Most Popular Indian Chicken Dishes

10 Favorite Flavorful Chicken Recipes

Due to religious reasons, a lot of people in India do not eat beef. For the very same reason, many people do not eat pork. This makes chicken a very popular meat, indeed. Some of India's most popular dishes are chicken based. Here are ten of the most famous chicken dishes in Indian cuisine.

  • 01 of 10
    Butter chicken
    Chickenfarmersofcanada/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Very, very few people have not heard of butter chicken. This iconic Indian dish is also known as chicken makkhani and tastes great with kaali daal (black lentils) and naans (leavened tandoor-baked Indian flatbread).

    Butter chicken came to be in the 1950s in Delhi, at the Mohi Mahal hotel. Legend has it that it was named butter chicken to appear as something "different," in addition to the fact that it does have a little butter mixed into the gravy ingredients. This recipe is the real...MORE deal, unlike some of the dishes named butter chicken on restaurant menus that include raisins, food coloring and ketchup.

  • 02 of 10

    Among the most famous Indian foods, tandoori chicken is loved by people the world over. The nicest thing about this dish though is that it's really easy to make. It gets its name from the way it is cooked--in a tandoor, or clay oven. After the chicken is marinated in a spiced yogurt mixture, the pieces are threaded onto skewers, and then placed in the tandoor to cook.

    This recipe calls for tandoor masala, an Indian spice mix you can make ahead of time to always have on hand. It includes...MORE turmeric powder and red chilis, which give the tandoori chicken its signature orange hue.

  • 03 of 10

    Tikka means pieces, chunks or bits. Chicken tikka masala is a delicious dish in which pre-marinated pieces of chicken are grilled and then added to a thick, creamy gravy. The marinade consists of yogurt and spices, and the gravy is a traditional mixture of Indian spices and onion and tomato, with a bit of cream added to create a smooth and rich finish.

     

  • 04 of 10

    From Tamilnadu in South India, this curry is quite fiery. There's no reason why you can't reduce the chilies to suit your own palate, though.

    Typical of many Indian recipes, the whole spices are toasted and then ground; they are then mixed with ginger and garlic pastes to create a spice paste. Combined with curry leaves and tomatoes, the chicken simmers until tender to create a delicious and spicy curry dish.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    This most basic of chicken recipes is also one of the tastiest. Although many chicken curries include yogurt or cream, this basic recipe creates a thickening agent by grinding the fried onions into a paste and processing the tomatoes with the garlic and ginger pastes. Water is added at the end to balance out the consistency.  

    Serve chicken curry with hot chapatis (Indian flatbread) or plain boiled rice.

  • 06 of 10

    The thick, creamy gravy of Mughlai chicken is inspired by the food of Central Asia and came to India during the rule of the famous Mughal dynasty. It is an ideal dish for special occasions, but not because it takes long to cook or requires special ingredients, but since it is so rich and decadent tasting. Cook and eat it and you will feel like royalty yourself!

  • 07 of 10

    This is a great make-ahead-of-time dish as it tastes even better the next day. It is also made with lamb or goat but is just as delicious with chicken. It is a Persian and Gujarati (western India) recipe combining lentils, vegetables, meat and spices.

    Don't be deterred by the number of ingredients--most of them are spices to make the masala powder.

  • 08 of 10

    A light curry dish common in northern India, chicken Saagwala consists of pan-fried chicken combined with spinach and a flavorful sauce. It is one of the healthier choices on Indian menus. Pair it with hot chapatis (Indian flatbread) or plain rice and you've got a complete meal the whole family will love. Great to make ahead, too!

     

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Reminiscent of the famous Portuguese peri-peri sauce, this delicious, tangy, hot dish is the Indian equivalent of Portuguese-style grilled chicken. It is a spicy dish where the chicken is traditionally deep fried, but you can grill it if you prefer. With only a few ingredients--chicken, lemon, chilies, garlic and ginger--you can have this on the table on a busy weeknight.

  • 10 of 10

    A regal dish, Mughlai Biryani is fit for a king and was probably eaten by many too! This makes the perfect one-dish meal for when you have company. Consisting of chicken (or lamb), rice, yogurt and many spices, it is a filling and flavorful layered dish.