Treat yourself to a restaurant-style Mughlai Chicken Curry that is delicately spiced yet mild enough for the whole family. The perfect blend of aromatics, cream, and nutty ingredients brings out the royal flavors making it an absolute delight for non-veg lovers. Serve it with rice or tandoori garlic roti, and this Mughlai chicken will surely hit the spot as it is full of unique flavors and one of my family’s favorite recipes!
Mughlai food has no boundaries, ranging from kebabs to biryanis to rich vegetarian dals; this cuisine is so varied that there is always something on the menu to suit your palate and diet.
And today’s recipe – Mughlai chicken curry is one of the most delicious and flavorful dishes I have cooked in my kitchen. Not only does this chicken stays juicy and tender, but it is also packed with creamy flavor followed by a lip-smackingly delicious curry.
What is Mughlai Chicken Curry?
Originating in the Northern part of India, Mughlai chicken curry is yet another culinary treasure from the Royal Mughal kitchens. It’s a rich and flavorful dish that consists of bite-sized pieces of juicy chicken smothered in a thick curry sauce featuring nuts such as almonds or cashews.
I added some greek yogurt to the curry as it adds some great taste and packs quite a bit of protein.
In addition to that, the curry is seasoned with a blend of aromatic spices that adds a wonderful aroma and flavor to this dish. It is mildly spiced in a way it’s intensely flavorful; and not at all spicy.
I have made Mughlai chicken curry on countless occasions, which turns out to be a gourmet delight every time I make it.
The best part – you don’t need to visit a restaurant to enjoy this classic dish; with step-by-step recipe instructions and images, making Mughlai chicken curry at home is going to be a breeze.
You’ll love Mughlai Chicken curry –
- Easy to make
- Tastes amazing
- Easy to adapt and customize to suit your preferences
- Perfect for a leisurely lunch or dinner.
Ingredient List for Mughlai Chiken Curry
This part explains the role of each element in this recipe. For the FULL, printable recipe card, please scroll down to the bottom of this post.
» Chicken — I have used both bone-in chicken breasts and drumsticks for the Mughlai chicken recipe. Chicken thighs work as well.
» Ghee — The extensive use of ghee in the preparation of Mughlai chicken curry makes it a royal affair. Therefore, it’s a non-negotiable ingredient that cannot be substituted with oil or butter.
» Aromatics — Onions, ginger, and garlic paste are the flavor enhancers used in almost every Indian chicken dish. I have used thinly sliced onions for Mughlai chicken as they brown up quickly. But feel free to use chopped or diced onions, but cooking time may vary.
» Lemon Juice — To tenderize the meat.
» Dry nuts — Mughlai chicken curry’s creamy texture is anchored with almonds and cashews making it an extravagant affair. Cashews and almonds should be soaked for at least 20 minutes before blending.
» Whole and Ground Spices — The secret to the richly flavored Mughlai chicken curry is a blend of whole spices like Bay Leaves, Whole Black Cardamoms, Green Cardamom, Black Peppercorns, Cloves, Cumin seeds, and ground spices like garam Masala Powder, degi mirch, Haldi powder is used to add warm, earthy, and robust flavor to our dish.
» Green chilies — Mughlai chicken is not a spicy dish; therefore, whole green chilies are added to increase the heat factor. If you don’t have a liking for spice, feel to skip them.
» Yogurt — Full-fat yogurt adds a creamy touch to the curry and acts as a tenderizer for the meat. Always beat the yogurt and bring it to a paste-like consistency; now lower the heat to a bare simmer and add yogurt to the curry. This will prevent the yogurt from curdling.
» Dried Fenugreek leaves — A big flavor booster and brings out that quintessential flavor.
» Water — I have added about ¾ cup of water. Feel free to add more or less depending on how saucy you want your curry to be.
» Cream — Adding cream in the end really takes this chicken to a whole new level.
» Garnishes — Cilantro leaves – always use fresh cilantro leaves to garnish your chicken dishes. It flavors up the dish.
How to make Mughlai Chicken Curry
This section walks you through a detailed step-by-step recipe with pictures. For the FULL, printable recipe card, please scroll down to the bottom of this post.
» Rinse Chicken — Add chicken pieces to a glass bowl. Rub the pieces under tap water to get rid of the bacteria. Drain and set aside.
PROTIP— When it comes to handling meat, be rest assured safety is my first concern, and I am very well aware of basic hygiene. Although I DO prefer to rinse the chicken in a bowl (to avoid splashing) before cooking to eliminate any pathogenic bacteria it may contain because of all the handling and packaging.
» Marinate Chicken — Combine the rinsed chicken pieces along with ginger – garlic paste, lemon juice, turmeric powder, degi mirch, and salt in a large whisking bowl. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate the chicken for at least 30 minutes.
PROTIP— If you have time, you can refrigerate the chicken for at least 2 hours or overnight. The longer it marinates, the better it tastes.
» Cook the aromatics — Heat ghee in a large pan over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook until caramelized, stirring in between to avoid burning. Add ginger-garlic paste and cook until the raw smell is gone. Take this mixture off the flame, transfer it to a plate, and allow it to cool completely. Add soaked almonds, cashews, and cooked onion mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. The onion-cashew mix should be smooth, not gritty in texture.
PROTIP — If the onion mixture is gritty in texture after blending, please pass it through a sieve to get the smooth sauce.
PROTIP — Once the onions become light brown, lower the heat to medium-low and cook until they turn deep brown.
» Sauté whole Spices —Heat ghee in a large pan and add all the spices like whole black cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, black peppercorns, and green cardamom. Lightly sauté the whole spices in ghee to release their aroma and flavor.
» Cook the base gravy — Add cumin seeds to the whole spices and as they start to crackle, stir in the ground onion paste. Cook the gravy and whole spices in ghee until you see the ghee floating on top.
PROTIP — Cook the onion mix on a medium flame to avoid burning. Do not rush through this process. The main idea behind again cooking the onion mix is to eliminate any raw flavor left in the gravy.
» Cook chicken — Once the gravy is cooked, and the ghee layer separates, stir in garam masala powder, yogurt, Kasoori methi, degi mirch, and cook until everything is fully incorporated. Time to add marinated chicken to the gravy. Mix to combine. Pour in ¾ cup water to dilute the gravy. Turn down the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer the Mughlai Chicken curry for 10 minutes or until the chicken pieces are tender and cooked through.
» Finish the dish — Finally, finish the Mughlai chicken curry with a swirl of cream, garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and serve alongside Tandoori garlic roti.
Tips to make restaurant-style Mughlai Chicken Curry
» Chicken pieces — Always use bone-in chicken pieces for the chicken curry recipe. When cooking with bone-in chicken, there is less risk of getting overcooked and results in more flavorful and juicy chicken curry.
» Frozen chicken — If using frozen chicken for this recipe, make sure you thaw it completely before marinating to lock in the spice flavors.
» Onions — Slice your onions as thinly as possible. This helps to brown them faster and saves you time.
» To soak or not to soak — Always soak almonds and cashews for at least 30 minutes before blending. Soaking softens the nuts, and when mixed with caramelized onions, they produce a creamy gravy without the gritty bits.
» Gravy consistency — I prefer Mughlai chicken curry to be on a thick side. But if you are planning to serve it with rice, add a few more tablespoons of water for a more liquid consistency if you prefer.
Time Management tips
If you are preparing Mughlai Chicken curry for a large gathering, follow these tips to speed up the process –
- Marinate your chicken overnight.
- Prepare your onion-cashew-almond base sauce and store it in the fridge.
- When ready to cook, sauté the whole spices, and follow the recipe as directed.
The other option would be to prepare the curry till the point chicken is added and store it in the refrigerator. When ready to cook, add chicken and follow the recipe after that.
If the cooked Mughlai chicken curry is allowed to rest overnight in the fridge, it will taste so much better. The flavors will unite and intensify overnight.
LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!
This Mughlai Chicken curry is a perfect dish for potlucks and social gatherings. Bring the casserole to the table, and enjoy royal-style dining with your loved ones. You will have your family and friends licking their plates.
But if you are looking for a few options to round up the meal, then here are some of my favorites pairings –
You can pick one of them or all to make make it a wholesome and delicious meal.
Should you make this recipe, please let me know your thoughts by sharing your comment below. And don’t forget to share it with your family and friends.
HUNGRY FOR MORE FAMILY-FAVORITE RECIPES, TRY THESE-
COOK THE BASE GRAVY
Heat ghee in a large pan and add all the spices like whole black cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, black peppercorns, and green cardamom. Lightly sauté the whole spices in ghee to release their aroma and flavor.
Add cumin seeds to the whole spices and as they start to crackle, stir in the ground onion paste.
Cook the gravy and whole spices in ghee until you see the ghee floating on top.
Once the gravy is cooked, and the ghee layer separates. Stir in coriander powder and garam masala powder.
Add yogurt, Kasoori methi, degi mirch, and cook until everything is fully incorporated.
Time to add marinated chicken to the gravy. Mix to combine.
Pour in ¾ cup water to dilute the gravy.
Turn down the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer the Mughlai Chicken curry for 10 minutes or until the chicken pieces are tender and cooked through.
Finally, finish the Mughlai chicken curry with a swirl of cream, garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.
Serve hot with rice or tandoori roti.
What else can I add to Mughlai Chicken Curry?
Mughlai chicken curry is like a blank canvas; feel free to play around and add some bell peppers or carrots to the curry.
Can I skip cream?
You sure can! The chicken curry already has a velvety base with cashews, almonds, and yogurt. So if you skip the cream, it will taste equally good.
Can I make this recipe vegetarian?
You most certainly can! Swap chicken with paneer or tofu, and you are all set. The only modification that I would make to the recipe is – after marinating paneer/tofu for 30 minutes, I would grill them until crisp, then add it to the onion-cashew gravy.
Storage and Reheating!
Mughlai Chicken curry will last for 3-4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Completely cool the chicken curry before storing it. The best part, Mughlai chicken curry freezes well for up to two months.
When ready to eat again, thaw the curry in the fridge overnight. Rewarm on the stove until heated through.
Calories: 340kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 193mg | Potassium: 761mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 658IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 3mg