Chicken ginger is a typical Indian curry, that is a staple in many Indian homes, especially in northern India. This chicken is a true delight if you love ginger. The zesty strong flavor of ginger overpowers all other spices in this curry. And why do I love it? It is super easy to make. My hubby is a big ginger tea, ginger lemonade, or in fact ginger anything.
Chicken ginger handi is the name given to a chicken curry that has an overpowering ginger taste. There are countless versions of chicken ginger curry. The most popular ones are the ones with coconut milk, the Chinese, the Vietnamese, the Thai, and the Punjabi one, that I'm sharing here.
Northern India, where this curry is very popular has a state of Punjab so this curry is often called Punjabi Murgh Adraki. Murgh means chicken and adarak means ginger in Hindi.
Did you know this chicken is also very famous in Pakistan which shares some part of Punjab on their side of the border? Like many common dishes between two countries, this curry is enjoyed on both sides of the border.
I'm familiar with the restaurant-style ginger chicken version that I enjoyed in local restaurants in Punjab. I'm posting the recipe for the same. Their gravy is thickened; mine is thin. Of course, you can dry the excess water by cooking a little longer to make a dry version of chicken ginger.
What it tastes like?
As the name denotes, the chicken has a strong flavor of ginger which simply boosts the taste of curry experience to the next level. You can add less or more ginger to taste.
This curry tastes zesty, is strongly aromatic, and has a moderately spicy flavor. You can also make it in a handi, then it'll be called ginger chicken handi. I recommend a wok for making this curry, which is my favorite cooking vessel since it allows a huge space for searing. (In step by step, I've used fry pan for visually clear and appealing shots.)
The process of searing food on high heat is a South Asian technique and is called 'bhunna' in which you cook something on high heat with constant stirring until you see oil clearly separating on sides of the pan. AND this is so essential to make an Indian curry delicious and finger-licking good.
How to make?
This is a very simple and east curry. I used boneless chicken to make it, but chicken with bone-in can also be used. In fact, I recommend the chicken with bone-in because it tastes a lot better with juices from bones.
There are two crucial steps to be when making this Indian chicken ginger curry.
- Make sure your onions are soft before you proceed to add spices.
- And your tomato water has dried and you see some oil on sides of pan before you add chicken.
- Mix chicken cubes, ginger paste, Kashmiri chili powder, and salt in a bowl. Marinate for 15 minutes. We are using Kashmiri chili powder for a rich red color. You can substitute with paprika and adjust red chili powder in the recipe to taste. (Kashmiri chili is red chili that is moderately spicy and has a rich red color. Check more here.)
- I've used roasted and grounded cumin and coriander in this recipe. I know no one has time to do it every time for each recipe. So, simply take 2 tablespoons cumin and 2 tablespoon coriander in a pan and roast on medium heat until fragrant. Let it cool and then grind it finely. Store in an airtight jar. This powder tastes good in all curries, chutneys, and chats. I promise it'll be all used up in a few days. Roasting and grounding these spices enhances the flavor which means so much taste boost.
- After 15 minutes of marination, fry chicken in 2 tablespoons of oil for 5 minutes on high heat until it changes color and water dries.
- Transfer chicken to a bowl and wipe the pan with tissue and use the same pan to cook gravy--- one less pot to wash.
- Next, add ¼ cup oil to the same pan and fry onions for 15 minutes until very soft. If your onions are soft, you'll have smoother gravy as soft onions are more likely to dissolve in gravy. I know ¼ cup is too much oil but you need that to fry onions properly. You can always remove extra oil with the help of a spoon.
- Besides add 1 tablespoon water if needed when frying onions, this water allows you to cook onions for longer duration without turning golden. We want soft transparent onions that are not golden.
- Have a look at the spices: Green chili paste, roasted and grounded cumin and coriander powder, turmeric, red chili, black pepper, and salt.
- When onions are very soft but not golden, add all spices to the wok. Fry for 1 more minute and let the spices release flavors in the oil.
- Now add tomato puree and mix well. (To make tomato puree from fresh tomato, just blend 3 tomatoes in a jug blender with as little water as possible.) Cook for 7 minutes on high to medium heat. First, the tomato water will dry then you will see a layer of oil separating on sides of the wok. (Bhunofy)
- Add the cooked chicken, mix well.
- Mix in yogurt too.
- Let curry simmer on low heat until desired consistency is reached.
- Throw a dollop butter on top and let it melt. Do not stir.
- Garnish with ginger that is cut in julienne and serve with hot naan and onion salad.
My other Indian Curry Recipes
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Indian Ginger Chicken Curry
- 1 pound boneless chicken, cut in small cubes (450 grams)
- 2 tablespoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder, for colour
- 6 tablespoon oil, divided
For Ginger Curry
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon green chilli paste
- ½ tablespoon roasted and grounded cumin
- ½ tablespoon roasted and grounded coriander
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
- Salt , to taste
- 3 tomatoes, raw puree
- ¾ cup yogurt, whipped (or less according to desired gravy)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 inch ginger , cut in julienne, less or more
- Chopped fresh coriander, to garnish
- 1 lemon wedge
- Mix chicken cubes, ginger, Kashmiri chilli powder and salt in a bowl, marinate for 15 minutes.
- In a wok, fry chicken in 2 tablespoon oil for 5 minutes on high heat, remove from pan and set aside.
For Ginger Curry
- In same pan or wok, take another 4 tablespoon oil and fry onion slices on medium heat for 7-10 minutes until very soft but not brown.
- Now, add all spices in the curry and fry for 2 minutes.
- Pour tomato puree and cook for 5-7 minutes on high heat until tomato water dries and oil separate on the sides of wok.
- Now mix in cooked chicken and yogurt and simmer for 5-10 minutes on low heat until you see a thin layer of oil on top of gravy. Then add butter in the last.
- Garnish with ginger, lemon wedges and fresh coriander.