Saira Hamilton’s Chicken Bhuna

Saira Hamilton's Chicken Bhuna

This is a long awaited for me, Saira who has given me this recipe was a runner up on 2013 Masterchef. When I first thought about writing and creating Wheelie Good Meals I tweeted it to some celebrity chef’s all were very supportive but Saira was one of the few that gave me real support and feedback. Along with Jo (Pratt) Saira has been a sounding board for ideas, suggestions worries and has even provided me with this recipe.

I’m very lucky, as you know I’ve met lots of great people through the internet and Saira I’m pleased to say is one of them. Well that’s the mushy stuff over with on to business.

Some Ingredients for Saira Hamilton's Chicken Bhuna
Some Ingredients for Saira Hamilton’s Chicken Bhuna

Above are the majority of the ingredients, I also used 400ml water and 1 heaped tablespoon natural yoghurt. I’ve had this recipe for some time and was waiting for the youtube channel to go live before I made it, but what the heck I thought, let’s do it now. I’d never tried a Bhuna and was really looking forward to it, what I wasn’t looking forward to was my father moaning about the smell of curry through the house. I can say that on here because there’s no chance of him reading it 😉 (note to self be nice to Heather to make sure she doesn’t say anything 😀 )

This is a great recipe and I thoroughly enjoyed cooking it, as you know from one of my early posts, I’m not one to rush… built for comfort not for speed, that’s me 🙂 ! This recipe really appeals to me because it’s quite a slow process. Don’t get me wrong it isn’t an all-dayer but you’re looking at maybe an hour, depending how patient you are. This is a new concept to my mother because she tends to cook everything quickly, I don’t think she’d be offended by me saying that because that’s what comes from having to get dinner on the table in a hurry in all fairness.

The first tip I’d give anyone (well it’s Saira’s tip actually lol is to use plenty of onions.  She said this about the onions:

You still need quite a lot of onion because that will make the bulk of your sauce

Saira also said it was important to cook them for a long time.

Browned Onions with the Whole Spices For Saira Hamilton's Chicken Bhuna
Browned Onions with the Whole Spices For Saira Hamilton’s Chicken Bhuna

While the onions are cooking to prepare the whole spices – looking back at it I actually prepared everything first off, yep you know me like tog et it all organised (stops me getting confused)! When you are cooking the onions cook them on a medium heat for at least 10-15 minutes over a medium heat until they are a bronzed brown. It is important to stick with this so that the sauce isn’t pale and insipid – I think I probably could have gone a bit longer when I was cooking it. As you can see from the picture above I added the whole spices, but kept them whole. I did this for a reason, after I’d finished cooking (before I added the yoghurt) I took them out, I’d have had difficulty eating them so thought it was best to remove them. I’ve never cooked with bay leaves before (I know my Aunty Doris would have a fit, she can’t stand them) but I thought they gave a good addition to the curry and they were very fragrant when cooking.

The Chicken before being sealed in Saira Hamilton's Chicken Bhuna
The Chicken before being sealed in Saira Hamilton’s Chicken Bhuna

After adding the ground spices and allowing them to cook I added water, incidentally I added 400ml of water because I like a lot of sauce, the original adaptation of the recipe said 200ml. With the heat on high I added the chicken, turning them over for at least a few minutes so they could sealed all over.  I’ve used chicken breast but the original recipe called for chicken thigh fillets, I checked with Saira and she said:

be careful to seal the pieces on a high heat (in the curry paste) for long enough before you reduce the heat which will help keep the pieces moist and juicy.

Saira Hamilton's Chicken Bhuna cooking away nicely
Saira Hamilton’s Chicken Bhuna cooking away nicely

Once the chicken has sealed, reduce the heat to a healthy simmer and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally stir in the yoghurt, and the curry is ready to eat.

I served mine with some boiled rice, this was quick and easy and cooked in its packet in the microwave. Garnish with chopped coriander (or in this case parsley) and, if you have some, a few finely sliced chillies and serve.

Saira Hamilton's Chicken Bhuna presented with boiled rice and a sprinkle of Parsley
Saira Hamilton’s Chicken Bhuna presented with boiled rice and a sprinkle of Parsley

Thanks to Saira for this recipe and massive thanks as always to Greg, Chris, Ben, Alice, Hayleigh, my Mother, Heather, Jo, Saira, Stephen Terry and anyone I might have missed for their help and support

As always you can download our step-by-step recipe from the link here. If you have any questions or ideas you’d like to ask about please feel free to get in touch by emailing  Come back again soon and, together, we’ll make more Wheelie Good Meals!

See you soon 🙂

Rich signature
Tasty Tuesdays on


    • Thanks Vick, It’s so quick and easy, the more onions you have the better. Thanks for hosting #TastyTuesday, had some good feedback from this week’s linky 😀

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