• STEP 1

    To make the onion purée, bring a small pan of water to the boil and add half the roughly chopped onion. Boil until soft (about 10 mins), drain and puree with a hand blender or mini food processor.

  • STEP 2

    Heat a large saucepan on a high heat. Once it's hot add the oil and finely chopped onions and reduce to a low heat. Cook the onions slowly and gently until golden brown in colour, and season.

  • STEP 3

    Add the ginger and garlic purée, curry powder, turmeric, chilli powder and a splash of water to the pan of onions and stir in well. Fry for a couple of mins. Add the diced chicken thighs and stir in well.

  • STEP 4

    Mix the yogurt, tomato purée and onion purée together in a jug with 300ml water. Pour into the saucepan and mix well. Turn up the heat until the sauce begins to boil. Simmer for 15 to 20 mins, stirring occasionally.

  • STEP 5

    Finally, sprinkle in the garam masala and stir in well for the final 2 mins before serving.

What is chicken bhuna?

Chicken bhuna originates from the Bengal region of India. The term ‘bhunna’ is Urdu for ‘fried’. The dish typically consists of a base of onions, garlic, ginger and spices being fried together to form a thick coating sauce.

What is the key to making a good bhuna?

*I notice this is/was a member recipe. From research bhuna doesn’t usually have any water added but it actually does in this recipe, so i’ve stayed away from saying don’t add water, unless you can change the recipe?

Slowly frying the puréed onion mixture will result in a sweeter and deeper flavour and the gelatinous nature of onions also acts as a thickener. The chicken thighs are allowed to cook in their own juices so the sauce remains thick and concentrated. It’s important to take time to gently simmer the chicken thighs which appreciate long and slow cooking to become tender, using a lid to keep all the juices circulating rather than evaporating.

How spicy is a bhuna?

Bhuna is a medium hot curry. On a scale of 1-10, (where 10 is the spiciest) bhuna is around a 6. The amount of chilli powder you add however is optional so you can adjust the level of heat, by adding more or less.

The yoghurt cools down the curry and you could add more yoghurt for a less spicy curry.

Serving suggestions for chicken bhuna

We suggest serving chicken bhuna with steamed basmati rice or this pistachio pilau rice, naan bread, or chapatis with salted yogurt and a sprinkling of chopped coriander. You could also serve it as part of an Indian banquet with some onion bhajis, to start, and a side dish of saag paneer or roasted alloo gobi.

Can I make chicken bhuna ahead?

Yes, in fact cooking bhuna advance allows the flavours to mingle together and disperse more evenly, meaning the general overall flavour will improve over time. This is true of most curries so it’s actually advised that you make it the day before.

How to store leftover chicken bhuna

Simply store in a tupperware container in the fridge and consume within 3 days.

How to reheat chicken bhuna?

Reheat in the microwave until piping hot, or place in a pan on the hob with enough water added to maintain the same consistency and stop it drying out.​​

Can I freeze chicken bhuna?

Yogurt doesn’t freeze particularly well, and can become grainy, so we would avoid freezing this curry.

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