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Dhaba chicken white beans curry is a meatless version of the popular North Indian dhaba Chikin curry. The amazing cumin onion sauce works with any protein! This flavorful dish comes together in one pan in less than half an hour! Gluten-free nutfree soyfree

close-up of dipping sourdough into Dhaba chicken white beans
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In North Indian cuisine, there are a lot of these small, roadside restaurants (called Dhaba) that serve meat-based dishes called Dhaba chicken curry or Dhaba chicken masala or dhaba paneer (cheese) masala etc. These are their signature curry and vary based on the restaurant. That amazing sauce which is generally close to vegan with the spices, aromatics, onion, tomatoes or other base is fantastic with any protein or veggies. So I took that sauce, added white beans to make this delectable Dhaba chicken white beans recipe.

Dhaba comes from the word dabba which loosely translates to “lunchbox”. This style of Indian cuisine began as quick meals for truckers on their routes, but now it’s a must-stop for anyone passing by one of these little roadside stands. The food is rustic, local and just so good with all of those amazing spices and sauces.

dipping sourdough into Dhaba chicken white beans

The sauce has a deep flavor from both whole and ground spices, like cumin seeds, coriander, garam masala, and fenugreek. They combine in the tomatoey-creamy sauce to make a dish that’s absolutely addictive!

These Dhaba chicken white beans use beans instead of the meat for a vegan version of this dish that’s just as delicious! It needs just 1 Pan and few steps! You can also add in some crisped up tofu to make a super delicious weeknight meal. 

Why You’ll Love Dhaba Chicken White Beans

  • tender white beans in an amazing, fragrant sauce
  • 1-pan, 25-minute meal
  • high protein main dish
  • gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free
Dhaba chicken white beans in the pan topped with pepper flakes, cilantro, and non-dairy yogurt

Dhaba Chicken White Beans (North Indian Cumin Onion Sauce Bean Curry)

5 from 5 votes
By: Vegan Richa
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 3
Course: dinner, Main, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, north indian
Dhaba chicken white beans curry is a meatless version of the popular North Indian dhaba Chikin curry. The amazing cumin onion sauce works with any protein! This flavorful dish comes together in one pan in less than half an hour!
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Ingredients 
 

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1" cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder, or use paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala, (or use a mix of 1/2 teaspoon each ground coriander, ground cumin, and generous pinches of cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves, (Kasuri methi)
  • 2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste, or 4 cloves garlic minced , 1/2 inch ginger minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy yogurt, use soy-free and/or nut-free if needed, use non dairy cream like cashew or coconut cream as substitute
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water, or vegetable stock
  • 15 ounce can of white beans, drained,, such as butter beans, cannellini beans, or great northern beans ,drained. Or 1.5 cups cooked beans. Or use cooked lentils or crisped tofu
  • 1/4 cup frozen spinach, thawed
  • red pepper flakes, cilantro, and cashew cream or thinned out non-dairy yogurt, for garnish

Instructions 

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and cook until the cumin seeds darken significantly, and get very fragrant. This can take anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes, depending on your skillet and the stove.
  • Add in the bay leaves and cinnamon stick, and mix for a few seconds. Then, mix in the onion and the salt, and cook until the onion is golden or mostly golden, anywhere from 5 to 8 minutes. Add splashes of water in between to help the onions cook evenly and to help the conduction of heat from the pan.
  • Mix in all of the remaining spices and continue to cook for another minute.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and mix in, then add in the tomato paste and non-dairy yogurt and mix in. Bring to a boil, then mix in the salt and water. Bring to a boil again, then mix in the white beans and spinach. Cover and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, then taste and adjust salt and flavor.
  • Garnish with red pepper flakes, cilantro and a drizzle of non-dairy yogurt or other vegan cream of choice, and serve with some sourdough bread or flatbread. You can also serve this over rice or even over pasta for a fusion meal.

Video

Notes

This recipe is naturally gluten-free.
It’s soy-free, if you use soy-free non-dairy yogurt.
It’s nut-free if you use nut-free non-dairy yogurt.
Oil-free: Dry toast the cumin seeds over medium heat on a skillet until fragrant. Then add the bay leaves, cinnamon, onion and 2-3 tbsp stock. Cook until golden and continue. Add splashes of water or stock as needed for sautéing 
No onion garlic : use chopped zucchini or a mix of zucchini, celery or fennel instead of onion. Omit the garlic and add a good pinch of asafoetida (hing)  or use 1/2 tsp more fenugreek leaves. 
 
 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 287kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 0.4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 465mg, Potassium: 1020mg, Fiber: 12g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 331IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 201mg, Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this recipe? Rate and comment below!
spices, tomato paste, and other Dhaba chicken white beans ingredients in bowls on a kitchen counter

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • oil – To toast the whole spices and to sauté.
  • whole spices – Cumin seeds, bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks are the first flavor layer in this Dhaba chicken curry.
  • onion – Adds so much amazing umami flavor!
  • ground spices – Coriander, Kashmiri chili powder (or paprika), garam masala, and fenugreek leaves add the next layer of flavor to the sauce.
  • ginger garlic paste – For even more amazing flavor!
  • tomato paste – Adds umami and sweetness to the sauce.
  • non-dairy yogurt – Makes the sauce creamy. Use soy-free and/or nut-free, if needed for allergy purposes. Use non dairy cream or cashew cream as a substitute
  • water – Water or broth adds moisture to the sauce.
  • white beans – Use canned or cooked white beans, drained. You can use butter beans, cannellini beans, or great northern beans.
  • spinach – Thawed, frozen spinach adds some green veggies to this curry.
  • garnishes – Red pepper flakes, cilantro, and more non-dairy yogurt add the final layer of flavor and texture. You can use cashew cream, if you don’t have enough non-dairy yogurt left to top the dish.

💡 Tips

  • Stir frequently when roasting the whole spices, to prevent burning. The cumin seeds are ready when they have darkened significantly and start smelling amazing.
  • You want the onion nice and browned, so it has that good, roasted flavor.
  • There are so many ways to serve this! You can go traditional with roti or naan (flatbread), or rice. Or serve with toasted sourdough or you can spoon this over pasta for a fusion meal!

How to Make Dhaba white beans

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and cook until the cumin seeds darken significantly, and get very fragrant. This can take anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes, depending on your skillet and the stove. 

toasted cumin seeds in the pan

Add in the bay leaves and cinnamon stick, and mix for a few seconds. Then, mix in the onion and the salt, and cook until the onion is golden or mostly golden, anywhere from 5 to 8 minutes. Add splashes of water in between to help the onions cook evenly and to help the conduction of heat from the pan.

adding onions to the pan
cooked onions in the pan

Mix in all of the remaining spices and continue to cook for another minute. 

adding dried spices to the pan
mixing in the dried spices and onion

Add the ginger garlic paste and mix in, then add in the tomato paste and non-dairy yogurt and mix in. Bring to a boil, then mix in the salt and water. Bring to a boil again, then mix in the white beans and spinach. Cover and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, then taste and adjust salt and flavor.

adding tomato paste and non-dairy yogurt
adding white beans and spinach to the pan
mixing the beans into the sauce

Garnish with red pepper flakes, cilantro and non-dairy yogurt or other vegan cream of choice, and serve with some sourdough bread or flatbread. You can also serve this over rice or even over pasta for a fusion meal. 

Dhaba chicken white beans in the pan topped with pepper flakes, cilantro, and non-dairy yogurt

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this recipe allergy friendly?

This recipe is naturally gluten-free. It’s soy-free, if you use soy-free non-dairy yogurt. It’s nut-free if you use nut-free non-dairy yogurt.

can I make this without onion and garlic?

Yes, use chopped zucchini or a mix of zucchini or summer squash, celery or fennel, instead of onion. Omit the garlic and add a good pinch of asafoetida (hing)  or use 1/2 tsp more fenugreek leaves. 

About Richa

Hi, I'm Richa! I create flavorful plant based recipes that are inspired by my Indian upbringing, including many gluten-free, soy-free, and oil-free options.

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5 from 5 votes

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10 Comments

  1. Maïla says:

    5 stars
    This was delicious! My husband and I served it to friends two days in a row and it was a big winner!

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      Yay! Good to hear.

  2. Genie says:

    5 stars
    Just finished eating this! The recipe is a winner — husband said several times that he liked it. I did use frozen kale instead of spinach, because that’s what I had.

    I particularly liked it being quick — some days I just don’t want to spend much time cooking.

    1. Richa says:

      Yay

  3. Maneesha says:

    5 stars
    Richa, your recipes never disappoint! I just returned from vacation, and this was the first recipe I made upon my return! Total comfort food, and the flavor is amaazing!! I soaked and pressure cooked the white beans and then added them to the pan. So tasty!

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      So glad you liked it!

  4. Emily says:

    5 stars
    These beans were fantastic. I love your Indian and Indian inspired meal options. The 1 pot beans and your baked dishes are a life saver!

    1. Richa says:

      Awesome

  5. Carignan Cynthia says:

    5 stars
    I doubbled the spices. Loved it!

    1. Richa says:

      Awesome