Non – Vegetarian – The Traditional Punjabi Chicken Curry (Made with oodles of love, among other things)

This is the all-time favorite comfort chicken dish relished by one and all in our homes. The recipe found its origins in my grandmother’s kitchen from where it has traveled to come to us. And going by how much everyone loves it, it is sure to travel to the future generations. It is one of the first few dishes that I learnt.

Things to keep in mind –

When we cook this, we never buy a full chicken, as we have realized that everyone just wants the same pieces (leg and breast), and the poor others are ignored. So, therefore, we buy only the leg and breast pieces for this. And the most important thing is the size of the pieces. The standard size in our homes is 1/3. This size is neither too big nor too small. It is just the right size which can absorb the flavors of all the ingredients very well.

And now for the recipe –

Ingredients (For 3-4 people)

  1. Chicken 1 kg
  2. Curd (well beaten) 1/2 cup
  3. Onions (ground to a paste) 3-4 ( large)
  4. Tomatoes (puréed) 2
  5. Ginger (ground to a paste) 1 1/2 inch piece
  6. Garlic (ground to a paste) 10-12 flakes
  7. Oil 6-7 tbsp
  8. Bay leaf 1
  9. Cloves 2-3
  10. Cinnamon 1 inch stick
  11. Black cardamom 2
  12. Red chilly powder 1/2 tsp
  13. Coriander powder 2 tsp
  14. Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
  15. Garam Masala 1 tsp
  16. Salt 1 1/4 tsp or to taste
  17. Cumin ( roasted and ground to a powder) 3/4 tsp
  18. Chopped Coriander 2 tbsp

Method –

  1. Wash the chicken by keeping it in water to which 1 tbsp of vinegar has been added for 15 minutes.
  2. Drain the chicken.
  3. Marinate it by adding curd that has been beaten well and salt. Keep it for at least half an hour.
  4. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed kadhai. Add the bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon and black cardamom to it. Wait for a few seconds till they start to sizzle.
  5. Add the onion paste. Stir fry on medium heat till well browned.
  6. Reduce heat. Add the red chilly powder, coriander powder, turmeric and garam masala.
  7. Now add the ginger-garlic paste. Stir for a minute.
  8. Add the freshly puréed tomatoes and cook till the oil separates and the tomatoes blend well with the onions.
  9. Now add the chicken pieces leaving the marinade aside.
  10. Cook well till the water evaporates and the chicken turns dry and glossy.
  11. Reduce heat and add the marinade.
  12. Cook for 6-8 minutes till the curd dries completely and the oil separates.
  13. Add about 2 1/2 cups of water. Let it boil.
  14. Now cover and cook the chicken till it turns tender.
  15. Add the roasted cumin powder and mix.
  16. Garnish with the coriander leaves.
  17. Serve hot with rice/ roti. 


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