Chicken Bhuna
Chicken Bhuna
5 from 34 votes
Savour the authentic Indian flavour with Chicken Bhuna, a popular dish boasting of rich spices and tantalising aromas. Discover a culinary adventure that is easy to prepare and guaranteed to delight your taste buds.
Chicken Bhuna

Allow me to introduce you to Chicken Bhuna, the culinary gem that takes your tastebuds on a flavourful journey to the heart of Indian cuisine. I am here, your willing and eager culinary guide, to lead you through the steps of preparing this beautiful dish.

As we explore, we’ll also unearth the rich tapestry of its origin and history, as well as gauge its level of difficulty for the novice or seasoned cook.

The first threads of our exploration lead us back to the roots of the Chicken Bhuna recipe, entrenched in the vibrant and diverse culinary heritage of India.

Originating from the Bengal region, the term ‘bhuna’ refers to the cooking process where spices are fried in hot oil until they reach a beautiful golden hue. This method of preparation is traditional in Indian and Bangladeshi cuisines, producing a depth of flavour that is as rich as the culture it hails from.

As I create Chicken Bhuna, I feel a connection to the history of countless kitchens across the Indian subcontinent, where this dish has been perfected and passed down through generations.

The tantalising combination of minced garlic and ginger, the heat from the green chillies, the richness of ground coriander, cumin, and turmeric, and the succulent chicken simmered to perfection is a testament to centuries of culinary tradition.

Now, onto the question I’m sure you’re dying to ask: How difficult is it to prepare Chicken Bhuna? Surprisingly, despite its exotic name and impressive flavour profile, it is remarkably easy to make.

Even if your experience with Indian cuisine has only been from the perspective of a restaurant menu, have no fear. This is a recipe that encourages you to dip your toes (or in this case, your spatula) into a different cooking style.

While the ingredient list might initially appear a bit daunting to the uninitiated, each item plays a crucial role in creating the complex flavours typical of Chicken Bhuna. Don’t let this intimidate you. Just follow the simple, step-by-step instructions and immerse yourself in the process.

You’ll not only find it manageable but also genuinely enjoyable. I guarantee the satisfaction you’ll feel when you serve up this dish is hard to beat!

As we embark on this culinary journey together, remember that cooking is about more than just preparing food. It’s an act of love, a form of creative expression, and a window into different cultures and traditions.

So, as you prepare this Chicken Bhuna, embrace the process, savour the aromas, and anticipate the delicious result.

Chicken Bhuna is a dish that brings to your table an exquisite blend of spices, a hearty history, and a personal experience with Indian cooking that’s easy to master. Don’t wait another minute; the aromatic and flavourful adventure that is Chicken Bhuna awaits!

What Ingredients to Use & Why

Chicken Bhuna is a delightful dish, bringing together the vibrant, aromatic flavours of India into a single, comforting meal.

Each ingredient in this dish plays a unique role in constructing the complex flavour profile, texture, and aroma that defines a good Bhuna. Here’s a breakdown of each ingredient, its role, and potential alternatives.

Boneless Chicken: The star protein in this dish, boneless chicken is used because it cooks quickly, absorbs the flavours of the spices well, and provides a good texture balance against the soft, thick gravy. Chicken also carries essential nutrients, such as protein and Vitamin B6. As an alternative, you could use tofu or paneer for a vegetarian version.

Vegetable Oil: Used for sautéing, vegetable oil has a mild flavour that doesn’t overpower the other ingredients and a high smoke point that allows for effective browning. Alternatives could include canola oil, sunflower oil, or ghee for a more authentic flavour.

Onions: Onions form the base of the gravy, providing a sweet and slightly tangy flavour. They also add body to the gravy once cooked down. Shallots can be used as an alternative for a milder flavour.

Tomatoes: These add a tangy note to balance the spice and richness of the dish. They also contribute to the gravy’s body and colour. Canned tomatoes could be used in a pinch.

Green Chillies: These provide heat to the dish. You can adjust the quantity based on your heat preference. Jalapenos could be used as an alternative.

Garlic and Ginger: Both these ingredients are key in imparting a depth of flavour to the dish. They are essential in many Indian dishes. As an alternative, you could use ginger-garlic paste available in many Indian stores.

Spices: This is your spice mix. Each spice adds a different flavour element – coriander adds a lemony note, cumin gives earthiness, turmeric provides colour and a slightly bitter note, and chilli powder adds heat. You could alternatively use a pre-made curry powder, though the taste may not be as authentic.

Fresh Coriander Leaves: These add a burst of fresh flavour and a pop of colour when used as a garnish. Parsley can be used as an alternative, but the flavour profile will change slightly.

Every ingredient in this Chicken Bhuna recipe has a purpose, contributing to the symphony of flavours, colours, and aromas that make this dish a feast for the senses. Enjoy preparing and savouring this culinary delight!

What is Chicken Bhuna?

My journey with Chicken Bhuna started a few years back when I was first introduced to Indian cuisine. Bhuna, I came to learn, is a cooking method where spices are fried to release their full depth of flavour, and then the meat is added and cooked in its own juices, which results in deep, intense flavours seeping into every bite of the meat.

The name “bhuna” refers to the process of browning meat that gives this curry its distinctive flavour. It’s this carefully orchestrated process that sets Chicken Bhuna apart from other curry dishes. Chicken bhuna is characterized by a thick, aromatic and intensely flavoured sauce clinging to juicy chunks of chicken.

The dish originates from the Indian subcontinent, with variations found in Bangladesh and Pakistan. The recipe, while straightforward, requires patience and an array of spices, including ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin, and coriander.

All these spices marry together beautifully with the tomato-based sauce to create a rich, savoury treat. It’s typically garnished with chopped coriander and served with rice or naan.

Cooking Chicken Bhuna at home is an experience of its own. The aroma that wafts through the house is so inviting, it’s almost as if the house itself is anticipating the meal.

The sizzling sounds, the vibrant colours, and finally, the taste—each of these elements plays a part in creating a symphony of flavours that is Chicken Bhuna.

In the next series of articles, I’ll share how you can make Chicken Bhuna at home, explore various ingredient substitutions, and answer some commonly asked questions about this delightful dish.

The Art of Making Chicken Bhuna at Home

Making Chicken Bhuna at home has been one of the most satisfying experiences in my culinary journey. It has been a chance for me to immerse myself in the vibrant world of Indian cuisine and to truly appreciate the depth and complexity of its flavours.

The process begins with gathering quality ingredients. Fresh chicken, ripe tomatoes, pungent garlic, fiery chillies, and a blend of aromatic spices are the stars of this dish. The quality and freshness of these ingredients are key to capturing the authentic taste of Chicken Bhuna.

Once the ingredients are ready, the cooking process is straightforward yet deeply satisfying. The sizzling sound of onions sautéing, the aroma of ginger and garlic filling the kitchen, and the sight of spices transforming into a luscious sauce – all of this makes for a sensory experience that’s hard to match.

Patience is an essential ingredient in this process. Each step, from browning the onions to simmering the sauce, contributes to the depth of flavour in the final dish. Skipping or rushing any step could mean missing out on that authentic taste.

Once the dish is cooked and garnished with fresh coriander, the reward for your efforts is a mouth-watering, deeply flavoured chicken curry that warms the soul. It’s a dish that pairs perfectly with rice or naan bread, making it a wonderful centrepiece for a family meal or a dinner party.

Making Chicken Bhuna at home might require a bit more effort than your average weeknight dinner, but believe me, the flavour payoff is absolutely worth it. And the best part? You get to share and enjoy this delectable creation with your loved ones!

Using Chicken Thighs Instead of Chicken Breast for Chicken Bhuna

As an avid home cook, I’m always seeking ways to personalize recipes to my liking or simply to experiment with different ingredients. One such experiment has been using chicken thighs instead of chicken breast in my Chicken Bhuna recipe.

Chicken thighs have a richer flavour compared to chicken breasts. They’re also juicier and more forgiving to cook. This is because they contain more fat and connective tissue, which keeps them moist even when cooked for longer periods.

Considering the Bhuna cooking method, where the meat is slowly cooked in its own juices, thighs can be a perfect match.

When using chicken thighs for Chicken Bhuna, I make sure to trim any excess fat and skin, as this can lead to an overly greasy dish. I also cut them into bite-sized pieces, as I would with chicken breasts, to ensure even cooking.

Cooking Chicken Bhuna with thighs is a delightful experience. The fat slowly renders out, melding with the spices to create a rich and aromatic sauce. The meat itself stays tender and juicy, providing a beautiful contrast to the intense flavours of the dish.

However, this switch does come with a slightly higher calorie count. Chicken thighs are denser in calories and fat compared to breasts. But the richness and depth of flavour they bring to the table, in my opinion, justifies the trade-off.

Substituting chicken thighs for chicken breasts in Chicken Bhuna can be a successful experiment. It brings more depth to the dish while still preserving the signature characteristics that make Chicken Bhuna a beloved classic in Indian cuisine.

Making Chicken Bhuna without Cumin or Coriander

One of the things I’ve learned through my culinary journey is the art of adaptation, especially when it comes to spices. There have been instances where I had to prepare my favourite Chicken Bhuna, but I found myself out of key spices such as cumin or coriander.

I’ve discovered that while the unique flavours of cumin and coriander are integral to Chicken Bhuna, there are ways to work around their absence. Other spices can come to the rescue to create a flavourful and satisfying dish.

When I’m out of cumin, I like to substitute it with a mix of ground caraway seeds and chilli powder. Caraway has a slightly sweet, warm flavour that’s similar to cumin, while the chilli powder provides a hint of heat.

If caraway isn’t available, a small amount of garam masala could also do the trick as it contains cumin in its blend.

For missing coriander, I usually turn to a mix of parsley and lemon zest. The parsley brings a fresh, green flavour, while the lemon zest adds a hint of citrus that mimics the tanginess of coriander.

Bear in mind, these substitutions won’t perfectly replicate the original flavours, but they can still result in a delicious Chicken Bhuna. The beauty of cooking lies in experimentation and innovation, and sometimes, the most surprising combinations can lead to the most delightful results.

So, if you find yourself short on cumin or coriander, don’t let that deter you from cooking Chicken Bhuna. With a little creativity and a spirit of adventure, you can turn this challenge into an opportunity to create your own unique version of this beloved dish.

The Spiciness Level of Chicken Bhuna

The fiery kick of spices is one of the reasons I’ve grown to love Indian cuisine, and Chicken Bhuna is no exception. In its traditional form, this dish packs a punch of heat that dances beautifully with the deep, rich flavours of the sauce.

However, like any dish, the spiciness of Chicken Bhuna can be adjusted to suit individual preferences.

The heat in Chicken Bhuna primarily comes from two ingredients – chilli powder and fresh green chillies. These two ingredients work together to create a warm, lingering heat that permeates the dish.

It’s not an aggressive heat that hits you all at once. Instead, it builds gradually, enhancing the other flavours without overpowering them.

For those who prefer a milder version, there are several ways to adjust the heat. One simple method is to reduce the amount of chilli powder and green chillies in the recipe. This will give you a milder, yet still flavourful, dish.

Another method is to deseed the green chillies. The seeds and inner white membranes of chillies contain capsaicin, the compound responsible for their heat. By removing these parts, you can reduce the spiciness while still enjoying the unique flavour of the chillies.

Ultimately, the spiciness of your Chicken Bhuna is in your hands. Whether you prefer a blazingly hot dish that makes you reach for a glass of water or a milder version that gently warms your palate, you can achieve it with a few simple tweaks.

The Difference Between Chicken Bhuna and Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Bhuna and Chicken Tikka Masala are two of my go-to dishes when I’m craving Indian cuisine. Despite their similarities, these dishes have distinct flavours, ingredients, and preparation methods that set them apart.

Chicken Bhuna, as I’ve discussed before, is a curry dish characterized by a thick, aromatic sauce and tender pieces of chicken. The name ‘bhuna’ refers to the method of cooking, where the meat is slowly cooked in its own juices along with the spices, creating an intensely flavoured dish.

On the other hand, Chicken Tikka Masala has a creamier, tangier taste. It starts with pieces of chicken being marinated in spices and yoghurt, then grilled to give it a smoky flavour. The cooked chicken is then added to a sauce made from tomatoes, cream, and spices, creating a rich, velvety curry.

While both dishes require a blend of spices, the spices used vary. Chicken Bhuna relies heavily on cumin, coriander, and turmeric, whereas Chicken Tikka Masala commonly uses garam masala, a spice blend that can include cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, in addition to the spices used in Chicken Bhuna.

Both Chicken Bhuna and Chicken Tikka Masala are beloved dishes in Indian cuisine, each offering a unique taste experience.

Whether you’re drawn to the intense flavours of Chicken Bhuna or the creamy richness of Chicken Tikka Masala, both dishes represent the complexity and versatility of Indian cuisine at its finest.

Side Dishes That Go Well With Chicken Bhuna

Accompanying Chicken Bhuna with the perfect side dish can elevate the dining experience. Over time, I have discovered an array of sides that complement the bold flavours of Chicken Bhuna, creating a well-rounded and satisfying meal.

Rice is a classic accompaniment, providing a subtle, neutral base that allows the flavours of the Bhuna to shine. Basmati rice is a personal favourite of mine, with its delicate aroma and long, slender grains. It’s a simple, yet satisfying pairing that never fails to please.

Naan bread is another traditional side that pairs excellently with Chicken Bhuna. The soft, fluffy texture of naan is perfect for scooping up the rich, thick sauce, ensuring that not a drop goes to waste. The slightly chewy texture of the bread also provides a nice contrast to the tender pieces of chicken.

If you’re looking to add some freshness to balance out the richness of the dish, a cucumber and yoghurt raita could be an excellent choice. The cool, crisp cucumber and the creamy, tangy yoghurt provide a refreshing counterpoint to the spicy, hearty Chicken Bhuna.

Another great option could be a simple salad of mixed greens, tossed with a light vinaigrette. The fresh, crisp leaves and tangy dressing can cut through the richness of the dish, providing a welcome contrast.

Choosing the perfect side dish for Chicken Bhuna depends on personal preferences and the occasion. Whether you’re in the mood for something traditional or something a bit different, there are plenty of delicious options to choose from.

How to Store and Reheat Leftover Chicken Bhuna

One of the best things about cooking a big batch of Chicken Bhuna is enjoying the leftovers. However, it’s important to store and reheat leftovers properly to maintain their flavour and quality.

When I have leftover Chicken Bhuna, I make sure to let it cool down before storing it. Hot food can create condensation in the container, leading to sogginess and potential growth of bacteria.

Once it’s cooled, I transfer the leftovers to airtight containers and place them in the refrigerator. They can typically last for up to 3-4 days when stored this way.

If I want to keep them for a longer period, freezing is a great option. I portion the leftovers into freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, leaving a bit of space for expansion. Properly stored, Chicken Bhuna can last for up to 3 months in the freezer.

Reheating Chicken Bhuna requires a bit of care to ensure it retains its delicious flavour and texture. If it’s frozen, I thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Then, I reheat it in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it’s heated through.

It’s important to only reheat the amount you plan to consume, as repeatedly reheating can affect the texture and flavour. Also, make sure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for food safety.

With proper storage and reheating, you can enjoy your Chicken Bhuna leftovers just as much as the day you cooked it.

Understanding the Origins of Chicken Bhuna

The story of Chicken Bhuna takes us on a journey to the heart of Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine, where the dish traces its origins. As a lover of this flavourful recipe, delving into its history has allowed me to appreciate it even more.

The term ‘bhuna’ refers to a cooking process common in Indian and Bangladeshi cuisines. It involves frying spices in oil, then adding meat and allowing it to cook in its own juices, resulting in a thick, intensely flavoured sauce.

The unique cooking method distinguishes Bhuna dishes from other curries and imparts a rich, concentrated flavour that has become the hallmark of Chicken Bhuna.

Bhuna-style cooking has been used in the Indian subcontinent for centuries, a testament to the region’s culinary ingenuity and its mastery of spices. The process not only intensifies flavours but also tenderizes the meat, creating a dish that is both flavourful and satisfyingly hearty.

Over time, the popularity of Chicken Bhuna has spread far and wide, becoming a beloved dish in Indian restaurants around the world. It’s a testament to the universal appeal of its rich flavours and satisfying texture.

Understanding the origins of Chicken Bhuna has deepened my appreciation for this delicious dish. It’s a testament to the culinary wisdom of the Indian subcontinent and a delicious way to connect with its rich culinary heritage.

Achieving the Perfect Consistency for Chicken Bhuna Sauce

Chicken Bhuna is celebrated for its thick, aromatic sauce that coats each piece of chicken. Achieving the right consistency for the sauce is key to a perfect Chicken Bhuna.

The consistency of the sauce hinges largely on the cooking process. ‘Bhuna’ is a term used to describe the method of frying spices in oil and then letting the meat cook in its own juices.

The slow, patient cooking process allows the sauce to reduce and thicken, amplifying its flavours and creating a characteristic texture.

When I’m making Chicken Bhuna, I pay careful attention to the simmering stage. This is when the sauce reduces and intensifies in flavour. I stir occasionally and keep a watchful eye to prevent it from sticking to the pan.

In terms of the finished texture, the sauce of a Chicken Bhuna should be thick enough to cling to the chicken and just enough to be scooped up with naan bread or mixed into rice.

If the sauce becomes too thick, a little water can be added. If it’s too thin, I continue to simmer it, uncovered, until it’s reduced to my desired consistency.

Achieving the perfect consistency for Chicken Bhuna sauce may take a little practice, but with patience and attention to detail, you can create a dish that delivers on both flavour and texture.

Check Out These Other Recipes

If you’ve loved this Chicken Bhuna recipe, I’m pretty sure you’ll be delighted with these other flavourful Indian dishes too.

My Chicken Kaleji recipe, for instance, is a must-try. Just like our Chicken Bhuna, this delicacy is full of rich, exotic spices that will have your taste buds on a delightful journey. The chicken liver combined with Indian spices makes it a real treat for lovers of Indian cuisine.

Another recommendation would be the Chicken Rogan Josh. This dish is also packed with spices and the chicken is slow-cooked until tender, resulting in a gravy that is simply bursting with flavours. It’s the kind of comfort food that warms your heart and satiates your craving for Indian cuisine.

What’s a good Indian meal without a side of bread, right? But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered there as well. My No Yeast Naan Bread recipe ensures you can still enjoy this soft and fluffy bread without the hassle of yeast.

The best part? It pairs perfectly with Chicken Bhuna, soaking up the rich and thick gravy, making every bite a burst of flavour.

Now, if you are in the mood for more chicken, let me suggest the Chicken Jalfrezi. This recipe is similar to Chicken Bhuna but with an added kick of bell peppers. It’s fiery, tangy, and scrumptious, and it is sure to elevate your Indian cuisine experience.

Lastly, who can say no to a good biryani? Try my Chicken Biryani recipe. It’s a one-pot dish where fragrant basmati rice and spiced chicken come together in a delightful symphony of flavours. It’s the perfect dish to round off your Indian meal.

Each of these recipes brings something unique to the table, so I urge you to try them all. Remember, cooking is an adventure, and each dish is a new destination. Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments section. I’m excited to hear about your cooking journeys!

Chicken Bhuna

Chicken Bhuna

by Nabeela Kauser
Rich, flavourful, and hearty, this chicken bhuna recipe is great for a midweek meal. Made in under an hour, this chicken curry recipe does not skimp on flavour. Serve with a side of chapatti and enjoy.
5 from 34 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 4
Calories 250 kcal


  • 500 g Chicken Boneless, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 2 Onions Finely chopped
  • 4 Tomatoes Chopped
  • 2 Green Chillies Chopped
  • 2 tsp Garlic Minced
  • 1 tsp Ginger Minced
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 200 ml Water
  • Coriander Chopped for garnish


  • Begin by heating oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  • Proceed to add chopped onions and sauté them until they turn translucent and start to brown. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
  • After that, add minced garlic, ginger, and green chillies to the pan and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until they release their fragrance.
  • Then, add chopped tomatoes to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes until they become soft and pulpy.
  • Add chicken pieces to the pan and stir them well to coat with the tomato mixture. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the chicken changes colour.
  • Next, add ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric powder, chilli powder, and salt to the pan. Mix them well to combine.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes and add 2 tablespoons of water to release the colour of the spices.
  • Pour water into the pan and stir well. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is fully cooked and the sauce has thickened.
  • Finally, garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or naan bread. Enjoy your tasty chicken bhuna dish!


Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 250kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 13gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 719mgPotassium: 531mgFibre: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1264IUVitamin C: 25mgVitamin D: 0.1µgCalcium: 47mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Chicken, Cooking, Curry, Food, Indian, Indian Food, Meat, Recipe, Spicy
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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1 month ago

5 stars
What a beautiful curry thank you for sharing. I followed the recipe exactly as described ( unusual for me😀) and it turned out fantastic. What I learned was rather than adding corn starch to thicken the curry much better to reduce the liquid. Again beautiful and can’t wait until next Friday for curry night!! Will follow and perhaps one day you could do a chicken Dhansak 😀😀. Thankyou once again

1 month ago

5 stars
I followed the recipe exactly and the flavor was good but it was way too much sauce for the amount of meat called for. I would double the meat next time. My sauce wasn’t as smooth as yours either so I would puree the tomatoes and cook the onions for longer and use bone in chicken so that the sauce has time to cook down without overcooking the chicken.


Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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