Easy and comforting Chicken Curry that doesn't demand too much of your time! It's not complicated at all but will still remind you of your favourite Punjabi dhaba! This is the perfect homestyle chicken curry for all you beginners!
Craving a good chicken curry? But too lazy to get into the long-drawn process of making it? Here's my quick fix chicken curry! It's an easy, everyday comforting home style chicken curry that tastes phenomenal despite all the shortcuts I’ve used.
This curry is weeknight dinner goals for sure because it doesn't take too long to make. It's super basic and simpler than Dhaba Style Chicken Curry because we are using store bought meat masala today. There aren't many technical points that you have to pay attention to either! And though I’ve done some quick fixes in this recipe, I’ve not compromised on the flavours at all!
What Cut Of Chicken Should I Use?
I've used curry cuts of chicken. You can do this at home if you're familiar with how it's done, or you could even use store bought curry cut. I've used small to medium sized pieces with the bone in, so that the chicken pieces don't dry out when cooked.
Marinade For Chicken
This is a super basic yoghurt-based marinade. The yoghurt acts as a meat tenderizer. And the turmeric and salt are for colour and seasoning. This three-ingredient marinade works really well for a simple chicken curry. The chicken doesn't need to marinate for long, around 15-20 minutes will do. I suggest that you do this step first, so that the chicken can marinate while you get everything else together.
Ground Pastes - No Chopping Required
I’m not going to ask you to chop anything (except a little coriander in the end). All you have to do is peel and dump the ingredients into a mixie. Let it do all the work!
- Onion Ginger Garlic Paste
This is a rough and coarse paste that goes in right at the beginning. Grind it separately and keep aside. This forms the base for our delicious chicken curry, and we want to turn this into a caramelised golden brown colour when cooked
- Tomato Puree
Pureed tomatoes is what adds body to this chicken curry. Let the puree be rough or coarse.
Whole Spices You Must Add
Whether it's Chicken Biryani or Curry, Indian food is never complete without whole spices added to the mix. My mum has a spice box filled with all sorts of fragrant spices which are used in different combinations depending on the dish. In this homemade chicken curry, we used bay leaves, cumin seeds, cloves and cardamom. This dish doesn't have many components, and it's these spices that bring the dish to life with their aroma.
How To Make Chicken Curry - Steps
- Marinate the chicken
- Grind the two pastes separately
- Toast the whole spices, and then add the ground pastes
- Flavour with meat masala and coriander powder
- Dry roast chicken with the masala
- Add water, allow it to simmer and serve!
Things To Keep In Mind
Don't stress, this is not at all a technical recipe. But here are a few things you need to look out for!
- Use a heavy bottomed kadai so the components don't stick to the bottom. If you notice them sticking or burning, stir vigorously until it's free. You can also add a splash of water to loosen any bits sticking to the pan.
- Lightly sauté the whole spices in hot oil till you start smelling their sweetness
- The onion garlic ginger paste should turn light brown and should not smell raw
- Add a pinch of sugar to the tomato puree, this will help cut the tang and balance the flavours
- Dry roasting the chicken first along with the meat masala is important! This helps lock in the flavours of the chicken
- Finally, the chicken pieces, if cut small, need about 30 minutes to cook. If the pieces are really big, add another 10 minutes to the cooking time
Garnish this chicken curry with lots of chopped coriander leaves - this adds lots of flavour right at the end!
Serve it piping hot with Soft Rotis or Jeera Rice!
More Indian Main Course Dishes
- Vegetable Korma
- Chicken Kori Rotti
- Goan Prawn Curry
- Thai Chicken Curry
- Butter Chicken Masala
- South Indian Egg Curry
- Slow Cooker Lamb Curry
Watch the Video
Easy Chicken Curry for Beginners
- 1 kg Chicken skinless, bone-in, curry cut (cut into 1.5 inch pieces)
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- ½ cup Curd/Yogurt
- 3 Onions roughly diced
- 8-10 Garlic Cloves peeled
- 1 inch Ginger
- 4 Tomatoes roughly diced
- 3 tablespoon Oil
- 1 teaspoon Jeera
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 Cardamom Pods
- 2 tablespoon Meat Masala
- 1 tablespoon Coriander Powder
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 2 teaspoon Kashmiri Chilli Powder
- 1.5 teaspoon Salt divided
- 1-1.5 cups Water
- 2-3 Green Chillies
- ¼ cup Coriander finely chopped
- Marinate chicken in curd, turmeric and salt while you get everything ready - about 15-20 minutes is enough
- Grind together onions, ginger and garlic to a rough puree and set aside. Grind tomatoes also to a rough puree and set aside
- In a kadhai or deep bottom pan, heat oil and add jeera, bayleaf, cloves and cardamom.
- Once the jeers starts spluttering, add the onion paste and cook for about 12 minutes stirring every few minutes to ensure the paste doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn. The onion paste should become a light brown in colour
- Add tomato puree, meat masala, coriander powder and chilli powder and mix. Cook this for 3-4 minutes till you can see a little oil separating on the sides and top.
- Add chicken and dry roast it in the masala for a minute or two
- Add water and mix well. Bring to a boil and then lower the flame and cook this covered for 30-35 minutes till the chicken is tender.
- Add lots of chopped coriander - this adds a lot of flavour. Curry is ready!
- Do not skip the curd chicken marinade. The curd marinade tenderises the meat gently and effectively as compared to acidic marinades like lemon or vinegar which toughens the meat.
- Grind onions, ginger and garlic as well as tomato to a rough blend, do not make it a smooth puree. This is necessary as these ingredients continue to break down while cooking. Keeping it a rough blend will also provide the gravy like texture required for the dish.
- Cook the onion paste till it turns light brown in colour. Remember to stir frequently as it can easily stick to the bottom and burn. Once it turns light brown in colour, the raw aroma also goes away.
- Cook the tomatoes until the oil separates i.e., there is a thin layer of oil on top. The oil separating is an indicator that the spices have combined and are cooked through. It also indicated that the excess moisture has evaporated.
- Do not skimp on the coriander - it really elevates the flavour of the dish!
B Desouza says
Chicken curry looks amazing but taste varies on which meat curry Masala you have used.Madam, Please share the Meat Masala brand.
I generally use Everest meat masala
Geetanjali Chitnis says
This was an excellent recipe! Browning the onions for a while made such a difference to the taste. Definitely going to make this often.
Hema Bhakuni says
I tried it. Came out very bad. Yogurt got separated and it was too sour. And it was not easy also.
Megha Agarwal says
Hi Richa. The recipe looks really good. I am going to try it soon. I just wanted to ask if we can cook this in a cooker instead of kadhai. And if yes, how many whistle does the chicken requires to cook properly ?
Hey Megha! A cooker will work great. Start by pressure cooking on high. After the first whistle, reduce the heat to low and cook for another two whistles.
Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe
My chicken would always shred. Tried various ways. But this recepie is super good n so easy to make. Not loaded heavy with masalas.
Best chicken recipe. Not an expert cook, but this recipe came out perfectly with ease.
Fantastic!! So glad you liked it
thank you, definitely a beginner in any curry recipe, and good tips too, much appreciated
vinod shreni says
Can you please explain what Meat Masala is? Not familiar with the term in Australia (or maybe just me). Thank you.
Hey Beth, meat masala is a blend of spices - like a spice mix, but specially for meat based curries. Indian stores should carry it.