Shahi Chicken Bhuna

Happy Holi good people of the world! Are you, like me, someone who enjoys cooking up a storm during these festivals? Earlier, when we lived in Mumbai, mom used to make snacks and some sweets and we usually had a special lunch and dinner menu, encompassing mutton more often than not. Now, mutton is a rarity, and is cooked only twice or at the most thrice a year in our house. Holi, is usually one such occasion. But this year, I decided to make chicken, and keep the mutton cooking for another time (probably new year 😛 )

I don’t really like the ‘desi murgi’ or country chicken that is sold here. In Mumbai, we used to eat Godrej broiler chicken, and no matter what people say about desi chicken being more tasty, I prefer broiler. Here, I send dad out to get me Venky’s frozen chicken, because I prefer their boneless and drumstick packs 🙂 This dish is fairly easy to make, and doesn’t take a lot of time, especially if you’re short on the same. Just make sure you marinate the chicken so cooking time reduces 😀

Shahi Chicken Bhuna –



  • Boneless chicken – 500 gms or Chicken breast – 4 pieces
  • Tok doi/Sour curd/Yoghurt – 1 and 1/2 cup
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Garlic – 12 to 15 cloves
  • Tomatoes – 2
  • Onions – 4, sliced lengthwise finely, deep fried
  • Cashews – 10 to 12, blanched
  • Anardana/Dried pomegranate powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric – 2 tsp
  • Kashmiri red chili powder – 2 tbsp
  • Dried red chilies – 4, soaked in hot water, de-seeded
  • Cream – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Coriander – 1 cup
  • Mustard oil – 4 tbsp OR Ghee – 4 tbsp


  1. Cut the chicken breasts into 1 inch sized pieces or if using boneless, get equally sized pieces, about an inch.
  2. Wash and drain and keep in a large bowl.
  3. Deep fry the sliced onions until golden and crisp and drain with a slotted spoon and place on a kitchen towel lined plate.
  4. Make a paste of the ginger, garlic, tomatoes, blanched cashews and fried onions and the de-seeded soaked red chilies. This is the marinade base.
  5. Beat the curd, and mix with the marinade.
  6. Apply this liberally on the chicken, covering every piece.
  7. Add turmeric, red chili powder and anardana powder. 
  8. Cover the bowl with cling film and keep it in the refrigerator anywhere between 2 to 5 hours, or at least for 30 minutes.
  9. Heat a deep-bottomed vessel, and add the mustard oil or ghee.
  10. Once smoking hot, lower the flame, and add the chicken with the marinade into the oil, be careful of splatters.
  11. Season with salt, and Kashmiri red chili powder, keep stirring the chicken so it doesn’t stick to the pan.
  12. Now is when you need to ‘bhuno’ this, which means cooking the chicken on low flame, letting it stew in its own juices.
  13. Cover the pan, cook for 5 to 7 minutes, uncover, stir and cover again, letting the chicken ‘bhuno’ for about 10 minutes on very low flame (or minimum powder if using induction. you can also use a tawa on the bottom, so the heat dispersed is less)
  14. The chicken and masalas will have oozed out oil.
  15. Check chicken for tenderness, and if needed, add 2 tbsp of water, and give it a stir, until it’s nice and dry.
  16. Uncover, and season with chopped coriander (reserving some for garnish) and cream, mixing it well.
  17. Take out on to a serving dish, garnish with reserved coriander, and a dollop of cream..
  18. Enjoy with rotis, parathas, rice, or naan 🙂 

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