Restaurant Style Chicken Curry

Preparation time: 20 minutes |Cooking time: 40 minutes |Serves: 6

Restaurant Style Chicken curry

You can find many varieties of Chicken curry recipes, which uses almost all of the same ingredients. However, the taste of all these curries would be different as well, mainly due to the power of one or two spices used differently. Even adding ginger garlic paste in the beginning and then adding onions to it give a different flavor than adding ginger garlic paste in the later stage. As chicken curry restaurant style is a typical recipe, this took me some time to come up with this recipe and this one is inspired from Dhaba style curry which I have enjoyed a lot during my childhood.

For the unfamiliar, dhabas are small roadside restaurants based on small mud shacks, but the taste of their food is unique. Dhabas usually target budget travelers and truck drivers who look for a food stop during their journey. In India, while you travel to any other places, the highlight of the whole trip was stopping nearby any dhaba and having to enjoy hot and steamy spicy dhaba chicken curry and phulkas.

When you visit any Indian restaurant or any Indian home, this chicken would be the signature dish for the lunch or dinner. The popular chicken dish uses plenty of spices and ingredients to bring out delicious flavors. The flavors are intense when you cook chicken with spices and yogurt. Adding tomatoes to the curry also gives tanginess to the curry. Though this dish is an Indian curry; you need not use curry powder, you can use simple garam masala and other spices, and it would still turn out to be amazing. 

The store-bought masala powder or curry powder, as it is known in the west might alter the taste of the curry. But if you don’t have the spices available at home, you can use curry powder to make this dish quickly.

This recipe is a bit time consuming as the masalas are ground and simmered until the color changes.  Always lower the flame while cooking spices as there is a chance that masala would get burnt soon. You need to stir occasionally to prevent them getting burnt. You can also add store bought spice powder and garam masala, but adding homemade spice powders and garam masala bring in a significant difference to the taste of the chicken curry. Make the masala in bulk and store it in an airtight container for future use.

This chicken curry is commonly made in Indian homes and is also a standard item in all Indian restaurant menus. You will find a lot of varieties of the dish as people use a different blend of spices in different ratios. Some used coarsely grounded spices, while others use finely grounded spices. Some people opt out tomatoes, some uses tomatoes and yogurt is added at different stages of cooking and so on.

The homemade versions of chicken curry have a lot more refinement and effort in making a fine paste of everything instead of adding diced ingredients in the sauce. Restaurant chicken curries also use more oil or ghee as they make it as large batches. However, this restaurant style chicken curry made at home is a great healthy alternative to the real restaurant chicken curry without compromising a bit on the taste.


  •  Chicken – 1kg (Skinless or with skin cut into medium pieces)
  • Ginger garlic paste – 2 tablespoons
  • Lemon juice – 1 lemon
  • Salt – 1 tablespoon

For the gravy:

  • Onions – 4
  • Garlic cloves – 10
  • Ginger – 1½ inch
  • Chili – 3
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tablespoon
  • Bay leaves – 2
  • Cinnamon stick – ½
  • Cardamoms – 5
  • Peppercorns- 10
  • Cloves – 5
  • Tomatoes, chopped – 4 medium
  • Turmeric – ½ teaspoon
  • Chili powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – 2 tablespoons
  • Garam masala – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – to taste

For tempering:

  • Ghee – 1 tablespoon
  • Chilies – 2 (split lengthwise)
  • Ginger, julienned –2-inch piece
  • Coriander – to garnish


  1. Clean the chicken pieces and marinate with ginger garlic paste, salt, and lime juice. Keep aside for about 1 hour. If possible, you can marinate the chicken and refrigerate it overnight for a better taste.
  2. Grind onions, ginger garlic paste and green chilies to a smooth paste and keep aside.
  3. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds.
  4. Add whole spices like cinnamon, peppercorns, cardamom, bay leaves and cloves.
  5. Once spices splutter, add ground onions paste. Cook till the onions become soft and golden brown.
  6. Now add tomatoes and to it add the powders like turmeric powder, coriander powder and red chili powder (if you are using, use at this stage as per the heat you require). Cook till the tomatoes gets mushy, and oil starts releasing.
  7. Add chicken pieces along with garam masala and ½ cup of water.
  8. Bring the curry to a boil and in high flame and then reduce it to medium and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes more.
  9. Now take off the lid of the pan and cook for another 15 minutes till water evaporates from the curry and it thickens.
  10. Once it is over, switch off the flame
  11. In a small pan, heat oil or ghee and add ginger and green chilies. As they become slightly crispy, turn off the flame and add this tempering to the curry.
  12. Add coriander leaves to garnish.
  13. Allow the curry to rest for 15 minutes and then serve with rice or rotis.


Instead of making the chicken curry in a pan, you can also make it in a pressure cooker. If you are using a pressure cooker, cook the onions in the pressure cooker itself. At stage 6, add the chicken pieces to the cooler and close the lid and cook for about 2 to 3 whistles depending upon the tenderness of the chicken. If you are using boneless pieces, cooking time would be very less. Let the steam entirely escape from the cooker before opening it. If the chicken not cooked properly, you can pressure cook it for one more additional whistle.

Nutritional information:

Calories: 300|Fats: 16gm|Cholestrol:83mg|Sodium:1140mg|Protein: 27gm |Dietary fiber: 5gm