Dhaba Chicken Curry

"You will find this curry at practically all of the dhabas [roadside restaurants] that line the highways in northern India," says Sanjeev Kapoor. "Economical and tasty, it gives you a taste of simple Punjabi cooking."

video Video: Sanjeev Kapoor demonstrates how to toast spices


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  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
KEY: Fast - Column, Indian, Fast, Healthy, Make Ahead, Dinner

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  • 3 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • Four 6-ounce chicken breast halves on the bone, skinned
  • Salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Garam masala, for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

How to make this recipe

  1. In a food processor, chop the onions. Add the garlic and ginger and process until they are finely chopped.

  2. In a medium, enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the vegetable oil. Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom and cook over low heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the onion mixture and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add the turmeric and tomato sauce and simmer over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

  3. Season the chicken breasts with salt and add them to the casserole. Coat the chicken with the sauce. Add the water, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, turning a few times, until the chicken is white throughout, about 10 minutes. Season the chicken curry with salt.

  4. Transfer the chicken and sauce to a serving bowl. Sprinkle garam masala on top, garnish with the cilantro and serve.

Serve With

Basmati rice or naan.

Suggested Pairing

Baking spice–scented Beaujolais.

Contributed By Published March 2011

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