Chicken Bhuna – fab ‘fakeaway’!

Chicken bhuna

You’ll find lots of cracking Indian ‘fakeaway’ dishes throughout the Hairy Dieters’ books and Chicken Bhuna is right up there with the best of them. In fact, if my 13-year old son didn’t despise peppers I’d probably make this more often than I do. Perhaps it’s time to show the boy some tough love and make him eat this belting curry more often? I digress…

I really like the simplicity of this recipe. Unlike the majority of Indian dishes which require lots of spices, this one only uses mild curry powder and garam masala. The addition of the fresh ginger, garlic, chopped tomatoes and chilli powder work their magic to produce a fantastic sauce and hey presto, job done.

The calorie count is 305 calories but do keep in mind this is WITHOUT including rice and/or naan bread. But if you do succumb to these extras this meal is still far healthier than a standard takeaway, and a damn site cheaper and dare I say it, tastier too!

Recipe: Chicken Bhuna

Calories: 305 calories per portion (WITHOUT rice or naan bread)

Serves: 4

Book: Hairy Dieters – Eat for Life

Prep time: Approx 25 mins

Cooking time: Approx 40 mins


  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 x red, orange and green pepper
  • 40g chunk of fresh root ginger (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 medium onions (quartered)
  • 4 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 2 tsp mild curry powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 600ml of chicken stock (made with one stock cube)
  • 1 tbsp of caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp of cold water
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • Fresh coriander to garnish (optional)
  • Flaked sea salt
  • Ground black pepper

Cost per portion: Approx *£1.98 *cost based on Tesco prices – December 2022

Method: Put the chicken thighs on a board and trim off any visible fat with good kitchen scissors, then cut each chicken thigh into 3 pieces. Season with lots of freshly ground black pepper. Deseed the peppers and cut them into chunks of 3cm. Set aside.

Cut the ginger into small pieces and put them into a food processor. Add the onion quarters, garlic, curry powder, garam masala and chilli powder and blitz until everything is finely blended. You may need to remove the lid and push the mixture down with a rubber spatula. If you don’t have a food processor, coarsely grate the onion and finely grate the ginger and garlic, then mix with the spices in a bowl.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the spiced onion paste and cook it over a medium heat for 10 minutes until softened and lightly browned, stirring regularly. Tip the tomatoes into the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the chicken and peppers to the curry sauce and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. add the chicken stock and sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender, stirring occasionally.

Mix the cornflour with the water and stir the mixture into the sauce. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve garnished with fresh coriander if you like.


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