicy and aromatic. The taste of this curry can be described as:

Spicy: Dhaba style curries are often known for their heat and spice. The chicken curry is typically made with a blend of flavorful spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, and garam masala. The spices infuse the curry with a warm, fiery kick that adds depth and intensity to the dish.

Rich and Savory: The curry is cooked using a medley of ingredients like onions, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes, which create a thick and luscious gravy. The combination of these ingredients imparts a rich and savory taste to the curry, making it deeply satisfying.

Aromatic: The curry is seasoned with a variety of whole and ground spices, such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and bay leaves. These spices release their fragrant oils during the cooking process, filling the air with an enticing aroma that enhances the overall experience of the dish.

Balanced Flavors: While the curry is spicy, it is also well-balanced with other flavors. The tanginess of tomatoes, the slight sweetness of caramelized onions, and the earthiness of the spices come together harmoniously to create a complex flavor profile.

Tender Chicken: The chicken pieces in the curry are cooked until they become tender and juicy, allowing them to absorb the flavors of the spices and the gravy. The succulent chicken adds a satisfying texture to each bite.

Overall, Dhaba Style Chicken Curry offers a tantalizing blend of spice, richness, and aromatic flavors that make it a favorite among Indian food enthusiasts. It is a dish that is sure to awaken your taste buds and leave you craving for more.

Dhaba Style Chicken Curry Alternatives

If you’re looking for alternatives to Dhaba Style Chicken Curry, here are a few options you can consider:

Dhaba Style Paneer Curry: If you prefer a vegetarian option, you can substitute chicken with paneer (Indian cottage cheese) to make a delicious and flavorful paneer curry. The spices and cooking techniques used in Dhaba style curries work well with paneer, creating a tasty and satisfying dish.

Dhaba Style Vegetable Curry: Another vegetarian alternative is a mixed vegetable curry prepared in the Dhaba style. You can use a variety of vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, peas, and bell peppers to create a colorful and nutritious curry. The spices and flavors will infuse the vegetables, resulting in a flavorful and aromatic dish.

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Dhaba Style Mutton Curry: If you enjoy the richness and depth of flavors in Dhaba style curries, you can try making a mutton curry using the same cooking techniques. Slow-cook tender pieces of mutton with aromatic spices and herbs to create a savory and satisfying curry.

Dhaba Style Fish Curry: If you prefer seafood, you can make a Dhaba style fish curry using your choice of fish. Use a flavorful blend of spices, tangy tomatoes, and aromatic ingredients to create a tangy and spicy fish curry that pairs well with rice or bread.

Dhaba Style Egg Curry: For an easy and budget-friendly alternative, you can make an egg curry in the Dhaba style. Hard-boiled eggs are cooked in a rich and spicy tomato-based gravy, resulting in a delicious and protein-packed curry.

These alternatives allow you to explore the flavors and cooking techniques of Dhaba style cuisine while catering to your specific dietary preferences.

Whether you’re a vegetarian or a fan of different proteins, there are plenty of options to enjoy the essence of Dhaba style cooking.

Recipe Card:

Dhaba Style Chicken Curry

Dhaba Style Chicken Curry

By Mita Mondal
Dhaba Style Chicken Curry refers to a flavorful and aromatic chicken curry dish that is inspired by the cuisine served at roadside dhabas in India.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Marination time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 5
Calories 307 kcal


  • 1 kg Chicken (cut and cleaned))
  • 3 pieces Onion (chopped)
  • 10 cloves Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Yogurt
  • 2 pieces Tomato (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Turmeric Powder
  • tablespoon Red Chili Powder
  • tablespoon Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Garam Masala
  • 1 tablespoon Kasauri Methi
  • 2 pieces Bay Leaves
  • 2 pieces Cinnamon Stick
  • 4 pieces Green Cardamom
  • 1 piece Black Cardamom
  • 2 pieces Clove
  • ½ tablespoon Cumin Seed
  • 3 tablespoon Mustard Oil
  • Salt to Taste


  • 2 inch Ginger (pasted)
  • 2 pieces Garlic (pasted)


  • Marinate the chicken: In a bowl, combine ginger-garlic paste, curd, turmeric powder, chili powder, and salt. Use your hands to massage the marinade into the chicken pieces. Set it aside for at least 30 minutes to marinate and infuse the flavors.
  • Heat the wok: Place a wok on the stove and heat it over medium heat. Add mustard oil and allow it to heat up.
  • Add the whole spices: Into the hot oil, add bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, green cardamoms, black cardamom, cloves, and cumin seeds. Let the spices sizzle and release their aromas.
  • Sauté onions: Add chopped onions to the wok and sauté until they turn light brown and caramelized.
  • Stir in tomatoes: Add the chopped tomatoes to the wok and stir well. Cook until the tomatoes become tender and blend into a thick paste.
  • Incorporate garlic: Add the garlic cloves to the mixture and give it a good stir. Allow the garlic to cook and infuse its flavor into the curry base.
  • Add marinated chicken: Now it's time to add the marinated chicken pieces to the wok. Mix them well with the onion-tomato base, ensuring each piece is coated with the flavors.
  • Spice it up: Sprinkle coriander powder and half a tablespoon of garam masala over the chicken. Cover the wok with a lid and let it cook on low heat. The lid will trap the flavors and moisture, resulting in tender chicken.
  • Introduce water: After a few minutes, remove the lid and pour water into the wok. Add salt according to taste. Cover the wok again and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Final touches: Remove the lid and sprinkle Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) and another half tablespoon of garam masala over the curry. Cook for an additional 2 minutes with the lid on to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Serve: Turn off the flame and transfer the Dhaba Style Chicken Curry to a serving bowl. It's now ready to be enjoyed with your choice of rice or Indian breads.


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Here are some recipe notes to keep in mind while preparing Dhaba Style Chicken Curry:
Marination time: Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes. This step helps the flavors to penetrate the meat and make it more tender and flavorful. For even better results, marinate the chicken overnight in the refrigerator.
Mustard oil: Traditional Dhaba Style Chicken Curry is prepared with mustard oil, which adds a distinct flavor to the dish. If you don't have mustard oil, you can use any cooking oil of your choice, but the flavor may vary slightly.
Whole spices: The whole spices like bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cardamoms, cloves, and cumin seeds are essential for creating the authentic Dhaba flavor. Toasting the whole spices in oil before adding other ingredients helps release their aromatic oils and enhances the overall taste of the curry.
Cooking on low heat: Slow-cooking the curry on low heat allows the flavors to develop and meld together. It also ensures that the chicken becomes tender and absorbs the flavors of the spices and gravy. Avoid rushing the cooking process by maintaining a low flame.
Adjusting spice levels: The spice levels can be adjusted according to personal preference. If you prefer a milder curry, reduce the amount of red chili powder or Kashmiri red chili paste. If you like it spicier, increase the quantities. Taste and adjust the spices as needed to suit your palate.
Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves): Kasuri methi is a key ingredient in Dhaba Style Chicken Curry, as it adds a unique flavor and aroma to the dish. Crush the dried fenugreek leaves between your palms before adding them to release their fragrance. If you don't have Kasuri methi, you can omit it, but it does contribute to the authentic taste.
Resting time: Allow the curry to rest for a few minutes before serving. This resting period helps the flavors to mingle and intensify, resulting in a more delicious and cohesive dish.
Adjusting consistency: If the curry appears too thick, you can add a little water to achieve the desired consistency. Conversely, if it's too watery, simmer it uncovered for a few minutes to reduce the liquid and thicken the gravy.
Garnish (OPTIONAL): Consider garnishing the curry with fresh cilantro leaves (coriander) for a vibrant touch and added freshness. A squeeze of lemon juice just before serving can also enhance the flavors.
Enjoy the process of cooking and savor the flavors of Dhaba Style Chicken Curry!

Nutrition Info (Estimation Only)

Nutrition Facts
Dhaba Style Chicken Curry
Amount per Serving
Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Dhaba Style Chicken Curry is a delectable and aromatic dish that brings together the rich flavors of Indian spices and the rustic charm of roadside dhaba cooking.

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It offers a perfect balance of spiciness and tanginess, with tender chicken pieces cooked in a luscious gravy.

This curry is best enjoyed with steamed rice, naan, or roti, allowing you to savor the flavors and experience the essence of traditional Dhaba cuisine in the comfort of your own home.

So, indulge in this flavorful dish and transport yourself to the vibrant world of Indian roadside eateries.

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