Dhaba Chicken – Indian restaurant-style chicken curry

Dhabi chicken and nan bread pinit View Gallery 3 photos

Dhaba chicken is a classic Indian curry despite it being a different dish in every establishment. It basically describes a standard chicken curry but the actual recipe varies so much across the country of India that there is no one way of making it. This recipe is my favourite as it uses fenugreek which gives a nice earthy flavour to the dish.

This dish has many ingredients but is easy to make. The marinade creates a good foundation for the variety of spices that make up the sauce. The longer the chicken is left to marinade the better. A good trick is to use a vacuum tub which speeds up the marinading process – I really recommend getting one.

Dhaba chicken can be served alongside any meat or vegetable curry. I like to serve it with spinach and cheese curry and dahl as the colour difference is attractive on the plate. Rice and nan breads are a must!

Dhaba Chicken – Indian restaurant-style chicken curry

Difficulty: Intermediate
Servings: 4






  1. Add all the ingredients for the marinade to a bowl (or a vacuum tub) and mix well.

  2. Leave to marinade in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.


  1. Add 2 tbsp of mustard oil, cinnamon stick, 2 Indian bay leaves, 10 whole peppercorns, 3 cloves, 4 green cardamom and 3 dried chilis to a cold frying pan. Turn on the heat to medium and fry until the aroma starts to be released (waft the steam towards you to smell the change in aroma).

    Whole spices for dhaba chicken
  2. Add the onion and fry until softened (about 5 minutes).

  3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and add it to the frying pan. Fry until the chicken gains a little colour. Don’t worry about cooking the chicken through as it will cook in the sauce.

  4. Add 2 tsp of garlic/ginger paste and fry for a further minute.

  5. Add 1 tsp each of chili powder, coriander and cumin, and 1/2 tsp of turmeric and fry for 30 seconds making sure nothing catches. Add a little water if it seems too dry.

    Cooking dhaba chicken curry
  6. Add the blended tomatoes and stir making sure everything is incorporated. Simmer on a medium to low heat for 10 minutes. Add salt to taste. Add a little water if the sauce gets too dry.

  7. In a small bowl whisk the yoghurt with the flour. Stir the yoghurt into the chicken curry.

  8. Add 1 tbsp of dried crumbled fenugreek leaves and simmer for 5 minutes.

  9. Check the chicken for doneness and seasoning. 

  10. Serve with rice, breads and a dahl.

Keywords: chicken curry, Indian,
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