Chicken Handi Recipe

Chicken Handi Recipe

45 min
2-3 People
10 min



Ah, the aroma of spices wafting through the kitchen, the sizzle of chicken as it hits the pan—nothing quite compares to the joy of cooking up a delectable chicken handi. It's not just a dish; it's a journey—a journey filled with memories of laughter, camaraderie, and of course, mouthwatering flavors. Allow me to take you on a culinary adventure as we delve into the heart and soul of this beloved Indian dish.


From the bustling streets of Mumbai to the quaint corners of Delhi, chicken handi holds a special place in the hearts of food lovers across India. I still remember the first time I tasted this dish—it was a chilly evening, and the tantalizing aroma of spices drew me to a roadside eatery. With each bite, I discovered a symphony of flavors that left me craving for more. Since that day, chicken handi has become a staple in my culinary repertoire—a dish that never fails to bring joy to my table and smiles to the faces of my loved ones.




Recipe of Chicken Handi




For Onion Gravy:

  • 3-4 Onions
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 3-4 Peppercorns
  • 3-4 Cloves

For Chicken Marination:

  • 500g Chicken, curry cut pieces
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste

For Chicken Handi:

  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 2 Black Cardamoms
  • 2-3 Green Cardamoms
  • 4-5 Peppercorns
  • 3-4 Cloves
  • 1 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Chopped Green Chili
  • 2 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
  • 1 cup Onion Paste
  • 1 cup Curd
  • 1/2 cup Tomato Puree
  • 1/2 cup Cashew Nut Paste
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Cream
  • 1 tbsp Saffron Water
  • 1 tsp Kewra Water
  • 1/2 tsp Mace Powder
  • 1 tsp Cardamom Powder
  • 1 tsp Kasuri Methi
  • 2-3 Coriander Springs

For Smoke Flavor:

  • 2-inch Charcoal Piece





  1. Preparing Onion Gravy:

    • Boil water in a pot. Add quartered onions and whole garam masala (bay leaf, cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves). Cook until onions are translucent. Let it cool, then remove the whole spices and blend into a fine paste.
  2. Chicken Marination:

    • In a bowl, mix chicken pieces with salt, turmeric, red chili powder, and ginger garlic paste. Marinate for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Chicken Handi:

    • Heat oil in a thick-bottomed pan. Add bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, black cardamoms, green cardamoms, and peppercorns. Let them crackle.
    • Add ginger garlic paste and chopped green chili. Sauté for a minute.
    • Add boiled onion paste and sauté until the oil separates.
    • Mix in coriander powder, turmeric, red chili powder, and salt. Cook the masala.
    • Add curd and cook until oil separates.
    • Add marinated chicken and cook with the lid closed for 7-8 minutes.
    • Stir in tomato puree.
    • Add cashew nut paste, butter, cream, saffron water, and kewra water for richness.
    • Finish with cardamom powder, mace powder, and Kasuri methi.
  4. Smoke Flavor:

    • Burn charcoal for 15-20 minutes until fully burnt. Place it in a steel cup.
    • Quickly place the steel cup with burning coal on top of the cooked chicken gravy. Add a spoon of ghee and a few cloves.
    • Close the lid to infuse the flavor for 5 minutes.
    • Remove the steel cup with coal.
  5. Garnish & Serve:

    • Garnish with fresh coriander and slit green chilies.
    • Serve hot with roti, paratha, or rice. Enjoy your Chicken Handi!




About the Recipe


Chicken handi is a traditional Indian dish that originated in the Mughlai cuisine of the Indian subcontinent. It is characterized by tender pieces of chicken cooked in a rich and creamy tomato-based gravy, flavored with a blend of aromatic spices. The name "handi" refers to the clay pot in which the dish is traditionally cooked, adding a rustic charm and earthy flavor to the preparation. Chicken handi is often garnished with fresh cilantro and served with naan bread or steamed rice for a satisfying meal.



Cooking Tips


1. Marinate the Chicken: Marinating the chicken in yogurt and spices helps tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor.

2. Use Fresh Ingredients: Opt for fresh tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and spices to enhance the flavor of the dish.

3. Slow Cooking: Allow the chicken to simmer gently in the gravy to ensure that it absorbs the flavors and becomes tender.

4. Garnish with Fresh Herbs: Finish the dish with a generous sprinkle of freshly chopped cilantro or mint for a burst of freshness.

5. Adjust Spice Levels: Customize the heat of the dish by adjusting the amount of chili powder or green chilies according to your preference.



Pairing Guide


Chicken handi pairs well with a variety of accompaniments, enhancing its flavors and creating a wholesome meal experience. Here are some delicious pairing options to consider:


  • Naan Bread: Serve warm, fluffy naan bread on the side for scooping up the flavorful gravy.
  • Steamed Rice: Fluffy basmati rice makes a perfect companion to soak up the rich and creamy sauce.
  • Salad: Balance the richness of the dish with a crisp and refreshing green salad dressed with lemon vinaigrette.
  • Raita: Cool off your palate with a side of cucumber or onion raita, a yogurt-based condiment flavored with spices and herbs.




Frequently Asked Questions about Chicken Handi


  1. What is chicken handi?
    • Chicken handi is a traditional Indian dish made with tender pieces of chicken cooked in a rich and creamy tomato-based gravy, flavored with aromatic spices.
  2. What does "handi" mean in chicken handi?
    • "Handi" refers to the clay pot in which the dish is traditionally cooked, adding a rustic flavor and charm to the preparation.
  3. How do you make chicken handi?
    • Chicken handi is made by marinating chicken pieces in yogurt and spices, then cooking them in a tomato-based gravy along with onions, garlic, ginger, and a blend of spices.
  4. What spices are used in chicken handi?
    • Common spices used in chicken handi include cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, garam masala, and kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves).
  5. Can I use boneless chicken for chicken handi?
    • Yes, boneless chicken can be used for chicken handi, but traditionally, bone-in chicken pieces are preferred as they add more flavor to the dish.
  6. How long does it take to cook chicken handi?
    • Chicken handi typically takes about 30-40 minutes to cook, including marinating time for the chicken.
  7. Can I make chicken handi ahead of time?
    • Yes, chicken handi can be prepared ahead of time and reheated before serving. It may even taste better the next day as the flavors have had time to meld together.
  8. Is chicken handi spicy?
    • The level of spiciness in chicken handi can be adjusted according to personal preference by controlling the amount of chili powder or green chilies used in the recipe.
  9. Can I make chicken handi without cream?
    • Yes, chicken handi can be made without cream by using yogurt or coconut milk to add creaminess to the gravy.
  10. What can I substitute for garam masala in chicken handi?
    • If garam masala is not available, you can substitute it with a blend of ground cumin, coriander, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon for a similar flavor profile.