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Indian-style Braised Chicken

Indian-style Braised Chicken

Indian-Style Braised Chicken: A Culinary Tradition in Your Backyard BBQ

Immerse yourself in the deep, rich flavors of India with an exquisite Indian-style braised chicken recipe, thoughtfully prepared in a Romertopf clay dutch oven. This dish is not merely food; it's an experience, a journey through time and culture, marrying ancient cooking techniques with the vibrant, aromatic spices of India. Whether you're a seasoned chef or a curious food enthusiast, this recipe will elevate your BBQ to an extraordinary culinary event.

The Cultural Tapestry of Braised Chicken

The technique of braising chicken has a storied past, tracing back to ancient culinary traditions. The term "braise" comes from the French "braiser," reflecting a cooking method that combines dry and wet heats to transform ingredients into tender, flavorful dishes. While braising is a global technique, its application in Indian cuisine during the British colonial period infused it with local flavors and ingredients, creating a distinctive culinary tradition that continues to thrive in India's vibrant food scene.

The Role of the Romertopf

The Romertopf, a German innovation, is celebrated for its ability to cook food gently, preserving nutrients and enhancing natural flavors. When used to prepare Indian-style braised chicken, the Romertopf acts as more than just cookware; it's a vessel that intertwines various flavors and textures, producing a dish that's profoundly satisfying. This clay dutch oven is perfect for backyard BBQs, offering a unique way to introduce guests to the wonders of Indian cuisine.


To bring this magnificent dish to life, you'll need the following ingredients, each playing a vital role in creating a harmony of flavors:

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces, to serve as the protein-rich canvas for your spices.
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, providing the necessary fat to sauté and release the aromatic compounds of your spices.
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped, serving as a base note for the dish's flavor profile.
  • 4 cloves of garlic and 1 inch of ginger, minced, introducing a pungent depth and warmth.
  • A blend of ground spices – cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper – each contributing its unique character and health benefits.
  • 1 cup of chicken broth and 1 cup of coconut milk, creating a luscious, comforting sauce.
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and 1 tablespoon each of honey and apple cider vinegar, balancing the sauce with sweetness and acidity.
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish, adding a burst of color and freshness.


  1. Clay Dutch Oven Preparation: Begin by igniting your charcoal, setting the stage for an authentic BBQ experience. Preheat your grill and Romertopf to medium-high heat, around 375°F to 400°F.
  2. Foundation of Flavors: In the Romertopf, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, cooking them until they soften and their fragrances bloom, laying a flavorful foundation.
  3. Spice Symphony: 

    Stir in the aromatic spices – cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper – into the Romertopf. Allow them to toast slightly, awakening their essential oils and imbuing the dish with their rich flavors.
  4. Sauce Alchemy: 

    Pour in the chicken broth and coconut milk, then add the tomato paste, honey, and apple cider vinegar. This medley creates a sauce that's both complex and comforting, simmering it gently to marry the flavors.
  5. Grilling Mastery: 

    While the sauce simmers, grill the chicken pieces until they achieve a perfect char. This step introduces a smoky nuance that complements the sauce's depth.
  6. Braising Journey: 

    Transfer the grilled chicken into the simmering sauce in the Romertopf. Cover it and let the ensemble braise, allowing the chicken to absorb the flavors and tenderize.
  7. Culinary Finale: 

    Once the chicken is tender, unveil your creation, garnishing it with fresh cilantro. The vibrant green not only adds a visual pop but also a fresh flavor contrast.

    Serving and Enjoyment:

    • This dish is best served hot, accompanied by steaming basmati rice or warm naan, allowing the sauce to be fully appreciated.
    • Consider pairing with a side of cool cucumber raita or a crisp kachumber salad to balance the richness.
    • Don't forget to share the story of the dish's cultural and historical significance, adding a layer of depth to the dining experience.

    Tips for Perfect Braising in a Romertopf:

    • Temperature Control: Ensure your grill maintains a steady temperature, as fluctuations can affect the braising process.
    • Romertopf Preparation: Soak the Romertopf in water before use to maximize its moisture retention capabilities.
    • Spice Adjustments: Feel free to tweak the spice blend to cater to your palate, perhaps introducing a touch of heat with red chili powder or the smokiness of paprika.
    • Sauce Consistency: Adjust the sauce's thickness to your liking, adding broth for a thinner consistency or simmering longer for a thicker sauce.


    Creating Indian-style braised chicken in a Romertopf clay dutch oven is more than cooking; it's an act of cultural homage, a nod to the confluence of traditions that shape our global culinary landscape. As you savor each bite, remember the journey of braising, from ancient Rome to colonial India, and now to your backyard BBQ, where you continue the tradition, adding your chapter to this flavorful narrative.

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