Perfect Chicken Curry

 A bold title, don’t you think? 

Think I’m right though.  

The red pepper is optional but the freshly ground spices aren’t.


Perfect Chicken Curry (Based on an Atul Kotchhar recipe in The Observer Food Monthly – February 2009)

(Serves 2)

1 tblspn ghee or vegetable oil

3 cardamom pods, seeds removed and shells discarded

1/2 cinnamon stick

2 cloves

1 tspn cumin seed

1/2 tspn black peppercorns

2 onions

1 red pepper, cut into chunks (optional – I just wanted some extra veg)

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 tspn chilli powder

1 tpsn coriander powder

1/2 tspn turmeric


400g tin of chopped tomatoes

400g boned chicken thighs, cut into chunks

1/2 tspn garam masala

Coriander leaves and yogurt to serve

  • Use a mortar and pestle to grind the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and cumin to a coarse powder.  Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed pan over a medium high heat and add the ground spices.  Fry for a minute until beginning to darken.
  • Add the onions and cook until soft and coloured.
  • Add the garlic and powdered spices (not the garam masala though) and cook for another two minutes stirring continuously.
  • Add the tomatoes (and red pepper, if using), stir well then season carefully.  Cook over a low heat for 15 minutes stirring frequently.
  • Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat well in the sauce.  Cook with the lid on over a medium low heat for another 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through. 
  • Stir through the garam masala at the end of the cooking time. 
  • Can be served topped with yogurt and coriander. 

12 thoughts on “Perfect Chicken Curry

  1. That curry sounds delicious and not too complicated ….I must try it this weekend . Meanwhile your basil oil will certainly be eaten tomorrow , maybe with chopped cherry tomatoes and pasta .

  2. I’ve just started getting into Indian food and this looks great; and very accessible. I find that the picky eater in my house doesn’t do well with unusual spice combinations.

  3. Wendy you are a star for posting this in time for the Egyptian weekend. I have people coming for dinner on Thursday night and this will be perfect. Thank you so much for doing this one before the malt loaf, although I’m looking forward to it too!

  4. I’m always on the look out for a good chicken curry recipe and this one sounds just right to me. I’d add the red pepper too – I love extra veggies in my curries even if they aren’t ‘authentic’. I’ve lost my pestle and mortar and desperately need a new one – this may be the perfect excuse!

  5. Sounds like a good curry, especially since you ground your own spices. When I first tried sweet spices like cinnamon in curry I was suspicious, but I’m converted now. I like the way you’ve added extra veggies too.

  6. Smitoniusandsonata – Oh good. Enjoy!

    Maninas – Have always been able to make nice ones with veggies or red meat but this is the first chicken curry I’ve made that I’ve been crazy about.

    Tony – I bought the garam masala. The best one I’ve tasted came from an Indian food store but I don’t remember the name of it. Only problem with it was that the tub was huge and the spice went stale before I could use even a quarter of it!

    Elizabeth – It’s funny, Indian food is so normal in the UK that I forget it’s not commonly eaten in other countries!

    Sylvie – Thank you!

    Shona – Oooh, tell me how it goes!

    Chelsea – It does make the kitchen smell lovely. 🙂

    Christina – I had one of those nights last night. Knew what I wanted to eat but was faced with a pile of leftovers than I couldn’t let go to waste. :-S

    Antonia – You’ve lost it? Not sure why I find this so amusing but I do. 🙂

    Abby – I’m pretty confident. 🙂

    Arwen – Thank you! The ground spices really do make it.

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