This chicken bhuna curry is a flavorful and easy-to-make dish that is perfect for a weeknight meal. Made with tender chicken cooked in a mix of fragrant spices and tomato-based sauce, this curry is a definite crowd-pleaser and so much better than takeout!
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Let's be honest — ordering in from your local Indian restaurant can be super tempting on a busy weeknight. But why not make your own restaurant-quality curry at home?
This chicken bhuna is surprisingly easy to make, and you can easily tweak it to suit your taste and the ingredients you already have on hand.
Chichen bhuna is a popular Indian dish characterized by its thick, aromatic, and spicy sauce.
The word 'bhuna' refers to the cooking technique used to prepare the dish, which involves frying or sautéing spices and other ingredients in oil or ghee to create a rich and flavorful base.
The ingredients are then slowly simmered together, allowing the flavors to intensify and the sauce to thicken.
Why you'll love this chicken bhuna curry
- Bursting with flavor — This chicken bhuna curry recipe is jam-packed with aromatic spices, fresh ginger and garlic, and tangy tomatoes.
- Super easy to make — The curry is surprisingly simple and approachable, even for beginner cooks.
- Versatile — Make this chicken bhuna curry recipe your own by adjusting the spice level, swapping out the chicken for tofu or paneer, or adding your favorite veggies.
What goes into chicken bhuna masala
Vegetable oil — Use any neutral oil with a high smoke point such as canola, sunflower, or grapeseed oil for frying the onions and chicken. Ghee is another option here.
Onion — Yellow onion is perfect in this chicken bhuna because it has a strong flavor and is not too sweet.
Garlic+ ginger — Freshly minced garlic and ginger add depth of flavor to the curry. You can substitute with store-bought ginger garlic paste, but fresh is always best for flavor.
Green chili — Green chili adds a spicy kick to the curry. You can substitute with jalapeño pepper or red chili flakes.
Chicken — Chicken breast is perfect in this curry because it's lean and it cooks quickly.
You can also use boneless chicken thighs, but you may have to increase the cooking time by a few minutes.
Tomato paste — Tomato paste adds a rich, concentrated tomato flavor to the curry.
Diced tomatoes — Canned diced tomatoes add a tangy flavor to the curry. You can also use canned peeled tomatoes crushed by hand.
How to make bhuna curry
Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add the finely diced onion and sauté until it softens and turns translucent.
Add the chopped garlic, ginger and green chili to the saucepan and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Add the chicken pieces to the pan and stir to coat with the spice mixture. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned on all sides.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the curry, covered, for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, if needed.
Garnish with the roughly chopped fresh coriander and serve hot over your favorite rice or with naan bread.
Leftovers and storage
- Leftover bhuna chicken will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To reheat, transfer it to a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat it on the stovetop by placing it in a saucepan over medium heat and stirring occasionally until heated through.
- Chicken bhuna curry freezes well for up to 3 months. To thaw, place the container in the fridge overnight and then reheat using one of the methods mentioned above.
Recipe notes and tips
- Serve this chicken bhuna curry over a bed of fluffy white rice, with warm naan bread on the side. You can also sprinkle it with freshly chopped coriander for extra flavor and brightness.
- A dollop of plain yogurt or raita will help to balance out the spiciness of the curry.
- This chicken bhuna curry recipe is moderately spicy, but you can adjust the heat level to your liking. If you prefer a milder curry, reduce the amount of green chili or omit it altogether. Add more chili or spicier chili powder for a spicier curry.
- Feel free to add your favorite veggies to this chicken bhuna curry recipe for extra nutrition and flavor. Chopped bell peppers, diced potatoes, or even spinach would be great additions.
- While this bhuna curry recipe is delicious with chicken, you can also use other proteins such as beef, lamb, or shrimp. Adjust the cooking time depending on the protein you use.
If you liked this chicken bhuna curry, you might also like some of my other easy curry recipes:
- Prawn Curry with Coconut Milk
- Keto Coconut Curry Chicken
- Easy Mango Chicken Curry
- Beef Keema (Mince Curry)
- Easy Lamb Curry with Coconut Milk
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh green chili, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon mild chili powder
- 1 lb (450 g) chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can (400 g / 14 oz) diced tomatoes
- ½ cup water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- A handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add the finely diced onion and sauté until it starts to soften and turn translucent.
- Add the chopped garlic, ginger and green chili to the saucepan and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Mix in the garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander, and mild chili powder, stirring for 30 seconds until the spices are fragrant.
- Add the chicken breast pieces to the pan and stir to coat with the spice mixture. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned on all sides.
- Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and water to the pan, and stir to combine.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the curry, covered, for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, if needed.
- Garnish with the roughly chopped fresh coriander and serve hot over your favorite rice or with naan bread.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 295Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 439mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 37g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.