Chicken Angara

Chicken Angaara is my absolute favorite. Its an easy chicken recipe and it’s smoky flavor and aroma makes it distinct from most chicken gravies. The hack for the smoky flavor is to burn a small piece of charcoal on the stove and place it on a single layer of onion, which you can place on the gravy. A teaspoon of ghee on the hot charcoal releases an aroma that will remind you of the tandoor.

Chicken Angara is lightly spicy and prepared with boneless chicken (breast or thighs), which reduces the cooking time. For a vegetarian spin, substitute chicken with paneer (cottage cheese).


2 pieces chicken breasts cut into chunks
1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp ghee
Coal piece – you can use the small instant light charcoals like this one

Grind finely:

1 1/2 tbsp tandoori masala
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
4-6 cloves
4-6 black peppercorns

**Sieve to remove any kernels.

For the gravy:

2-3 tbsp oil /ghee
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste (if you have them stored separately, you can use 1/2 tsp of each)
200 grams curd, beaten
3 medium-sized onions, finely sliced
3 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled


1. Marinate the chicken. Place a small piece of hot coal on a layer of onion and place this on the marinated chicken. Pour a teaspoon of ghee on the hot coal and cover immediately to lock in the smoky aroma.

2. Meanwhile, deep fry sliced onions till they are golden-brown. Drain the oil on paper towels.

2. Blend the fried onions with the tomatoes in a blender till they are pureed well. Keep aside.

3. Let’s start cooking. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the ginger-garlic paste. Saute on low for about 5 seconds.

4. Add the pureed onions and tomatoes and simmer for about 2 minutes on low heat. You’ll notice the tomatoes losing their raw texture.

5. Remove the coal from the chicken. Add the marinated chicken to the onion-tomato gravy. Add in the ground masala and the beaten curd. Mix well, cover, and allow to cook over medium to low heat till the chicken is cooked through.

7. Once the chicken is cooked, turn off the flame and let the gravy settle (no bubbles!). Place a thick layer of onion on top of the gravy. Place the hot coal on the onion layer. Pour a tablespoon of ghee on the hot coal and cover immediately to lock the aroma. Leave till the smoke has settled.

Goes best with naans!


1. The coal should be hot. Keep the ghee and a lid ready at hand so you can pour and cover immediately. Use a large onion layer or several to avoid the charcoal residue flowing into the chicken gravy. You can use a small steel bowl instead of an onion layer.

2. The gravy will be thick. Be careful to not let the gravy dry down. Add in water little by little if required.