Razia’s Bhuna Chicken

Bhun is a Pakistani cooking technique in which ingredients are fried until the oils separates.  Onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and spices are fried in hot oil, until they have formed a paste. It is different from a curry as it is not as runny/liquidy. Hence, it cannot be eat with rice, but is delicious eaten with thin rotis/chappatis.  It is frequently on menus in restaurants in the UK, but is a little different from this one as extra onions and tomatoes are added to make it bit more suitable to be eaten with naans.

This recipe below is very special and although my mum and others in the family made it, the mother of all bhunas was made to a very high standard by my mum’s sister Razia in Kenya.  I remember that in order to be fair, portions were measured out to each of us and then the grown-ups would fight over eating the remains of an almost empty pan with a roti in their hand until every last morsel was eaten up.

Yummy Mouthwatering! And full of lovely memories of South B, Nairobi, Kenya.


  • 8oz finely onions sliced
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2lb chicken cut into small pieces (wash and drain out excess water)
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 4 tsp fresh crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp red chillie powder (reduce to taste)
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 4 tsp fresh crushed ginger
  • 1lb finely chopped tomatoes
  • 2 fresh green chillies (optional)
  • 4 tsps crushed dry coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp lime/lemon juice
  • 2 tsp freshly roasted cumin seeds


  1. Add the oil into a medium sized saucepan, add the onions and fry until golden brown, add the chicken, turn heat to medium, using a wooden spoon turn the chicken pieces around for 2 – 3 minutes, if it starts sticking to the pan, add 2 tbs of water.
  2. Add the salt and garlic, fry together for another 3-4 mins on full heat, turning around the chicken every couple of minutes, again if it begins to stick to the bottom, add 2 tbs of water at a time, then add the red chillie powder, turmeric and ginger, fry together for a further 3 mins.
  3. Add the tomatoes, cook mixture on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time, add green chillies slit in two if using, keep stirring mixture every now and then until oil separates and you achieve the fully bhuned effect. Don’t expect to have gravy or ‘curry’ as the ‘masala’ should be sticking to the chicken pieces.
  4. Now add the dry coriander and half the fresh coriander, and lime juice stir once. Place on very low heat, add the cumin and the remainder of the fresh coriander to garnish.Bhuna 2


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About Me

I am Sabiha Khokhar, born in Kenya now living in London – a busy working mother, wife, published author and passionate cook. Despite having many interests in life, my greatest joy is FOOD!

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