Restaurant- Style Boneless Chicken Handi

Nothing says desi more than fingers dripping with curry! Allow me to bless your kitchen with my coveted chicken curry recipe. In the most traditional sense, you call this Boneless Handi. Handi is vessel (usually terracotta) in which this dish is traditionally cooked. But trust me when I say this, your favorite restaurant is not cooking their famous Boneless Handi in an actual Handi. I cook all my curries in a stainless steel saucepan or wok and absolutely love the curries that come out of those vessels.

I have already covered the basics of how to determine when the curry is done in my Chicken Karahi post. For me, the key to the most flavorful curry lies in 1) yogurt 2) red juicy tomatoes and 3) continuous stirring towards the end until the masala releases that orange-tinted oil. If you do not see the oil glossing the surface, your curry is not done. Let it continue cooking on medium to low heat. This recipe itself is not a huge departure from my Chicken Karahi recipe. Both require yogurt and both require a whole lotta stirring. However, in my Boneless Handi, I create the curry base prior to adding in the chicken. This is also the technique that is traditionally used to make Boneless Handi.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Boneless Handi
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Pakistani Curry
Cuisine: Pakistani
Serves: 4
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5-6 whole cloves
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4-5 small tomatoes, chopped (Roma preferably, make sure they are red and ripe)
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ½ garam masala
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder (Kashmiri red chilli or cayenne)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 green chili, slit lengthwise
  • 1-5-2 lbs boneless chicken thighs, cut in medium-sized chunks
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt, whole milk
  • 4-5 cardamom pods, cracked open
  • 4-5 cardamom pods
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped into small chunks
  1. In a wok or saucepan, add oil.
  2. Add cumin seeds and cloves and let them crackle and sizzle on medium heat, about 30 seconds
  3. Next, add onions and fry on high heat for 5 minutes until the onion gets crisp and brown around the edges.
  4. Next, add chopped tomatoes and continue frying on medium to high heat for 10 minutes. Halfway through add ⅓ cup water to help the tomatoes break down.
  5. After 10 minutes, tomatoes and onions will begin to resemble gravy. Stir vigorously and press down your spatula to mush up the tomatoes if there are any visible big chunks.
  6. Next, add spices: coriander powder, turmeric, garam masala, red chilli powder and salt and stir well.
  7. Add in cilantro and green chillis and continue to stir
  8. Next, throw in chicken and stir until spices coat the chicken pieces.
  9. Add in ginger and garlic paste, and stir.
  10. Next, add yogurt and stir well into the chicken and continue stirring until chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  11. Next, add cardamom pods and stir.
  12. Cover with lid and let the chicken cook for 35 minutes on medium heat. Stir every once in a while.
  13. After 25 minutes of cooking time, remove the lid and add in the chopped bell pepper. The curry should have released its oil. This is key to ensure that the curry is done.
  14. Cover the pan with a lid and let the curry simmer for the remaining 10 minutes on very low heat.
  15. Serve hot with fresh naan!


  1. I thank you day I found your chicken recipes. Yummy finger licking delicious!! Thank you so much and I love their simplicity. Most recipes are off putting because of their elaborateness. Your recipes are simple like home recipes and come out great!!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that! Cooking should not be stressful:)

  2. I’ve made it today and it turned out fanstastic. It looked and tasted like from top quality restaurant (so easy to make!) . I used to cook currys but they never had this wow glossy finish like this one so 5* from me 🙂 i also made your kheer for dessert and it was fantastic

    1. I’m so happy to hear this! It’s truly wonderful to hear that these recipes are becoming my readers’ favorite!

  3. I’ve made this chicken today and it’s fantastic. I followed exactly the steps you showed and it looked/tasted like top quality restaurants curry (it’s funny how easy it is to make) . The one advice I would give to anyone is make sure you have the best quality tomatoes as that is the key to delicious gravy. Oh and I also made your kheer for dessert (delicious) 😁
    Can’t wait to try more of your dishes. Kind regards Xx

    1. Thank you for your feedback Veronica. I’m so happy you love the recipe. And yes, the key to the gravy is tomato. Both Roma and Vine are fine for this but they need to be red and ripe. Stop by my blog to try more recipes!

  4. Bethany B Abrams

    Hello, can’t wait to make this recipe. I do have a question. Should the tomatoes be thrown into the wok whole or diced up? The recipe doesn’t specify, and I want to do this right. Thank you

    1. oops just updated the recipe. You add chopped onions:) If you find any discrepancies or confusion, watching the videos is super helpful.

  5. […] for me it gives me restaurant-style Chicken Karahi right at home! I have also used yogurt in my Boneless Chicken Handi recipe. Yogurt helps to tenderize the chicken and allows the spices to seep in. Another key step […]

  6. Hello there.

    This recipe calls for some cardamoms but does not say at which stage they should be added. I assume you fry them in the first stage with the cloves and jeera?

    Secondly one of the pictures Showe some turmeric but is not included in the ingredients. Do we use turmeric .


    1. Hi Madhav,

      Sorry about that. I will update th recipe ASAP. I put 1/4 tsp turmeric along with the spices and cardamom pods after the yogurt. Hope this helps!

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