Classic North Indian chicken curry

Serve this appetisingly fragrant, easy to make curry as part of an Indian buffet.
By Anjum Anand
Classic North Indian chicken curry
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 3-4
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 sticks cinnamon
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small-medium onion, chopped
  • 1½ tbsp chopped ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tomatoes, puréed
  • 450 g small chicken, or poussin, bone-in, skinned and jointed
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 handful coriander leaves

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.


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

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