Dak-Bungalow style chicken curry

I learnt this recipe from my mother, who invented it, reminiscent of childhood family holidays spent in dak bungalows. Dak bungalows were guest houses set up for travellers and government servants. It is a delicious, spicy and authentic north-Indian recipe.



400 grams kg chicken

Roughly into a coarse powder:

1. 10 black peppercorns

2. 4 cloves

3. 1 black cardamom

4. 1 green cardamom

For tempering:

1. 1/4 tsp cumin

2. 2 bay leaves

For curry:

5 medium onions, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp cumin powder

3 tablespoon refined oil (45 ml, if using non-stick pan. You will need more if you are using a traditional one)

Ground into paste:

5 large cloves of garlic

1 1/2″ piece ginger

2 split green chillies


Heat oil in anon-stick pan and add the cumin and bay leaves. After the cumin start spluttering, add onions with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Fry on a low heat till the onions are golden brown.

Fried onions
Fried onions

Add the ginger-garlic-chilli paste and cumin, coriander and turmeric powder and fry for about 1-2 minutes till the aroma rises. Now add the chicken pieces and stir well. Add salt to taste.

Cover and cook on a low flame, stirring occasionally. This will help the chicken to cook in its own juices and the masala to “bhunao” more. When the chicken is tender and soft, add 1/2 cup of warm water and simmer on low heat for a few minutes. Before serving adjust thickness of the gravy with warm water to your liking. The gravy should be thick.Serve hot with a wedge of lemon and fresh chapattis.

Chicken curry
Chicken curry

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