Spicy Chicken Bhuna: A Curry House Favorite

April 12, 2024
Chicken Bhuna

Chicken Bhuna will be a treat for your taste buds if you enjoy spicy curries with lots of aromatic herbs and a lot of flavour. The menus of Indian and Pakistani curry establishments worldwide feature this famous Pakistani dish, and it’s easy to see why. If you’re looking for a dish that truly celebrates spices, go no further than the Chicken Bhuna. Its rich tomato-based sauce will have you begging for more.

The Origins of Chicken Bhuna

What makes Chicken Bhuna unique from other curries is the cooking method, which is characterised by frying (the word “bhuna” means “fried” in multiple South Asian languages). The meat and spices are first browned or sautéed in ghee or oil to bring out their natural flavours, then any liquids are added.

The Indian subcontinent is the birthplace of the Chicken Bhuna, a method of meat preservation that dates back to a time before refrigeration. You can extend the dish’s shelf life by cooking the meat and spices together. As time went on, different regions and households added their own special touches to this once-practical cooking method, turning it into a culinary art form.

The Spice Blend

The flavorful, aromatic spice mixture that makes up the curry’s foundation is the beating heart of any excellent Chicken Bhuna. The specific combination may change from one dish to another, however below are a few of the most typical spices:

  • Cumin: The earthy and warm cumin brings a layer of flavour to the recipe.
  • Coriander: An additional necessary spice, coriander adds a delicately lemony and flowery undertone.
  • Turmeric: Adding colour and a unique earthy flavour, turmeric is a lively yellow spice.
  • Chili Powder or Cayenne: The fiery flavour of Chicken Bhuna is achieved with chilli powder or cayenne.
  • Garam Masala: Add a warm, sweet undertone with garam masala, a blend of spices that can include cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and more.

Usually, these spices are cooked in ghee or oil until they release their aroma, which sets the stage for the next ingredients.

The Cooking Process

Add the chicken to the sautéed spice mixture and heat until browned, sealing in the flavours. The “bhuna” method is employed here by frying or sautéing the meat in conjunction with the spices.

What comes next are the tomatoes, which can be either fresh or puréed, and any other aromatics or spices, such as garlic, ginger, or onions. Simmering the ingredients helps them to combine and thickens the sauce.

The special ingredient that gives Chicken Bhuna its distinctive flavour is the yoghurt or cream that is added just before the chicken is done cooking. Not only does it make the sauce creamier and richer, but it also serves to temper the spiciness of the chilli peppers.

Serving and Enjoying Chicken Bhuna

Basmati rice or warm naan bread are the usual accompaniments to Chicken Bhuna, as they both soak up the delicious sauce. To balance off the spiciness and richness of the curry, try topping it with some fresh cilantro or lemon juice.

With excellent company and plenty of time to savour every taste, the nuanced flavours of the Chicken Bhuna will blossom on your palette, as they do with any superb curry.


1. Is Chicken Bhuna spicy?

The Chicken Bhuna does have a reputation for being somewhat hot. The chilli powder or cayenne pepper that gives the dish its distinctive kick is usually present, however the amount of heat can differ from recipe to recipe.

2. Can I make Chicken Bhuna in advance?

Sure thing! The flavour of the Chicken Bhuna, like that of many curries, tends to improve with time, so it’s best enjoyed the next day. Reheat the curry slightly before serving after storing it in the fridge in an airtight container.

3. What’s the difference between Chicken Bhuna and other curries like Chicken Tikka Masala?

Chicken Bhuna differs from its tomato-based counterpart in its cooking method—the “bhuna” technique—and its robust, spicy flavour profile. Because the chicken is marinated in tandoori spices, Chicken Tikka Masala tends to be gentler and creamier than other versions.

4. Can I make Chicken Bhuna vegetarian or vegan?

Of course! You can easily make this vegetarian by swapping out the chicken for other veggies like potatoes, cauliflower, or chickpeas. While you might have to play around with the liquid ratios and cooking time, you can keep the core spice combination and procedure intact.

You Can Also Read Here Lasagna Flatbread: A Twist on the Classic Italian Dish

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