Classic North Indian chicken curry

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By: Anjum Anand From: Market Kitchen

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This recipe is classed as easy

Rating 3.13 / 5 (1046 votes)

Prep time:
25 min
Cook time:
55 min

Anjum Anand's appetisingly fragrant spicy curry is easy to make and is excellent served as part of an Indian buffet.

Find more curry recipes


1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan. Add the cloves, cinnamon, cardamom pods and cumin seeds and fry for about 20 seconds until aromatic.

2. Add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes until golden brown, stirring often. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook stirring for 40 seconds before adding a pinch of salt and the ground spices, and stir for 15 seconds. Pour in the tomatoes and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the liquid in the pan has dried off and the oil leaves the sides of the dry masala around 10 minutes.

3. Add the chicken and brown over a medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add enough water to almost cover the chicken (about 350ml), bring to the boil and then cook over a low heat until the chicken is cooked through. The slower it cooks the better it tastes. This takes about 15 minutes for small joints and up to 25-30 minutes for larger ones. Check with a fork; once it is tender it is done.

4. Add the garam masala and coriander leaves and serve with rice or Indian flatbreads and raita or any vegetable dish.

Looking for more ideas? Take a look at our top 10 chicken curry recipes


To serve

  • rice, or Indian flatbreads
  • cucumber raita, or any vegetable dish

Tips and suggestions

To freeze the curry, leave out the garam masala and coriander leaves and instead let it cool completely once the chicken is done. Pack into freezer bags (plastic boxes are likely to stain) and freeze for no more than 3 months. The longer curry freezes, the more likely some of the spices will turn slightly bitter, and sometimes the flavour will become over-intense. This one does not have a high content of watery vegetables, so the texture should remain very good.

Defrost the curry overnight in the fridge then reheat gently in a covered pan, adding a few tablespoons of water to help it get steaming hot without drying out. Finish with the garam masala and fresh coriander as described at left.

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Latest Comment


Made mine in slow cooker, fab!

JOYL97852 JOYL97852  Posted 20 May 2014 9:11 PM

I added more spices (quantity not types of ), some fresh chilies, and a tin of tomatoes. Didn't heed the warning about adding the water but should have done as it would have been fine without. Cooked in oven for about an hour and 20 mins. Was lovely.

FionaS17251 FionaS17251  Posted 16 Feb 2014 11:05 PM

This is a good recipe. It doesn't matter if your husband's indian or whatever. Cook it, adjust it to your taste as you want....and ENJOY!

hamhock hamhock  Posted 24 May 2013 7:51 PM

Good curry but not amazing. However v easy and quick to make. Will definitely add more chilli next time.

DianaW80182 DianaW80182 Posted 02 Oct 2012 8:34 PM

For those of you who have a problem with this recipe. Do not write it off as no good. The ingredient list here is perfect for a chicken curry. I should know as my husband (Indian) prefers this recipe to his mom's curry. There are a few tips that you need however. 1. Use ghee, not oil. Ghee will add flavor. 2. You will need approx 1 tsp of salt. 2. The chicken will release enough liquid on its own to cook in, so don't dump a bunch of water in it. I actually will add just a 2-3 of tbsp of white vinegar or Chinese Cooking Liquor rather than water. This keep the chicken from sticking to the bottom, keep your spices from burning during that crucial time before the chicken starts to release liquid, and it will tenderize your meat and add the acid that will finish the dish perfectly.

With 1/2 tsp of chili you will have a rather mild curry. If your palate requires more of a bite, add a chili (plus or minus the seeds depending on how hot you like it)

I also neither debone nor skin my chicken before adding.

Try it again and enjoy

SherriV16957 SherriV16957 Posted 09 May 2012 12:39 AM

Easy to make, great taste, could do with a bit more sauce next I time make it. Don't hurry the end game, it needs to reduce slowly.

MaryP90167 MaryP90167 Posted 27 Apr 2012 9:45 PM

A fab, healthy chicken curry for once! I substituted a fresh chilli for the chilli powder, which pepped up the heat factor, but we all thoroughly enjoyed this dish. I can only think that VickiP40437 didn't allow the sauce to reduce, as ours was a very long way from being bland or watery!

Jenny PoshPaws Jenny PoshPaws Posted 07 Apr 2012 12:38 PM

Utter rubbish, this has to be one of the worst chicken curries ever, the dish was bland, watery, and the chicken lacked flavour. As an Indian, I would be so embarresed to serve this dish

VickiP40437 VickiP40437 Posted 08 Feb 2012 1:09 AM

very tasty will definately cook it again

mickF14806 mickF14806 Posted 06 Jan 2012 5:59 PM

I was just wandering wat the calories are for this meal as i am doing a project that uses this recipe

WillJ72117 WillJ72117 Posted 21 Oct 2011 2:13 PM

Very good recipe, really enjoyed this curry!

EoinR62304 EoinR62304 Posted 17 Jul 2011 12:00 AM

I think making a curry is down to personal tastes. I like ginger and garlic so I add more of that. I added more cardamom and used a tin of chopped tomatoes. I only had ground cinnamon so this was used. I then hit it with a hand held blender in the pot after adding more water. The chicken goes into the sauce so it boils rather than fries.............lid on.

StephB81497 StephB81497 Posted 15 May 2011 6:29 PM

StephB81497 StephB81497 Posted 15 May 2011 6:23 PM

Just made this curry and it was excellent. Thankyou for the recipe.

StephB81497 StephB81497 Posted 15 May 2011 6:22 PM

What a hilarious practical joke. I spent 30 quid buying the spices in this recipe in hopes of making a great home-cooked curry house style meal. I followed the directions to a "T". What resulted was a watery tomato and chicken stew with only the most subtle hint of the aromatic spices included. Utter crap. Do yourself a favor and order from your corner takeaway instead of laboring over this rubbish. You'll end up chucking it into the back garden as I did.

DavidW38132 DavidW38132 Posted 27 Mar 2011 9:25 AM

I want to make this curry for a party. 20-30 people. Can you please give me quantities for this amount of people.

lesleyF12458 lesleyF12458 Posted 27 Nov 2010 11:09 AM

Really nice - used it as part of a buffet as one of my hot dishes - it went down really well - left overs tonight for tea!

AnneP26537 AnneP26537 Posted 11 Oct 2010 2:49 PM

Delish - I erduced the chilli by half and used passata instead of actual tomatoes, but still very tasy... am looking forward to the leftovers another day!

Scottydog Scottydog Posted 30 Jul 2010 8:39 PM

Fantastic recipe! If you love Indian foood and would like to learn how to cook authentic Indian dishes, why not try an Indian cookery class in St Albans, Hertfordshire? Classes include no more that 6 people and all you need to bring is your enthusiasm and appetite as you take all the food you prepared home with you!

ssg007 ssg007 Posted 28 Jul 2010 11:18 PM

a good recipe

Asmi2091 Asmi2091 Posted 16 May 2010 1:50 AM

Sounds lovely but I am confused by the Method. where it says 'Add the chicken and brown over a medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes' - how can one brown it in a sauce? I know the sauce is dry however I still cannot see how the chicken will brown. I would assume that one browns the chicken separately, then adds it to the the sauce and then adds the water. I should also think that one could finish it off in a slow cooker for 2-3hrs on low.

DianeH48240 DianeH48240 Posted 07 Feb 2010 4:02 PM

markH95255 markH95255 Posted 07 Feb 2010 11:43 AM

A good recipe easy to make, however its not very hot so add extra chilli if you prefer it spicy

markH95255 markH95255 Posted 07 Feb 2010 11:42 AM

clean plates so I guess it was alright! I added some lentils and cauliflower too, although with hindsight the lentils were too much, but I had much less chicken and it was still plenty filling and you may need more water, I used half & half with greek yoghurt. Yummy!

Scottydog Scottydog Posted 13 Dec 2009 10:54 PM

this recipe is fantastic, I have made it over and over again and it is still fab.

lynneC22867 lynneC22867 Posted 04 Jul 2009 6:40 PM

on number 3 after you have brought it to boil then you cook on low heat, ITS BEST THEN TO HAVE THE LID ON. As the curry will be dry once the water evaporates if the lid is off.

Sumela Sumela Posted 13 Jun 2009 9:48 PM

lid off is best

marie 26 marie 26 Posted 07 Mar 2009 5:08 PM

This is a nice dish BUT does one cook it with the lid on? off? not quite closed? what? Please do tell us. Thanks

DavidF50354 DavidF50354 Posted 05 Oct 2008 9:32 PM