Chicken Bukhara For The Soul: A Delicious Slice Of Kashmir At Home

Chicken Bukhara For The Soul: A Delicious Slice Of Kashmir At Home
(L) Archana's Kitchen ; Patrika (R)

Among other things, the food of Kashmir receives little to no recognition. While we all know about the region’s stunning views and unreal serenity, its food is one aspect that often goes unfairly unnoticed. Meeting at the intersection of fragrant and spicy, the food makes you want to wrap yourself in a razaai and savour each bite.

Of my father’s many kitchen shenanigans, one that peaked success was the Chicken Bukhara – a tangy chicken curry whose flavour is enhanced by the Aloo Bukhara, a type of dry plum. Commonly held food rules might lead you to believe that plums do not belong in a chicken curry and I agreed with this until I tasted the dish. The Kashmiri Bukhara imparts an inexplicable layer of complexity to the curry, elevating it exponentially.

To double down on my somewhat controversial thought of ‘Chicken Bukhara beats Butter Chicken’, here is the recipe for my father’s rendition of the dish.

I can only apologise for the loose measurements. Blame it on Indian parents and their habit of swaad anusaar’ (according to preferred taste).


  • Chicken - 1 kg
  • Hung curd - 1/2-3/4 cup
  • 2 chopped onions
  • Tomato puree - 200 ml
  • Ginger-garlic paste - 2-4 tbsp
  • Almond and cashew paste - 1-2 tbsp
  • Aloo Bukhara (Dried plums) - 7-8
  • Oil - 1/4 cup
  • Tandoori masala - 1-2 tbsp
  • Corn flour - 1 tbsp
  • Black Pepper - 1-2 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1 tsp
  • Homemade Garam Masala - 1-2 tbsp
  • Red chilli powder - 1-2 tsp
  • Kashmiri chilli powder - 1-2 tsp
  • Salt - as per taste
  • Water - as per requirement
  1. Marinate the chicken in the ginger-garlic paste, enough hung curd to coat it, salt, tandoori masala, and cornflour. Leave it covered for the better part of 3 hours.
  2. Patiently fry the chopped onions in oil. Wait for them to soften and turn translucent-brown.
  3. Add the ginger-garlic paste, incorporate it, and fry it till you smell no signs of raw paste.
  4. It’s now time to add the spices - red chilli powder, Kashmiri chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric, pepper, and salt. Let all of this cook all the way through.
  5. Now add the tomato puree and allow it to cook completely.
  6. Here is where the dish starts to take shape – add in the remaining hung curd, almond and cashew puree, and the Aloo Bukhara.
  7. While this stews, fry up the chicken in a separate pan on the side.
  8. Transfer this semi-cooked chicken to the paste, and add a cup of water. Cover it with the lid till your chicken is cooked all the way through.

We devoured the chicken along with some homemade naan, but you may of course choose a side of your liking.

Chicken Bukhara was a lovely window into Kashmiri cuisine, one that is now urging us to tackle some more complex dishes from the region.

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