I am not sure how many versions of a boneless chicken handi recipe are out there in the world right now, but I can tell you how many I have tried already. I’ve tried the ones with almond paste, the ones with cashew nut paste, I’ve tried ones that had flour in it! And ones with no cream. Needless to say, this is the one I stuck with. For those of you who are new to Pakistani/Indian food, Chicken Handi is a common onion and tomato gravy based dish that has all the spices to make your taste buds light up! (there’s a modification in the end to reduce the heat for those who can’t handle it ok?)
This is one of those perfect recipes that is rich enough to be served in Dinner parties and light enough to be added in the weekly meal rotations. Just like Dam ka Keema (slow cooked ground beef) and the Chicken Malai pulao, this one is also quick and effortless.
STEPS TO MAKING THE BEST HANDI
We are going to use chopped onions in this version of the chicken handi. Start by adding oil and ghee in a pot. If it were up to me I would totally use ghee completely (as it is healthy). So, add chopped onions and green chilies.
Disclaimer: The green chilies I used were the big ones that we often use in Chicken Karhai. So they weren’t very strong. If you opt for using smaller more stronger green chilies, reduce the number of green chilies by half.
When your onions turns a good golden brown color (in about 5 mins), add tomatoes. The tomatoes I use are cut into 4 pieces and de-seeded. I want to take a minute to emphasize the importance of this step right here ok?
Tomatoes are amazingly versatile. They can offer different taste and textures just by being added differently into recipes. This recipe calls for half fried tomatoes softened up and then blended. If you blend the tomatoes raw, the taste and texture of the end result will change significantly, just a heads up 🙂
Getting back to the steps, let your tomatoes fry in the oil and soften up. It takes about 5 to 8 mins. When your tomatoes have softened, turn off the flame.
Push the tomatoes to one end and move them directly into the blender. We don’t want to add more oil for the chicken. This way you can use the same oil in the pan to saute boneless chicken.
Blend the tomatoes with yogurt and set aside.
In the same oil, add boneless chicken and all the spices mentioned in the recipe. And saute the chicken for about 2 to 3 mins until the chicken changes color.
Add the tomato paste back into the chicken and cover with the lid. Let the gravy cook for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Pro-tip: I like to add 1 tbsp of tomato paste as well for a bit of a color boost since the tomatoes here don’t really have a good color going on.
You will see the oil seperate from the sides after a while (roughly 10 to 15 mins). And your gravy will have a thick look similar to butter chicken. Add the cream at this point and dried fenugreek leaves as well. Cook for another 2 minutes to let the cream cook through and turn that flame off!
This would be a good time to check seasonings, salt etc. The cream kind of subdues the flavors a little. Which is actually the point of adding it as well.
If you are not some one who can tolerate spicy food, skip the green chilies and red chili powder in the recipe.
If your Chicken Handi turns out to be more spicy than you wanted, just add a little more cream and a bit more salt to balance out the flavors.
You can use the same recipe for regular chicken as well.
If your not a fan of adding cream to your gravy dishes, skip the green chilies and black pepper from the recipe and make the recipe without cream.