How to Cook Dhaba Style Handi Chicken at Home

How to Cook Dhaba Style Handi Chicken at Home


In India, we have dhabas attached to the highway, which are basically minimalistic restaurants known for making all things fresh and instantaneously. This means that the recipes need to be cooked quickly without wasting any time since these dhabas usually serve people who are on the go on a road trip.

One favorite recipe for anybody who's into Dhaba-style preparations is handi chicken. Dhaba-style handi chicken is a flavorful, creamy, and savory recipe, prepared in a hard-anodized handi. This recipe can be enjoyed with Rotis or rice. If you have a fun weekend planned and want to make a quick chicken gravy for dinner or lunch, this recipe is perfect.

Lovers of chicken rejoice! This recipe is precisely what you've been looking for. Everybody loves a spicy, delicious gravy, but it is the process of cooking that makes this recipe such a favorite for dhabas which require quick cooking. Traditionally, a handi is made of clay, and this recipe is made in an earthen pot. But considering the resources available in a regular Indian kitchen, we will make this recipe in a hard-anodized handi. So let's get started!


  • 1 kg Chicken
  • 1 ½ cup whisked yogurt
  • 10-12 cashew nuts and almonds
  • 3 large thinly sliced onions
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 1 ½ tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2-3 green chilies
  • 1 ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp Kasuri methi
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • Salt as per taste
  • 4 – 5 tsp ghee


Step 1: In your hard anodized handi, add the ghee and heat it. When it's nice and hot, add the onions and fry them till they're golden brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook some more till the raw smell is gone.

Step 2: When the onion and ginger garlic paste is cooked together, add the chopped tomatoes. This is an essential part of the process. Making sure you put things in the right order ensures that everything is cooked just right by the time the recipe is done.

Step 3: Add the chilies with the tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are soft and mushy. An excellent hint to know when they're done is to see if they release oil or ghee on the surface. When the tomatoes are done, add your dry spices. These include cumin powder, red chili powder, salt, turmeric powder, and half crushed coriander seeds.

Step 4: This is where you add the chicken and make sure everything is coated well together. Initially, cook the chicken on high heat till it develops a golden brown layer, and then simmer the flame. This will help the chicken retain some of its moisture and be tender when fully cooked.

Step 5: After frying the chicken for 3-4 minutes, it will release water, and the Masala will be a little moist again. Once this happens, cover the handi and allow the chicken to cook for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure the chicken doesn't stick to the surface of the handi.

Step 6: Add the whisked yogurt with Kasuri methi, sugar, and a paste made of cashew and almonds. Also, add the remaining coriander seeds crushed and mix everything well.

Step 7: As a finishing touch, add the garam Masala and tsp of ghee to top it off. Cook for a while till the gravy seeps the oil. This is when you know the gravy is done. Garnish with some coriander and serve hot with naan or butter roti. Even rice works!

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