Spicy Dhaba Chicken is also known as Highway Chicken and can be found in little eateries, called Dhabas, scattered across the highways of India. This is a recipe invented and perfected by Dhaba cooks and is super popular all over India! If you’re driving from one state to another, especially across North India, you are bound to find this dish being served at some Dhaba or the other. This is definitely one of those must have chicken dishes and are truly finger licking good! It’s really surprising the amount of flavor these little eating joints can pack into their food! And believe me, they cook in huge quantities so it’s no mean feat to achieve the same every single day!.
Lucky for you, if you don’t get to travel by road much but love experimenting with different curries, my version (the most authentic) is perfect for you. If you are well and truly bored with the chicken curries you make almost every day then this is the ideal recipe for you. Like all my recipes, this too can be made just with the ingredients in your kitchen!
Ingredients for Two Servings:
Chicken – 300 Grams Cut into Pieces
Tomatoes – 2 Medium Diced Finely
Onions – 2 Medium Diced Finely
Ginger – 1 Inch Piece Grated
Garlic – 4 Cloves Grated
Cumin Seeds – 1/2 Teaspoon
Coriander Seeds – 1/2 Teaspoon
Cinnamon Stick – 1/2 Inch
Cloves – 4
Green Cardamom – 3
Turmeric Powder – 1/2 Teaspoon
Red Chilli Powder (Hot) – 1/2 Teaspoon
Kashmiri Chilli Powder – 3/4th Teaspoon
Salt – To Taste
Dried Fenugreek Leaves – A Small Pinch
Fresh Coriander Leaves – 1 Cup Chopped with Stems
Ghee (Clarified Butter) – 3 Tablespoons
Water – 1/2 Cup
Prep for Dhaba Chicken:
The Dhaba cooks grate the Garlic and Ginger as they probably do not use mixer grinders to grind their spices to a fine paste. Maybe they do have mixer grinders but prefer the more rustic approach to this recipe.
Dry roast the whole spices – Cumin Seeds, Coriander Seeds, Cinnamon and Green Cardamom and pound to a coarse powder in a mortar and pestle. If you do not have the patience or do not have a mortar and pestle then grind them in a mixer grinder to a semi fine and semi-coarse texture.
Finely dice the onions and tomatoes. That’s all the prep needed! Simple and quick!
Let’s get Cooking:
Heat up the Ghee in a Kadhai or Wok on a medium high flame. Add the diced Onions and sauté till a dark golden brown. Once the Onions are done, immediately add the diced Tomatoes and stir really well. Once the melted ghee separates, add the grated Ginger and Garlic and 3/4th of the freshly ground spices. Stir really well and lower the flame to medium-low. Once you see the melted ghee separating from the spices, add the pieces of Chicken and stir well. Ensure that the Chicken pieces are coated well with the spices. At this point add the Turmeric Powder, Hot Chilli Powder, Kashmiri Chilli Powder and stir really well. Add Salt and stir.
Add the half cup of Water and cover with a lid. Turn the heat up to medium. Cook for twenty minutes stirring occasionally. When the dish is halfway done, add the Dried Fenugreek Leaves and stir and the remaining freshly ground spices. The Dried Fenugreek leaves will take this Recipe to a whole new level and give it that true Dhaba style cooking taste. Dried Fenugreek Leaves is the Secret Ingredient of Dhaba Chicken and a lot of other Indian Curries.
If you feel that the Water has evaporated and the gravy is starting to stick to the bottom of the kadhai or wok then add 1/4th cup Water more to the dish. You need to get a thickish gravy like in the picture.
After twenty minutes uncover the kadhai and add the Fresh chopped Coriander Leaves and Stems and let is simmer for two minutes on low heat. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Remove from flame and serve hot and hot! Great food is best enjoyed with friends and family!
For the hoity-toity, i have only one thing to say – Eat Spicy Dhaba Chicken with your fingers and not with a spoon and fork! It’s much more enjoyable the old fashioned way!!!
Do make this wonderful recipe dear readers. It’s so simple and so tasty to prepare! Do let me know hot it turns out for you! As always do share on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and do leave your valuable comments!! I would love to read them and will certainly answer all your queries!