By Big Green Egg

A Bengali curry from the new Big Green Egg Feasts cookbook by the legendary Tim Hayward, which celebrates and elevates the experience of communal eating

  • Curry
  • Family


Bhuna is a Bengali dish created by effectively frying spices in oil to create a flavouring paste in which the meat is then also fried or, you could argue, possibly braised – it’s important that the eventual cooking temperature is less than is usually required for pure frying. Remember to burp your EGG when opening at high temperatures and cook with the dome closed.


It’s a good idea to get your butcher to spatchcock the chicken, or you can leave it whole, but whatever you do, be sure to slash through the legs to the bone. This speeds the cooking and lets the marinade penetrate. Mix the chicken with the marinade spices (tandoori blend powder, Kashmiri chilli powder, toasted ground coriander and cumin, and ground turmeric and fennel), the yoghurt and ½ teaspoon each of salt and black pepper in a dish and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, in your preheated EGG set up to cook directly, fry the onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon of the ghee or oil in a large cast-iron skillet/pan for 5 minutes until softened, then remove from the heat and blend with ½ teaspoon of salt, the garam masala, ground cumin and ground ginger until you have a smooth paste. Add a splash of water, if necessary.

Fry the whole spices, chillies and bay leaves in the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee or oil in a wide cast-iron pan for 1 minute until aromatic, then add the onion paste and cook for 5–10 minutes or until all the water has evaporated from the paste and it is beginning to brown on the bottom of the pan.

Add the tamarind paste and tomato pure and cook for 1 minute, then add 300ml water, close the dome and bring to the boil, then remove from the EGG. With heatproof gloves or EGG mitts, change the EGG’s set-up from direct to indirect. Once you have reached your target temperature, bake the whole marinated chicken for 40–50 minutes on the grill, with the dome closed, until just about cooked through and nicely coloured.

Add the chicken to the sauce and cook, uncovered, for a further 20–30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is rich and thick. Keep topping up the pan with water to keep a useful amount of sauce. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the pan to a plate to rest, then stir the tomato wedges into the curry sauce and cook for 5 minutes with the dome closed, adding a splash of water if you feel you need to. Return the chicken to the curry sauce and serve topped with the sliced green chillies and the teaspoon of garam masala.

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