Rustic Chicken Curry cooked on Chula or Wood Fire, is a simple and mouthwatering recipe.  I am fortunate enough to cook this recipe on an age old Chula without using fancy cooking equipment, and amidst nature surrounded by trees, birds, especially peacocks in the backyard. This is an experience, I will fondly remember.

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Preparation of Utensil – Take some mud/soil and add water to it.  Make a thick paste out of it.  Apply on outer side of the Large Utensil (bottom and sides).  Then sprinkle some Charcoal Ash on the wet mud properly so that the charcoal ash covers the wet mud perfectly.  This is done to prevent the Utensil from becoming black from outside when cooking on Chula or Wood Fire.  This also helps to wash the utensil easily.

Prepare your Chula or Wood Fire and start the fire.  If you do not have Chula, you can cook this recipe on cooking gas or electric heater also in your home.



  • Chicken – One and half kg.  Washed and rinsed with water. Remove the water. Keep chicken aside. 
  • Ginger / Garlic / Green Chili paste – Ginger (Adrak) 2 inch. Garlic (Lassun) 15 cloves. Four green chili (hari Mirchi). Make a paste out of it. Add little extra water to it.
  • Onion (Pyaz) – 8 medium size. Finely chopped.
  • Tomato – 8 medium size. Finely chopped.
  • Tamarind pulp (Imli) – 4 tsp.
  • Cooking Oil – 5 tbs.
  • Fresh Coriander (Dhaniya) leaves – One cup finely chopped.
  • Dried Fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Methi) – 2 tbs.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Red chili (Lal Mirchi) powder – 2 tsp.
  • Coriander (Dhaniya) powder – 3 tbs.
  • Cumin (Jeera) powder – 2 tsp.
  • Lime (Nimboo) juice – 2 tbs.
  • Garam Masala powder – 2 tbs.
  • Turmeric (Haldi) powder – Half tsp.
  • Black Pepper (Kali Miri) – 1 tsp.
  • Bay Leaves (Tej Patta) – 2 small size.
  • Cloves (Lawang) – 6 pieces.
  • Cinnamon Stick (Dal Chini) – 1 inch.
  • Green Cardamom (Choti Elaichi) – 6 pieces.
  • Black Cardamom (Badi Elaichi) – 2 pieces.

Method –

  • Take a large mixing bowl.  Add chicken to it.  Add half tsp of red chili powder, 1 tsp of coriander powder, 1 tsp of cumin powder, 1 tsp of salt, 2 tbs of lime juice, half tsp of garam masala powder on the chicken.  Using your fingers and palm, mix it well so that the marinade is coated proper on the chicken.  Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Take a small bowl and add 1 tsp of red chili powder, 3/4th tsp of garam masala powder, 2 tbs of kasuri methi, salt to taste, turmeric powder, 2 tsp of coriander powder, 1 tsp of cumin powder, add some water and make a thin paste of these masala powders.  Keep it aside. By doing this, the masalas won’t burn when you fry it.
  • Start the fire of Chula / Wood Fire. Take a large Utensil coated with wet mud and charcoal ash from outer sides.  Place this Utensil on the Chula. Allow it to heat up properly.
  • Once the Utensil is hot, add cooking oil and heat it up.
  • Add whole dry spices in the hot oil – black pepper, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon stick, green cardamom, black cardamom and allow it to crackle.
  • Add finely chopped onion in to the Utensil.  Fry the onions until it becomes brown.  Keep stirring.  Cooking on Chula, takes time to fry the onions.
  • Once the onions are brown, add ginger / garlic / green chili paste with little water and fry it until it becomes brown.  Add very little water if these ingredients are sticking to the bottom of the Utensil.  Keep stirring it.
  • Once ginger / garlic / green chili paste is properly fried, add finely chopped tomato and mix it well.  Fry the tomato until it reduces, and releases its own oil on the surface.  Keep stirring it.  Cooking on Chula, takes time to fry the tomato.
  • Once the tomato are properly fired, add powdered masala paste along with water and mix it well.  Fry / Cook the masala paste until you see oil released on the surface.  Add little water from time to time to prevent the masalas from burning and sticking to the bottom of the Utensil.
  • Once powdered masalas are fried properly, add marinated chicken in to the Utensil and mix it well continuously.
  • Keep frying the chicken for couple of minutes or until it is half done, before adding water to it.  Continuously keep stirring the chicken.  Then cover it with a lid and cook it for few more minutes. Chicken will release its own water after you cover it with a lid.
  • It is important to keep checking the Chula / Wood Fire and keep adding dried wood so that the fire of Chula is always ON and high.
  • Open the lid, add 2 to 4 cups of water in to the chicken and mix it well.  The consistency of the curry should be semi thick (Not too thick or not too watery).  Cover the Utensil with a lid and allow the chicken to cook completely.  This may take some time as chicken is being cooked on Chula.
  • After some time, open the lid and check if the chicken is cooked or not.  Once the chicken is cooked to perfection, add salt to taste, remaining garam masala powder, remaining red chili powder, 4 tsp of tamarind pulp, and mix them well.  Coven the Utensil with a lid and cook it for another 4 to 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, open the lid and add freshly chopped coriander leaves and mix it well.  Cover it with a lid. 
  • Remove the Utensil from the Chula.
  • Rustic Chicken Curry is ready to be served.  Serve hot along with Bhakri.
  • Happy Eating.