Friday, 9 May 2014

Handi Chicken

Handi Chicken

Handi in Hindi means vessel or pot. It’s a deep, wide or narrow mouthed, vessel. Meat, be it chicken or mutton, is slow cooked in such a vessel and hence the term, ‘handi’. Sometimes slow cooking is done not just by covering the ‘handi’ with a lid but by also sealing the edges of the vessel and the lid with dough. This is done to ensure that the flavor and aroma of the dish remain intact. Slow cooking this chicken in the ‘handi’ ensures that it remains extremely moist and succulent when it’s served on the plate. Thick, fiery red, gravy coats the chicken pieces and this gravy goes beautifully with naan or with parathas. Enjoy!


1 kilo chicken, cut into desired pieces
6 medium onions, finely chopped
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
12-14 garlic cloves, chopped
12-14 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons red chili paste
2 tablespoons fresh coconut paste
2 tablespoons poppy seeds paste
Salt to taste
A large handful coriander leaves

For marinade:

4 teaspoons ginger paste 
4 teaspoons garlic paste
4 teaspoons green chili paste
2 teaspoons red chili powder
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
8-10 cloves
4 tablespoons curd/yogurt
Salt to taste

  1. Marinate the chicken with the marinade ingredients and keep it in refrigerator for 4-5 hours. (I marinated it overnight)
  2. Take a handi/vessel, heat oil, add cumin seeds and let it crackle. 
  3. Add onions and garlic and fry till golden brown. 
  4. Add the chicken along with marinate and stir on medium heat for 8-10 minutes. 
  5. Add red chili paste, salt (remember salt is already added in marinate so add accordingly) and mix in well. 
  6. Lower the heat and cook on very slow fire till chicken is almost tender.
  7. Add coconut paste, poppy seeds paste and mix well. Add little water and cook till chicken is tender. 
  8. Mix in finely chopped coriander. Serve hot!

Chef’s Notes:
  1. Recipe courtesy: Harry Punwani (Recreated from Jaspreet Nirula’s original recipe of Mutton Handi at a Facebook food forum.)
  2. I usually make a few changes when I cook, but this recipe truly didn't need any alterations hence simply followed it to the T. 
  3. Feel free to reduce the oil content if you're health conscious. I used the quantity mentioned because I have no clue what the words ‘health conscious' means. :P
  4. I'm the madcap who loved this dish not only with naan and parathas but also with plain steamed rice. 
  5. You may share the direct blog-link of the recipe/s but do NOT publish my recipes and my photographs on any blog-site or website without my explicit consent or attempt to pass off my recipe/s as your own. You will be held accountable for plagiarism.


  1. How did u prepare ur red chilli paste for this recipe?

    1. Hi Farzana! Soak dry red chilies in hot water (clean water) for 30 minutes. Then grind them in the grinder using the same water in which the chilies were soaked. Use only as much water as needed to grind the chiles to a thick smooth paste. Discard the rest of the water. If you have a wee bit of chili paste left over, store it in the fridge for 2-3 days until you can use it for something else. Because the chilies were ground in water, the paste won't keep for more than 2-3 days. Thank you so much for visiting the blog. I hope you liked the recipes and if you recreate them in your kitchen for your loved ones, please do let me know how they turn out. I'd love to hear feedback from you :-)