Indian Non Vegetarian

Bhuna Murgh – Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices

Sinfully Spicy:Bhuna Murgh - Slow Cooked Chicken with SpicesA traditional & (sometimes) time-consuming dish like this is a must in my house at least once a week..mostly middle of the week.The week usually starts on a very low note with soups,salads, lentils-rice etc thanks to our upset stomachs crying for simple home cooked meals to wither away the weekend damages from uncontrolled eating outside.Once we are back to normal,a recipe like this is required to do away the boredom of simple [ read bland] foods.Notice the vicious cycle & the excuses to cook heavy food,eat and enjoy! Such dishes,loaded with  indian flavors keep my guy happy.He has this unfathomable love for indian food, not that it’s a miracle [considering that he is an indian] but I m amazed at the fact that how can anyone eat [or at least want to eat] indian food 365 days of the year and never get bored of it for once???

Sinfully Spicy:Bhuna Murgh - Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices

A typical scene whenever we are getting ready to eat out is like this:-

Me – “Lets go to OG (Olive Garden for italian ) or PF (Chang’s for chinese)”

Him -“As you say.Get ready! ”

After half an hour – Me, happily dressed, getting into the car & asking to double confirm “OG or PF?”

Him – “Where do you want to go?” ( hoping that I might have changed my options)

Me -“OG” (replying shamelessly even after knowing that he doesnt like italian)

Half way, through the drive, he feels that there still might be a chance to change.He tries again,for the third time now ” You REALLY wanna eat italian?”

Mostly, not because I m trying to be a good wife (or whatever ),I give in to eat indian coz I don’t want to spoil the poor guy’s dinner 🙂 You should see the spark in his eyes as he locks the car in front of the restaurant!

Sinfully Spicy:Bhuna Murgh - Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices

Alright,this dish you might or might not get in the indian restaurants so make it at home.Its a rich, spicy & really flavorful preparation.”Bhuna” is basically a technique of searing the meat first,cooking a thick spice paste in oil,adding the seared meat to it & then slow cooking in its own juices it for 2-3 hours.The slow cooking results in deep strong flavours but a very thick sauce.”Bhuna” literally means browned, the meat in this dish has a brown look due to all the slow cooking & particularly the used of many black indian spices that make there way into the recipe.Boneless meat will not work in this recipe unless it’s a very thick cut.If using chicken, try to use the dark meat portions like thighs & drumsticks. The beauty of this two-in-one recipe is that the spice rub is so flavorful that you can drop the sauce preparation & grill the chicken pieces to make a perfect summer appetizer. As always I shy away from use of tomatoes in meat dishes, you can add some if you want.

Sinfully Spicy:Bhuna Murgh - Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices

Printable Recipe 

Ingredients :- [Serves 4]

  • 2 lbs chicken, bone in, skinned [7-8 pieces,use thigh/drumsticks or dark meat portions]
  • 1 tsp oil for rubbing on chicken +more for brushing on the grill pan
  • 1.5 tsp salt

For the spice rub :-

  • 4 whole dry red chilies
  • 2 tbsp whole coriander seeds
  • 6 cloves
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 black cardamom pods, cracked open
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns [ Adjust to taste]
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
For the sauce :-
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic ,grated
  • 2″ ginger shoot, grated
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1″ cinnamon stick
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt, beaten [slightly sour]
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro, chillies etc for garnish [optional]
Sinfully Spicy:Bhuna Murgh - Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices
  • Wash the chicken pieces thoroughly & pat dry using a paper towel.Once dried, rub the 1 tsp oil & 1.5 tsp salt over the pieces.Set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, on low heat,roast all the whole spices [except turmeric,nutmeg & salt] till you smell the aroma.About 5 minutes.
  • Let the roasted spices cool down a bit.Once cooled, tip into your coffee grinder or using mortar & pestle, coarsely grind the spices.
  • Add turmeric, ground nutmeg & salt to the ground spices to make a mix.
  • Lay the chicken pieces in a single layer and thoroughly rub half the amount of spice mix all over.Let sit for another 5 minutes. Mix the rest of the spice mix with beaten yogurt & set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat a grill pan [or a normal pan] to smoking hot.Once hot,brush some oil on the pan and layer the chicken pieces on the pan. Here, the idea is just to sear the flesh of the chicken [not cook it].You can even do it in the same pot in which you want to cook the sauce,I prefer a wide open pan for the sake of searing all piece in one go & easier flipping.Let sear for about 5 minutes on each side. Once seared, remove from heat.Reserve the drippings if any. Note:- You can use your outdoor grill too for this purpose.

  • While the chicken is being seared, heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot with lid on medium heat. [ or use your slow cooker for this purpose]
  • Once the oil is smoking, lower the heat & add the chopped onions to the pot.Cook the onions till golden brown.About 8 minutes.
  • Next, add the grated ginger & garlic to the pot along with bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Cook for 1 minute more.Let the heat be on low.
  • Add the spice mixed yogurt to the pot next and combine well with onions.Cook for 2 minutes with constant stirring to avoid curdling of the yogurt.You will slowly see yogurt releasing water. TIP: Whenever adding yogurt to hot pot, ensure that the stove is on the lowest mark.
  • Add the seared chicken pieces to the pot next, pep up the heat to medium and cook the chicken pieces for 5 minutes.Check the salt now [ remember we rubbed chicken with salt earlier] and adjust if required. Also,add the drippings[ if any] from the grill pan to the pot.
  • Again, reduce the heat to lowest possible on your stove, cover the pot and let the chicken cook to fully done.About 25-30 minutes.Avoid adding any water to the pot.As the chicken will cook,it will release its own juices which are enough to cook it.You will need to stir in between once or twice. Avoid adding any water to the pot.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove from heat and let sit covered for another 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro & sliced chillies.
  • Serve warm with chapthis, naan [flatbreads] or cumin rice.
Sinfully Spicy:Bhuna Murgh - Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices
  1. If you want to serve the chicken as appetizers, cook them to perfection on the outdoor/indoor grill itself & serve with Mango Mint Chutney.
  2. This recipe can be used for goat meat,turkey, beef or lamb also.The cooking time will very as per the kind of meat used.
  3. This spice rub is serves as a flavorful condiment to add indian twist to your grilling.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

69 thoughts on “Bhuna Murgh – Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices

  1. Wow delicious… I know I can’t eat too spicy, but I love watching spicy food… My husband will go crazy with these slow cooked chicken. If it’s not spicy I would too! Beautiful photos

  2. We eat out less and less over the last few years. And the slow cooked meals are for the weekend, quick meals for weekdays…
    The chicken sounds fabulous, I bet its full of flavorful and juiciness!

  3. I have a few guests dropping by for dinner in the middle of the week. I know just the thing to make for dinner!

    Looks fantastic and so flavourful! Will let you know how it came out.

  4. Lol!!
    And here on a sunday i am eating bland , well since is pretty free i love sundays coz i can work out longer and end up eating healthier and there are pals cmg down so there is gng to be a few days of eating out and there will Indian food too , lods of it :-)))
    And if its a bhuna chicken ,like this , made by dear Tanvi , so deliciously , i dont mind eating Indian 365 days of the year too!!1
    DeLicously delightful!

  5. Wow, this looks absolutely delicious! I can relate to searching for recipes to keep your desi guy happy, haha, I’m definitely going to have to try this one.

  6. Hai Dear

    This looks yummy….you have a lovely blog…Please check out my blog..It is for food lovers and person who love to cook..You could find so many recipes that you can easily try at home..I update this blog on a regular basis…So please follow me and motivate me..Thank you


  7. Tanvi, this dish is so aromatic & I’ve been going through all the ingredients – guess what, I have them all cept a couple, which are now on my shopping list. I’m going to make this, it sounds so beautiful & perfect for some spicey tangey tastey comfort food. Will let you know how I go.

  8. It takes a lot to make me, a vegetarian, like the look of a meat dish. But i can safely that this looks gorgeous, i will definately be making my own meat-free version!

  9. i like the idea of searing the chicken in a grill, instead of frying it 2 trap the juices…shud give this a go sometime..when im feeling all proactive for an elaborate process 🙂

  10. This looks really good Tanvi. I love how you’ve spiced the chicken. The end result looks great.

    Hope you have a great week ahead.

  11. Even though I am a vegetarian, the colours on the post and your style of writing make it an interesting read…Might have to try the same combination of our very trusted paneer 🙂

    See you around.

  12. Though I am more comfortable eating Indian food, I always prefer to try something different when we are eating out. And you know what The husband literally sulks when I say this and we eventually end up in a Indian restaurant. Poor me(us).
    Slow cooked meat is one of my favorite, love the intense and bold flavors in it.

  13. Gosh that is amazing, i enjoy long cooking process much needed therapy for me! Its dinner time for still at working forcefully eating banana….need ur chicken last pic drool drool! And Tanvi don’t be surprised i can completely enjoy Indian food through out the year …it is the best!

  14. Tanvi, if you were cooking for me I’d NEVER set foot in a restaurant! Your husband is one lucky guy. 🙂 This dish looks and sounds amazing with all those delicious spices in it.

  15. the gravy looks so rich and inviting! i would dip my naan or generously ladle it on my rice!

  16. wowwww! I want to dig in with some garam garam naan! Which camera are you using, Tanvi? Your photos are sooooo crisp, love them. 🙂

  17. What a gorgeous meal. That spice rub sounds fantastic. Too funny about the OG/PF conversation. What a sweet wife you are. 🙂

  18. This sounds and looks fantastic! We are experiencing a heatwave and I planned on a no-cook dinner, but just changed my mind. I must make this.

  19. This is going straight in my wish list .. Looks soo delicious, just the type of chicken dish I like to eat. Thanks for sharing dear 🙂

  20. To be fair, I definitely could eat Indian food every day of my life and be super happy! Although, I wouldn’t go out for it…I’d just head on over to your place! Looks delicious!

  21. What a beautiful dish…so tasty with all the spices…and I specially like the idea that you seared the chicken before placing in the slow cook. Beautiful pictures as usual.
    Have a wonderful week Tanvi 🙂

  22. I kinda agree with him, would rather go to a good Indian restaurant than OG! But when you put PF in the mixture, it would be a hard decision for us!
    Need to remember this when November rolls around and I need a good slow cooked meal! Pictures look hearty, Tanvi!

  23. Lovely combination of spices–I love adding nutmeg to my chicken curries as well–it rounds off the taste so well, don’t you think? The pictures are absolutely superb–I love the one of the coarsely ground spice rub. Yum!

  24. Hi. Can you buy the chicken on the bone, but de-skinned? Or do you take the skin off at home? I find it very difficult to take the skin off– how do you do this best? Thank you. Nikhil

    1. Hi Nikhil,
      Thanks for stopping by. I dont get de skinned chicken out here as well. What I do is that I pat the thawed chicken pieces dry and use a paper towel to pull out the skin. Works very easy and less messy. Try It!

      1. Thank you. I will try it this week hopefully and let you know how it goes.

  25. Hi, It’s Nikhil again. I just have to say I’ve made this dish every so often, and it is just the most delicious chicken recipe ever. I am now an expert on skinning (de-skinning?) chicken drumsticks. I love the masala and the ras. Here’s my question: how can we get the chicken to gallo (no idea angrezi main kya kehte hain isse)? I *love* the taste of the ras and the masala, but I find that once the outer part is eaten, the meat closer to the bone hasn’t absorbed much taste.

    Do you think it is the quality of the chicken I use? Will organic make it taste better? Do you think we should make 2-3 inscissions (sp?) in the chicken during the marinading process?


    1. I think incisions will definitely enhance the taste you are looking for.You can increase the slow cooking time from 25-30 minutes to 35-40 minutes. Just take care that this does not dry out the chicken. Also I think preparing the dish is advance (around 4-5 hour before) you will eat will result in better absorption of masala & flavors.I usually prepare it around noon & let it sit covered at room temperature & then reheat at dinner time.Try it. I cant say about organic chicken. I have never used it (too costly). Maybe you can use smaller pieces of chicken than those you are using now?? As far as chicken variety is concerned, it does make a lot of difference. I prepared the dish in India a while back & found that the cooking time was less & chicken was way tender. Thats because of use of desi chicken.

      1. Thank you. I will try it a) having prepared it earlier and b) with incisions. The dish is practically perfect anyway, so these would just be small enhancements.

  26. I should have come here much earlier and left a message but somehow never got around to doing it… This Bhuna Chicken recipe of yours was how I discovered the wonderful world of Sinfully Spicy! I found your blog through this dish many months ago.. I have made this dish so many times ever since I saw it ! It had almost become a standard chicken dish in my household!

  27. Hi, I made this without searing the chicken and it still turned out very good. The spicemix is so flavourful.Thanks for the recipe.

  28. Hi Tanvi, I came across your blog searching for an alternative recipe to Laal Maas and chanced upon this recipe for Bhuna Murgh ….and forgot all about the laal maas 🙂

    I had a question though… I followed your instructions precisely but found that the masala did not marinate fully into the chicken and stayed mostly on the surface. I allowed the original marination to sit for at least 15 minutes before shallow frying the chicken for roughly 6 minutes on each side and then allowing it to sit again for roughly 15 minutes before slow cooking it in the sauce for 35 minutes. Not sure what I did wrong…. or perhaps should have let it marinate a lot longer?

    Either way, great recipe!

    1. I guess the marination time should have been more.My bad!I will modify the recipe for the same. Thank you so much for your feedback.

      1. No big deal. It’s a terrific recipe and I’ll try it again … this time with more time for marination :).
        By the way, great pictures!


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