photo: Typical spices used in Indian chicken dishes

The first word that comes to mind whenever Indian cuisine is mentioned will be curry1. However, Indian foods are diverse and do not incorporate curry powder in every single dish. Apart from chicken curry, there are plenty of other popular Indian chicken dishes.

One of the most widely consumed chicken dishes is the butter chicken. Also known as chicken makkhani, the history of this dish can be traced back to the 1950s in Delhi2. Butter chicken consists of boneless and skinless chicken thighs that are cooked with aromatic Indian herbs and spices3. It is best eaten with rice or naan, traditionally prepared Indian flatbreads. The chicken meat is tender and buttery. This dish is one of the most commonly ordered dishes in any Indian restaurants around the world2.

The next popular Indian chicken dish is tandoori chicken2. The robust flavor profile and soft chicken meat make it a crowd favorite worldwide. The chicken meat is marinated in a spiced yogurt mixture, skewered and placed in a tandoor, which is a clay oven, to cook to perfection. Each bite has a lingering smoky aftertaste. The tandoori chicken is a must-order item in any Indian eatery2.

Another famous chicken dish is the chicken tikka masala. Tikka is an Indian word that refers to chunks2. This scrumptious dish includes marinated chicken meat that is cut into chunks and grilled until well-cooked. It is completed by adding rich and creamy gravy. A standard marinade incorporates a mixture of Indian herbs and spices with yogurt. The gravy contains spices, onions and tomatoes loaded with cream.

Chicken Chettinad is yet another widely consumed Indian dish. Chettinad dishes originate from Tamil Nadu in South India. They are notorious for serving fiery dishes4. The spices are toasted, ground and mixed with ginger and garlic to create a base. The chicken is simmered with the paste, along with curry leaves and tomatoes.

Chicken tikka masala dish served in an Indian restaurant


  1. The Spruce. (2017). Misconceptions about Indian food. [online] Available at: https://www.thespruce.com/misconceptions-about-indian-food-1957868
  2. The Spruce. (2017). Most popular Indian chicken dishes. [online] Available at: https://www.thespruce.com/most-popular-indian-chicken-dishes-1957406
  3. The Spruce. (2017). Butter chicken. [online] Available at: https://www.thespruce.com/butter-chicken-479366
  4. NDTV. (2017). 10 best Indian chicken recipes. [online] Available at: http://food.ndtv.com/lists/10-best-indian-chicken-recipes-693207