Nina´s homestyle chicken

By Nina Khanna

Origin: India

This chicken recipe is not US based Indian restaurant style, it's simply home style.

Many chicken curry styles prevalent in India. This is from the Northern side, New Delhi area, predominantly Punjabi.


  • 1lb (450 g) chicken breast or if you prefer to use some other cuts

  • 2 med red onions, chopped

  • 4 full ripe tomatoes (I had cherry salad tomatoes and I used those. Result will be slightly sweeter rather than tangy). Chopped or pureed if you wish to cook quickly and don't want to add all the LOVE you have!!

  • 2 tsp crushed garlic

  • 2 tsp turmeric

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 4 tsp EVOO

  • Salt - to taste in the curry

  • 1 tsp red chili powder - for heat (optional)

  • 2-4 cups water or to desire for the curry's consistency. Watery curries use more water. We prefer thick curry. I use about 3 cups.

For the marinade

  • 2 tsp EVOO

  • 1 tsp plain yogur

For Garam Masala

Don't fret if you don't have all the ingredients. Simply order on the Internet or buy in an Indian grocery store.

  • 3-4 cloves

  • 5-6 green cardamom

  • 3-4 black cardamom

  • 1 tsp coriander

  • 2 tsp cumin

  • 1 inch cinnamon stick

(Hint: less of cloves gives room for the wonderful flavors of cardamom and cinnamon)

The how

1. Cut and cube in small pieces chicken. Use the oil and yogurt in the chicken with a little salt and rub the chicken with the oil and yogurt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hrs. If cuts used other than breast, then 1h marination should be enough.

2. In a small pan add all the garam masala ingredients and lightly roast.

3. Hand pound in the Hammam Dasta the garam masala, after it has cooled. Do not worry if you do not have a traditional pestle and mortar, use a coffee grinder after cleaning the coffee smell else spices would have a coffee flavor. Keep this mixture covered pls. Don’t let the smell evaporate. I have used cumin in my masala BUT if you don’t want a cuminy taste – simply don’t roast it and don’t grind. Add it with the bay leaf in one of the next steps. Take care not to burn it in oil.

4. These steps going forward will assume that the chicken has been marinated for 4 hrs. Take a pan of your choice. HEAT – MEDIUM. DON’T CHANGE HEAT KEEP IT STEADY. Heat the pan. Add 4 tbsp EVOO. Add bay leaf. If you have decided to skip grinding the cumin for the garam masala add now. Lightly brown. Add 2 tbsp crushed garlic. Lightly turn the garlic. Add crushed onions.

5. Add the crushed tomatoes. All your love is now required. if you are using fresh tomatoes give your love to cook it to a smooth paste. If tinned or fresh pureed tomatoes are required it will cook sooner, For me I had to hand pulverize the cooking process and also needed to add 2 cups of water.

6. Add turmeric. At this point if you desire you can also add the pounded garam masala. Stir. Add Salt to taste—keep in mind salt has been added to the chicken as well. Less is good as can be adjusted later. More will need milk to be added to lessen the salt (don’t worry the mixture DOES NOT CURDLE – at this point it becomes a stable emulsion). If required add more water.

7. While the tomatoes are cooking sear the chicken in the Panini press for 5 mins . If no panini press no worries simply toss the chicken in a pan on med heat and turn every 1 min till all sides become white.


Add the seared chicken. (I added my garam masala then but if you want you can add it in step 6 above no worries) . Cook till Chicken is done. MOST IMP: DON’T CHANGE HEAT AFTER ADDING CHICKEN. Maintain heat. Love love Love- add all you have.

And You are Done!

Nina is from India but she's settled in the US since 1995. She is a bachelor of technology under the Chemical Engineering branch and has a Post Graduate degree in applied computer science. Nina also owns a small olive farm in the province of Almería (Spain) where she produces EVOO.

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