Different from the regular chicken handi, this zeera chicken handi is made using green chili, lots of roasted cumin (bhuna zeera) and of course yoghurt and cream to make a rich gravy. Best had with paratha or buttery naan.
Certain recipes come about as a combination of leftover items in the fridge and experimenting with ones favourite ingredients hoping for magic to happen. This particular curry chicken recipe is a combination of both.
Leftover cream in the fridge and roasted cumin seeds (also known as bhuna zeera), which is one of my favourite ingredients. I always have it on hand to spice raita (Pakistani yoghurt dip) and to add to dahi baray/dahi bhallay (a type of lentil fritters that are soaked in yoghurt and eaten as a snack).
I started off with making a typical Pakistani chicken curry. Frying off the onions,then the ginger garlic paste, and then the chicken. At that point, I was like let's do something different so I pulsed up some green chilli and yoghurt in a food processor. Added it to the chicken along with some freshly ground roasted cumin seeds. The smells wafting through the kitchen at this point were amazing, but I still felt the chicken needed something. I opened the fridge, saw the cream and got my aha moment. That drizzle of cream right at the end was just the thing to finish off this luscious zeera chicken handi (roasted cumin chicken curry).
How to make roasted cumin seeds (or bhuna zeera):
Place cumin seeds on a tawa / frying pan. Dry roast on low - medium heat for 2 minutes, making sure to move the pan around so the cumin seeds don’t burn. Take off the heat and place in a spice grinder and ground into a coarse powder. Pour the roasted and ground cumin seeds into an air-tight bottle and it will last for a couple of months in the spice cabinet. The process of toasting and crushing the cumin seeds to make bhuna zeera adds an earthy flavour and aroma changing the flavour of the basic cumin seed.
Looking for more Pakistani & Indian recipes for your weekly dinner inspiration. Check out the following:
- Ginger Chicken, Pakistani style
- Murghi ka Salan (Chicken curry with Onions and Tomatoes)
- Karahi Chicken
- Chicken kofta curry (Pakistani style chicken meatball curry)
- Aloo Gosht (Mutton Curry with Potatoes) – Stovetop & Pressure Cooker method
- Traditional chicken korma
Zeera Chicken Handi (Roasted cumin chicken curry)
- 4 tablespoons oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 300 grams boneless chicken cubed
- 1 green chili
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander
- Salt to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon roasted cumin powder/bhuna zeera plus more to garnish
- ½ cup yoghurt
- ¼ cup cream
- Heat oil and fry onions till brown. Drain them in colander and once dry, crush with your hands. Set aside.
- Place the green chilies and coriander in a blender and pulse till a paste is formed. Alternatively, put them in a mortar and pestle and just bash a few times till a thick paste is formed. Add water if required. Set aside.
- Heat about 2 tablespoons of the leftover oil from frying the onions, and add ginger garlic paste followed by the chicken.
- Cook the chicken till golden, and then add green chili paste and yoghurt. Add salt, roasted cumin powder and black pepper.
- Stir together and cook on low heat till the chicken is cooked through, and then add the crushed onions.
- Finally add cream, and mix. Take off heat and serve hot with paratha or roti.
- Garnish with sliced green chilies and more roasted cumin powder.
Place cumin seeds on a tawa / frying pan. Dry roast on low - medium heat for 2 minutes, making sure to move the pan around so the cumin seeds don’t burn. Take off the heat and place in a spice grinder and ground into a coarse powder. Pour the roasted and ground cumin seeds into an air-tight bottle and it will last for a couple of months in the spice cabinet.