This Homestyle Chicken Handi ( Murgh Handi ) is a must-try dish for Indian curry lovers. Aromatic, tender boneless chicken pieces cooked in creamy curry sauce. Handi curry can be served with naan, basmati rice or any of your favorite kind of bread!
Chicken curries are one of the staple dishes that we never get bored of. I love to cook both homestyle chicken curries and restaurant-style chicken curries at home. If you are a curry fan like me, you don't want to miss our reader's favorite Hyderabadi Chicken, Naga Chicken Curry, Vegetable Bhuna, Monkfish Curry and Murgh masala recipes which are so easy to prepare and so flavourful.
What is Chicken Handi?
Handi Chicken dish is a traditional North Indian style curry, slow-cooked in a copper or earthen clay pot (called handi) with aromatic spices, yogurt, cream, and fragrant herbs.
For a home cook like us, we can use any heavy bottom pot or pan instead of the traditional clay pot. Many restaurants and takeaways recreate and modify this dish according to their own liking. In the UK, British Indian Restaurant style Chicken Handi is cooked in a pre-cooked curry base with is so smooth, creamy, and flavourful. In this recipe, I am sharing our recipe for making Chicken Handi from scratch without using a pre-cooked curry base.
You can cook it at home easily by following the steps in our easy home-style chicken handi recipe. All you have to do is to give some time to gather all the required ingredients and the whole cooking process will only take about 40 minutes.
Ingredients you will need
Chicken handi recipes might look complicated as it requires many ingredients but if you take a careful look at each ingredient, you will see 99% of them are pantry friendly and the rest 1% is also widely available at supermarkets and grocery stores. Following is a quick guide and detailed measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Chicken – You can either use boneless chicken thigh or breast. Bone-in curry cut or chicken parts such as thighs, drumsticks, or wings go well with this recipe too. Cooking time can be varied according to the meat cut.
- Ginger, Garlic, and onion – Essentials in Indian cooking! Freshly grated ginger garlic paste is added to enhance the flavor. Highly recommend adding shallot onion to thicken and sweeten the curry.
- Tomato – Use vine-ripened fresh tomatoes or tomato passata. It gives beautiful red color and tangy flavor to the curry sauce.
- Yogurt - Plain natural yoghurt is ideal to add to both marinade and curry sauce. It keeps the meat soft and tender if you add it to the marinade and creates a creamy texture in the curry sauce.
- The spices used in this recipe are all pantry-staple, except Kasuri Methi. Chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala, cumin seeds, and coriander powder. If you are a curry lover you might need to keep all these spices in hand for later use.
- Kasuri Methi – You can find it in the packaging as Kasoori Methi or fenugreek leaves. Dried fenugreek leaves are crushed into small particles and added near the end of the cooking process. Adding this will give the dish a more authentic Indian curry aroma.
How to cook chicken handi?
- Marinate chicken pieces with, yoghurt, turmeric, garam masala, and salt to taste. Set it aside for 15 minutes or leave it in the fridge if you have more time.
- First, heat the oil to medium heat. Add cumin seeds and stir for a few seconds, then add the chopped onions and cook until soft and translucent. Then add garlic and ginger paste and continue to stir until the onions start to get brown.
- Now it's time to add the tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are reduced and oil starts to separate. Add turmeric, chilli, garam masala, and coriander powder. Saute for a few seconds until fragrant.
- Add chicken and cook for 1-2 minutes and pour the water and yoghurt in. Season with salt to taste. Close the lid and cook for another 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Stir occasionally and add more water if needed.
- Stir in the double cream, green chilli, and dried fenugreek leaves. Cook for another 4-5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and finish with coriander and a dash of garam masala.
- Taste just like an authentic handi recipe use a heavy bottom pot like a cast-iron pan ( Dutch oven ) if you cannot get any clay pot in hand. We usually cook with a cast-iron pan which can maintain the temperature and perfect slow-cooking recipes.
- Don't forget to crush the Kasuri methi just right before adding it to the curry sauce to enhance the flavour.
- Use freshly grated ginger garlic paste instead of store-bought one for the best aromatic flavour.
Yes, you can use aubergine, eggplant, potato, or firm tofu instead of chicken and make it a vegetarian handi curry.
This dish is a medium-hot curry dish consisting of chilli powder, fresh green chilies, and garam masala. You can adjust the chilli powder according to your taste.
This dish goes well with Indian flat bread like naan, roti, and chapatti or plain/flavored basmati rice. You can also serve it with your favorite flat bread. I sometimes have my curry with baguette or sourdough.
More Fantastic Chicken Curry Recipes
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Chicken Handi Recipe
- Large heavy bottom pot
Chicken & Marinade
- 500 gram Chicken breast Or thigh ( About 17.5 oz ) Cut medium dices
- 3 tbsp Yoghurt Plain yoghurt
- ½ tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Garam masala
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Chilli powder
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- ½ tsp Coriander powder
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1½ tsp Garam masala
- 1 tsp Kasuri methi Dried fenugreek leaves
- 3 Shallot onions Finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Garlic paste Freshly grated
- 1 tbsp Ginger paste Freshly grated
- 3 Tomatoes Finely chopped
- 3 tbsp Yoghurt Plain yoghurt
- 3 tbsp Double cream Or heavy cream
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1½ cup Water
- 3 tbsp Oil Or ghee or neutral flavour vegetable oil
- 3-4 Green chilli Cut into half/ thin slices
- handful Coriander
- First, marinate the chicken pieces with, salt, garam masala, turmeric, and yoghurt. Marinate and set it aside for at least 15 minutes.
- Heat the oil in the heavy bottom pot/pan to medium heat. Add cumin seeds, saute for a few seconds and add chopped onions. Stir it well until the onions are soft and translucent. Follow with the ginger garlic paste and saute until the onions are slightly brown.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until are tomatoes are reduced and oil separated. Then add the spices: chilli powder, turmeric, 1tsp garam masala, and coriander powder. Stir it for few seconds until fragrant.
- Next, add the marinated chicken pieces and combine well with the rest of the ingredients and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Then pour the water and yoghurt in. Season with salt to taste, close the lid and cook with low-medium heat for another 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Stir occasionally and add more water if needed.
- Now, add double cream, Kasuri methi, and green chilli and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Finish with ½ tsp garam masala, and chopped coriander.
- Transfer to serving plate and garnish with ginger strips and coriander. Serve with plain jasmine rice, naan, chapati or flatbread.
- Chicken - We usually use boneless chicken thigh or breast for this recipe. If you wish to add bone-in chicken pieces, cook a few more minutes until the chicken is tender.
- Chilli powder - Add regular hot/mild chilli powder or Kashmiri chilli powder. If you prefer it mild or to make it kid-friendly curry, you can add paprika powder for colour.
- Kasuri Methi - is also known as dried fenugreek leaves. To enhance the flavour gently crush the methi leaves with your hands just right before adding them to curry sauce.
- Cream - You can use double cream/heavy cream for a rich creamy curry sauce. If you have any diary-allergy you can use coconut milk or cashew nut paste as a substitute.
- Tomatoes - Finely chopped fresh vine-ripened tomatoes are the best for the cooking curry sauce. Instead of fresh tomatoes, you can also use tomato passata.
- Freezing and reheating - Once the curry is completely cooled down, store it in a freezer-safe container/bag and keep it in the freezer. Reheat in the microwave or stovetop until piping hot before serving. As the curry can be thicker after cooking, you might need to add a splash of water when reheating.
- Cooking big batch - To cook for a crowd, you can simply double or triple the ingredients. Tap on the servings size and adjust it to your desire servings.