Delight Your Taste Buds with the Irresistible Chicken Handi

Written by: Najma A.



Time to read 4 min

Food has an incredible ability to transport us to different places and cultures. One such culinary journey that promises to tantalize your taste buds is the delectable Chicken Handi. This classic Indian dish has a rich history, a unique cooking style, and flavors that are simply out of this world. In this blog, we will explore the origins of Chicken Handi, its preparation, and why it has become a beloved dish not only in India but also around the world.

A Glimpse into the Origins

  • The term "handi" refers to a traditional Indian cooking vessel. It is typically a thick-bottomed, shallow, round pot made from clay, copper, or brass. This vessel plays a significant role in the preparation of Chicken Handi. The dish's history can be traced back to the Mughal era in India, where the Mughal emperors and their chefs were known for their love of rich, aromatic, and creamy curries.
  • The use of a handi for cooking is believed to have been popularized during this time. It allowed for slow cooking, which enhanced the flavors and melded the spices and ingredients beautifully. The combination of spices, tender chicken pieces, and handi-style cooking gave birth to the Chicken Handi we know today.

Ingredients for Chicken Handi

Before we dive into the cooking process, let's take a look at the key ingredients needed to prepare this mouthwatering dish:

  1. Chicken: The star of the show! Bone-in chicken pieces are traditionally used for added flavor, but boneless can also be used for a quicker cooking time.
  2. Onions: Finely chopped onions form the base of the gravy. Tomatoes: Tomatoes are blended to create a rich, smooth tomato puree.
  3. Ginger and Garlic: Fresh ginger and garlic paste is essential for the aromatic base.
  4. Spices: A medley of spices, including red chili powder, turmeric, coriander powder, and garam masala, imparts the characteristic flavor of Chicken Handi.
  5. Green Chilies: To add a touch of heat to the dish. Fresh Cream: For that creamy, luscious texture.
  6. Oil or Ghee: Ghee is often used to enhance the richness, but regular cooking oil works just as well.
  7. Fresh Coriander Leaves: For garnishing. Yogurt: A small amount of yogurt can be added for a tangy kick. Now, let's get into the preparation of this mouthwatering dish.
Origins of Chicken Handi

The Cooking Process of Chicken Handi

Chicken Handi Recipe is all about the slow-cooked, rich, creamy gravy that coats the tender chicken pieces. Here's how to make it:

  1. Marination: Start by marinating the chicken with yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, and a pinch of salt. This helps tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Sauté the Onions: Heat ghee or oil in a handi or a deep, thick-bottomed pan. Add finely chopped onions and sauté until they turn golden brown.
  3. Add the Ginger-Garlic Paste: Stir in the ginger-garlic paste and cook for a couple of minutes until the raw smell disappears.
  4. Tomato Puree: Add the tomato puree and cook until it thickens and the oil separates from the mixture.
  5. Spices: Now it's time to add the spices – red chili powder, turmeric, coriander powder, and a pinch of garam masala. Stir well and let the spices cook for a few minutes.
  6. Chicken: Add the marinated chicken pieces and cook until they turn white outside.
  7. Simmer: Reduce the heat and let the chicken cook in its juices. The slow cooking process ensures that the chicken absorbs all the rich flavors.
  8. Green Chilies: Add the green chilies to your preferred level of spiciness.
  9. Cream: Pour in the fresh cream, which gives the dish a creamy texture. Simmer for a few more minutes.
  10. Garnish: Finally, garnish your Chicken Handi with fresh coriander leaves. Serve this delightful dish hot with naan, roti, or fragrant basmati rice, and you're in for a treat!

Why Chicken Handi is a Beloved Dish

  1. Rich and Creamy Flavor: Using fresh cream and slow cooking in a handi imparts a rich and creamy flavor that's hard to resist. It's the perfect comfort food.
  2. Aromatic Spices: Combining aromatic spices like garam masala, coriander, and ginger-garlic paste creates a mouthwatering aroma that fills your kitchen as you cook.
  3. Customizable Spice Level: You can adjust the level of spiciness by varying the amount of green chilies and red chili powder, making it suitable for various palates.
  4. Versatility: Chicken Handi can be prepared with boneless or bone-in chicken, making it adaptable to your preference.
  5. Great for Gatherings: It's a dish perfect for family gatherings, celebrations, and special occasions. Its rich and indulgent nature makes it a crowd-pleaser.
  6. Cultural Significance: Chicken Handi is not only delicious but also carries cultural significance, as it harks back to the royal Mughal cuisine.
  7. Nutrient-Rich: Chicken is a good source of protein, and when cooked with fresh ingredients and minimal oil, it can be a relatively healthy option.
Cooking Process Chicken Handi

Variations and Tips

While the traditional Recipe Chicken Handi is fantastic, there's always room for experimentation. Here are a few variations and tips to consider:

  1. Vegetarian Options: If you're a vegetarian, you can substitute the chicken with paneer (Indian cottage cheese) or mixed vegetables to create a delicious vegetarian handi.
  2. Hyderabadi Chicken Handi: This variation includes the addition of curry leaves, coconut milk, and cashew paste for a South Indian twist.
  3. Makhani Handi: For an even creamier experience, try a Makhani Handi, which incorporates butter and additional cream.
  4. Healthy Twist: To make it healthier, use low-fat yogurt and cream or substitute it with yogurt. You can also use less oil or ghee.
  5. Spice It Up: Adjust the spice levels according to your preference. For a milder version, reduce the amount of green chilies and chili powder.
Variations of Chicken Handi

About One Stop Halal

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Chicken Handi is a dish that embodies the essence of Indian cuisine. Its rich, creamy, and aromatic flavors make it a favorite for those who appreciate the art of slow cooking and the perfect blend of spices. Whether you savor it in a restaurant or prepare it at home, this dish is a culinary journey you will want to take advantage of. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and get ready to indulge in the irresistible delight of Recipe for Chicken Handi.

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