garlic chilli chicken – indian restaurant style

Garlic chilli chicken is a serious curry. Big tastes. This isn’t a curry for the faint of palate. If butter chicken is your favourite maybe this isn’t the right recipe for you.

If you love a madras though. Or a jalfrezi. Then garlic chilli chicken just might be your new favourite. If garlic and green chilies are your jam, read on.

This is one of those curries that are really big in the UK. And not so big anywhere else. I don’t know why that is. It’s a shame. Garlic chilli chicken is tasty stuff. One of the best curries you’ve never heard of.

My guess is because it doesn’t seem to trace its roots back to a traditional Indian dish. I can’t find reference to it anywhere outside the UK. Doesn’t matter though. I know. And now so do you.

Garlic chilli chicken in a carbon steel bowl from above.

Garlic is the backbone of garlic chilli chicken

There’s a lot of garlic in this dish. There’s sliced garlic. And garlic ginger paste. And garlic pickle.

The fresh garlic flavours the oil as it cooks. It mellows as it cooks. Winds up being these little garlic flavour bombs.

Garlic ginger paste is bright and assertive. If you cook any Indian recipes on glebekitchen you should know it well.

Garlic pickle is earthy. Spicy. Salty. It adds a whole different dimension.

It’s the triple crown of garlic. Don’t eat this if your date doesn’t. It won’t go well for you. No joke.

Closeup of a spoonful of garlic chilli chicken curry from the front.

Get your garlic pickle at your local Indian grocer

You can make garlic pickle if you like. I really should have a recipe posted for it. But I don’t. Not yet anyway. Sorry.

It takes time to make. Like a week. So you really need to plan ahead. Or you can just go to your Indian grocer and pick one of the many types they stock. I suppose you have to plan that too. But not for a week. Unless you are really busy.

Buying it is easy. And I like the stuff in the jar. I don’t say that often. But in this case it’s true.

Don’t start buying garlic ginger paste in a jar though. That stuff is still terrible. Ground up wet cardboard. Curry destroyer in jar. Can you tell I’m not a fan?

Green chilies add bite

Garlic chilli chicken is a spicy dish. Hot even. Not crazy spicy. But spicy. And you can’t really do much about it.

There’s a nice balanced heat from the kashmiri chili powder. It’s pretty mild as far as Indian chili powders go. But it still has some kick.

The garlic pickle comes packing some pretty good heat too. At least the brands I get around here.

The bright flavour of the green chilies that make it what it is. You can’t not add green chilies to this dish. It just wouldn’t be right. Not when it has chilli in the name.

You can roll back on the kashmiri chili powder some. And try to find a milder garlic pickle.

And you can seed the chilies. I almost always do that. The big fire is the membrane inside the chilies. Take that out and you cut the heat.

I love the taste of green chilies. So I always want to add more. Removing the membrane is how I keep the heat down and still get my green chili fix.

Garlic from everywhere. Chili from everywhere. And Indian restaurant technique. There’s a lot here to love.

If it sounds like something you’d like, give it a go. Let’s get the secret of garlic chilli chicken out to the rest of the world!

Garlic chilli chicken table scene with parathas, rice, chana and saag aloo from above.
Carbon steel bowl full of garlic chilli chicken from the front - rice and chana in the background.
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4.98 from 38 votes

garlic chilli chicken

Garlic chilli chicken is all about garlic, green chilies and Indian spices wrapped up in luscious sauce
Course Main
Cuisine Indian
Keyword garlic chilli chicken
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Pre-cook the chicken 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 433kcal
Author romain | glebekitchen


Pre-cook the chicken

  • 12 oz chicken thighs or breasts cut into large bite size pieces
  • 2 tsp curry powder or Indian restaurant spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups chicken stock

Spice mix

  • 1 tsp kasoor methi
  • 2 tsp Indian restaurant spice mix powder – recipe link below
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Restaurant garlic chilli chicken

  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 2" cinnamon bark – also called cassia
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced finely
  • 2 green chilies halved, seeded and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 2 tsp garlic ginger paste – recipe link below
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste diluted in 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro leaves and stems – finely minced
  • 15 oz curry base – recipe link below
  • 1-2 tsp garlic pickle – available at Indian grocers
  • 3-4 cherry tomatoes cut in half


Pre-cook the chicken

  • Combine the cut up chicken, curry or mix powder, salt and enough no-sodium chicken stock to cover the chicken in a sauce pan. If you are using chicken stock with sodium taste it out of the container. You want the liquid right on the edge of too salty. If it isn't there add a bit of salt.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Give the chicken a bit of a stir. You don't want pieces clumping up, preventing things from cooking evenly. Cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of around 150F for white meat or 160F for dark meat. It will finish cooking in the final curry.

garlic chilli chicken

  • Combine the Indian restaurant spice mix, kasoor methi, kashmiri chili powder and salt in a small bowl. This is your spice mix.
  • Cut up the chilies and tomatoes.
  • Dilute the tomato paste with enough water to get to the consistency of passata.
  • Heat your frying pan (don’t use non-stick) briefly over medium heat. Add 3 Tbsp vegetable oil. Use all the oil specified. It’s important.
  • When the oil starts to shimmer add the cinnamon bark and green cardamom. Cook until you see little bubbles form around the whole spices.
  • Add the garlic and green chilies and cook until the garlic just starts to turn golden.
  • Add the garlic ginger paste. Cook it, stirring constantly, until it stops sputtering.
  • Turn down the heat to medium low and add the spice mix you prepared above. This is a critical step so really pay attention here. Stir it constantly for about 30 seconds. If it starts to darken lift the pan off the heat. You want the spice mix to cook in the oil but not burn.
  • Turn the heat up to medium high. Add the diluted tomato paste and stir until bubbles form (the oil will likely separate). This takes around 30 seconds to one minute depending on the heat.
  • Add the cilantro leaves and stems. Cook for around 15-20 seconds.
  • Add 3 oz of curry base. Stir until bubbles form (little craters really), around 30 seconds. Watch the edges of the pan. The curry can stick here.
  • Now add 6 oz of curry base and stir briefly. Let it cook until the bubbles form again. This takes 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the rest of the curry base and let cook until the bubbles form again. Turn the heat down to low, add the garlic pickle and then the pre-cooked chicken.
  • Let the curry simmer for about 5 minutes. If it gets too thick add a bit more curry base. Don’t add water.
  • Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are just warmed through. Garnish with a bit of chopped fresh coriander if you like and serve.


Here’s how to make curry base.
This is my Indian restaurant spice mix
The recipe for garlic ginger paste is here.
If you haven’t read about Indian restaurant technique yet, do that before you start cooking.
Have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go.
If you are just making one restaurant style curry you can just warm up the curry base in the microwave. If you are cooking up a storm think about heating it up in a sauce pan. 


Serving: 2servings | Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 1742mg | Potassium: 835mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 543IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 3mg

81 thoughts on “garlic chilli chicken – indian restaurant style”

  1. 5 stars
    Amazing! Thank you so much. I have tried for many many years to make a curry as good as this. I have finally succeeded.

  2. 5 stars
    Legendary ! Never thought I’d ever crack that restaurant style curry. You’ve nailed it completely! Exceeded our expectations. Thank you

    • Drain and add the chicken. I actually love the salty, curry chicken flavours in the leftover stock so I’ve been known to just have a bit as a hot drink/clear soup. Not good for anyone’s blood pressure but very tasty.

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Romain, I made this one with some leftover curry base from Sunday’s family celebration. Just for the kids as my wife is traveling. Instant classic! Really love how the three garlic flavors come together! Unfortunately the kids again finished most of it before I got my share. Paradoxically, cooking Glebe turns out to be great way of dieting for me 😉

  4. 5 stars
    As soon as I read the recipe (this was my first encounter with the website!) I knew this was going to be a winner. Made a sixfold batch straight away and didn’t regret it at all. Froze and defrosted perfectly as well. Giving it to my in-laws and a friend for dinner this week after raving about it, then will need to cook another batch. Was also really satisfying to make, a busy, incremental flavour-building process.

    Really incredible work you do here, Romain! Will be trying more of your recipes soon. Are there any others that you’re particularly proud of?

    • I try to make all the recipes the absolute best I can so have a look around and pick what you like. If you want to up your curry game eventually maybe have a look at the Indian hotel style section. Even more flavour!

  5. 5 stars
    Dear Romain,
    that’s a while ago! In the meantime I cooked many of our favorite dishes 
from glebekitchen, too many to list here now! At the moment we are on holidays 
in Germany and we have time, so…I cooked a restaurant style dish tonight.
 I made the curry base and ginger garlic paste some days ago, enough for future plans!
    I made this curry In three batches for the whole family including grandma.
    Because I learned to better make three batches than all at once. It was so delicious! A cast iron pan which was perfect, indeed better than non-stick. Green chillies and also some
 red chillies worked well. Pre-cooking the chicken always works, and I did all my preps well. I used Patak’s Garlic Pickle which we all like a lot, especially with papadums. And in this curry it is amazing as well. The restaurant spice mix is perfect, blooming the spices stays amazing! It is of course the cooking technique which matters, not just the composition of ingredients. And it is fantastic that you succeed in communicating this very well! The whole family enjoyed this dish, we love it! When I said: “This is the best curry ever!” my son replied: “You say this all the time with glebekitchen!”. He is correct! And it is so amazing to play with the ingredients, I start to discover the parameters: varying different components to get a certain result. Just as you say in the video: it is not chemistry class. We are cooking to taste,
and tasting to cook, isn’t it? Alongside we had an Austrian Blauer Zweigelt which matched perfectly. In the name of our family, including grandma: Thank you so much for another fantastic dinner! Regards, Daniel.

    • You say “This is the best curry ever” and I say “this is the best comment ever”. Delighted to hear from you as always:-). Enjoy Germany! I am long overdue for a schäufele mit klöße (one of my favourite meals in the whole world).

    • Schäufele! That is the speciality from my birth town Nuremberg.
      And indeed it is so yummy, I ate it many times there. Did you also try
      the Rauchbier with it? It is smoked beer from Bamberg, also called Schlenkerla.
      These are great Franconian delights!

    • One of my favourite restaurants in the whole world (I am very serious when I say this) is just near the Nuremberg Bahnhof. I go to Schäufelewärtschaft every time I am in town.

      I have not developed a taste for smoked beer but a more conventional beer and a schäufele in the little biergarten behind the restaurant is my idea of heaven.

  6. 5 stars
    Okay I shall be brutally honest with this one. Husband and daughter loved it, I wasn’t so keen. And I told them it would be one I would not make often. But…oh yes there is often a but….there was a small bowlful left over which I popped in the fridge overnight. Next day I was very busy, too busy to make lunch. Anyway I opened fridge to see what I could eat quickly and there staring at me was that little bowl of curry. I grabbed it firmly between both hands and stuck it in the microwave with a warning to it that I hoped it had improved itself overnight! Well now, like any good beef stew which is always best left overnight before eaten to let the flavours really soak in and settle…the little bowl of curry had come good….it was delicious….so now if I cook this it will be left overnight to blossom and show its true flavours!

    • I wonder why you liked it better the next day but I’m happy that you did.

      The garlic pickle is a strong taste. Perhaps it mellows out overnight?

  7. Thanks for your reply:) & I realize now that it’s best to keep the Indian Restaurant & the Indian Hotel Curries separate, you’re right.
    -there’s a world of difference! I hope one day you will be able to publish a book -you are a Very good teacher. Meanwhile in the coming weeks/months I will attempt to make the remainder of your Indian Restaurant Style.. -Then onto the Indian Hotel Style😋
    Stay Safe you & yours. Catch you later😊

  8. As a previous commenter said -you need to write a book, Romain, I would also purchase it in a heart beat! I’ve made this x3 times & the first made it a bit thin, the second better, & the third better still:) Soo happy! Also, Is it possible to use the curry base for your hotel-style curry recipes, or would that not really work?

    • Thank you saying. I will get around to it someday. I just don’t have time now to do a book justice.

      The hotel style recipes are developed using the much more intensely flavoured hotel gravy. I am not saying you couldn’t adapt them but they will not be the same. For sure you would need to use restaurant technique (i.e. fry your restaurant curry base).

      Sounds like you are dealing in your technique! That is just awesome.

  9. Hi Romain, Barbara here. I’m finally(!) prepping for your garlic chilli chicken recipe, but don’t understand cup measurements, &, also, can you let me me know if the
    3 Tbsp vegetable oil, for the Restaurant garlic chilli chicken, is the same as 45mls? (in Scotland a teaspoon is 15mls, & x3 teaspoons make a tablespoon you see.) Thanks

    • 1 Tbsp is 15ml. 1 tsp is 5ml. 1 cup is 237ml. Teaspoons and tablespoons are pretty important to get right. Cups I think generally are not so important to get absolutely right so 240-250ml in your measuring jug is going to be fine. Things like rice are the obvious exception as precision tends to matter more.

  10. Barbara here
    ahh, you use the creuset 6l for the base; the 10&a1/2″ aluminium skillet for the actual curry, yes?! Hope I’ve got that right. Meanwhile I assume, in order to make x8 portions (of the Garlic Chili Chicken) I would need to make it as per the recioe, then repeat twice more? 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    Amazingly easy recipe. I tend to make the curry base in large batches and freeze in the portion amounts for later. I make small amounts of curry because it is only me in the house that usually eats it. Love all your recipes that I have tried so far 🙂

  12. 5 stars

    Thank you for all these brilliant recipes. My whole family loves indian food and this is in my top two recipe sites! Can i just check on curry gravy quantities please. I notice that in the hotel style recipes you use 1 cup but in the restaurant style – which I’m cooking tonight, you say 15oz. I think you are in the US so assume that this is 15 us oz which are a bit different to our fl oz in the UK. I think that’s about 2 cups but seems much more gravy than in the hotel recipes. Have I worked it out correctly?

    All the best

    • Great to hear the family is enjoying your cooking!

      Hotel and restaurant style are two different approaches altogether. Restaurant style relies on frying curry base really hard to generate flavour. Hotel gravy has that flavour built in right from the start.

      The hotel gravy is much thicker and will get diluted by the juices of the chicken or added liquid. Restaurant gravy is thin and gets thicker as water evaporates during the frying process.

      You are right in that 15 oz is just under two cups. 1 cup is 237ml.

      I’m in Canada BTW:-).

  13. Can’t wait to try this recipe this weekend. Would it work to put make the sauce the day before and add chicken breast on the day? Trying to get ahead

    • Yes. This would work although you are only really saving a few minutes of work and cleaning up twice…

    • Glad you enjoyed it. That’s the beauty of cooking in this style. It takes time to get everything ready up front but once you have a supply it goes so fast. I always keep base in the freezer too!

  14. 5 stars
    Cooked this for me and my finance and my mum n dad and it’s a fantastic recipe as u say u gotta put the work in but I’ve did everything you said and we all got the rewards so much thanks for this from Scott from scotland

    • me from Scotland too! Love Curries. do you know what Romain uses his 10 1/2 inch aluminum skillet, & his 6.31 Le Creuset dutch oven which is about 30 cm across, respectively? Thanks 🙂 (I cant seem to be able to post directly to Romain, so I hope you can help with this question -or tell me how to post him! Cheers 🙂

    • I’m here too:-). My skillet is just a cheap restaurant supply pan from a company called Volrath. I use it because it’s cheap and I don’t have to feel bad beating on it. My big dutch oven is exactly as you say. It is the 6.3 litre Le Creuset.

      In both cases you can just go with something similar. Any 10 1/2 or thereabouts sized stainless ply or aluminum skillet will do (stainless is generally just aluminum core coated with stainless steel to make it pretty). But I do find beating on pans cooking restaurant style does wind up being hard to clean (especially the rivets on the handles). That’s why I use a $25 pan. So I don’t have to worry about it.

      The key for me (I cook on gas) is a pan with a consistent thickness. The pans I have a problem with are the ones with the ply puck on the bottom with the thin sides. Those ones are just trouble on a gas range.

      As far as the Le Creuset goes – for making base anything you can make soup with will work.

      Does this answer the question?

    • I’m making this curry for 6 people, do I triple all ingredients or will that blow my guests heads off 🥵😆!

    • You are better to scale it up to 3 people (up it by half) and making it twice. It’s close to impossible to get the curry base to fry properly with too much in the pan.

  15. OMG, I have been playing around trying to perfect restaurant curry’s, base sauce after base sauce, cabbage you name it, also playing around with spice mix, purchased Pat Capmans curry book, joined the curry club and none of them ever came up close, just followed you recipe for restaurant curry base and garlic chilli chicken (my favourite curry) and this is the closest I have ever came to takeaway curry, for me the search is over, honestly you need to write a book, I would purchase in a heart beat, thank you, you have transformed my Saturdays and saved me a fortune in takeaways, btw, from uk.

    • How awesome is that. I’m delighted to have helped you in your search. I love stories like this. This is exactly why I started glebekitchen!

  16. 5 stars
    Really nice curry and I loved the heat! But my girlfriend wasn’t impressed when she couldn’t eat it so she separated some and covered it in yoghurt ruining the curry. Thanks for the recipe

    • Sorry to hear about your girlfriend. It is a bit spicier than some of the others on glebekitchen but I wouldn’t have thought it that hot. Depending on the brand of garlic pickle though – it can get a bit zingy.

  17. I eat a lot of Indian food and have been cooking your recipes which are amazing! This alongside green chilli chicken, jalfrezi, bhuna, madras and vindaloo is my favourite. Gorgeous recipes m, keep them coming! 🙂

  18. Could the poaching liquid used for the Chicken be used/saved for any other dish? Seems a shame not to utilise the homemade Chicken stock further.

    • The challenge with the poaching liquid is that is highly spiced and quite salty. It is a bit sacrificial to get some flavour in the chicken. I actually drink a bit of it as hot flavoured “consommé” while I cook. Not healthy because of the high sodium but quite tasty.

      Hotel style (a variation on glebekitchen) does manage to get the chicken flavour into the curry.

  19. 5 stars
    I agree with all the great reviews here. I have been cooking curries for 40 years but nothing has come close to restaurant standards until now!
    Husband very happy and will cook for friends soon.
    So happy I found this site, your recipes are easy to follow with incredible results!
    Thank you!!

    • I’m so glad you are enjoying them and especially happy that you will now start sharing with friends! Awesome to hear that.

  20. Hi. Dying to make this! What brand of garlic pickle do you use? Can get hold of pataks (has dates in it) or ashoka (which doesn’t have anything sweet in it) Any thoughts? Thanks!

    • I use Niru brand at the moment. There is nothing sweet about it. I looked at the ingredients in the Ashoka and it is pretty similar. Ashoka has a few extra ingredients but I’d guess they taste about the same.

    • Thankyou! Love how you go the extra mile to help people out. Will go with Ashoka then if I can’t get Niru.

  21. Hi Romain,
    Your recipes have revived my love of cooking restaurant-style curries and I have just made my first Hotel-Style curry and made loads of the Hotel gravy and I’m blown away. Can I use one cup of hotel gravy with this recipe and Hotel technique?

    • I am absolutely delighted I played a role in reviving your love of cooking restaurant-style curries. That’s why I do this!

      You could certainly adapt this recipe but I would leave out the tomato paste/puree as tomato is already quite a strong component in the hotel gravy. Also, I wouldn’t pre-cook the chicken but rather follow the technique outlined in the hotel style green chili chicken curry. And, of course, you shouldn’t fry the base in batches as hotel gravy and curry base are not interchangeable from a technique perspective.

    • Excellent, I’ll give it a try soon. Didn’t think about the tomato, thanks for the heads-up 🙂

  22. Theres no going back to other curries after making the ones on this website. I’ve tried quite a few of the recipes and they all taste amazing – all my household agree they’re better than restaurants!! Thank you for showing me how to cook AMAZING curries!!

  23. 5 stars
    Great recipe made today and can’t wait for later to eat it. I kept seed in chillis as like it spicy and added green peppers to bulk out. This is the second recipe I have made from this site, make the chicken shashlik 4 times now as it amazing.

    • Great to hear! Thank you for saying. You are making me think I’m due for chicken shashlik myself!

  24. 5 stars
    Wow! My new favourite curry. Today is the first time I’ve made or eaten garlic chilli chicken and its my new favourite curry. The taste is to die for! I got ‘Pran’ garlic pickle and it worked well, gave the curry a lovely sweetness, a bit like the dopiaza recipe on here. Hats off to you Romain, this is your best yet!

  25. 5 stars
    I regularly cook the glebe kitchen curries (at least once a week). This is definitely my favourite, better than Indian restaurant versions. I used Pataks garlic pickle and it really does make the dish.

    • Better than restaurant. And cook glebekitchen once a week! Wow. That is just music to my ears. But I really can’t take the credit. It’s the garlic pickle. Pushes it right over the top…

    • 5 stars
      So I. Our freezer is full of home made curry base which allows to do any dish from this amazing site. Looking forward to have Romain’s recipe for butter chicken, rogan josh or home made naan.

    • Hi Romain, this curry is AMAZING. If I make it for 5 people, do I double the up the contents?
      Many thanks
      I will now search for more of your wonderful curries.

    • Glad you liked it! The best thing to do is two cook it twice. The technique relies on really frying the base gravy hard to get the flavours to develop. Or you could try with a larger pan (say 11-12 inch diameter). I usually just make it once, transfer the contents to a saucepan and make it again.

  26. Romain, you know you are a genius, I don’t really have to tell you and I’m sure many more will agree. I’ve made curries all my life with the individual spices, but since I found you, I am in great demand with my family. Every week I have to cook a different one, spent over £50 in spices and what an investment for the future. Our favourite is the Butter Chicken but with extra chillies added, my son is asking do you have a Biriyani recipe? I enjoy making the garlic Ginger paste and curry base, now got all the other spices made up to. It’s so easy now, so quick and everyone I’ve made has been a success. Many thanks for taking the time to share all your recipes with us. Regards Shirley x

  27. My curry game has been elevated because of you Romain. I’m enjoying cooking these curries at home like never before. I used to think my curries were decent but now my family goes back to the pan after they finish the plate. Even my eat like a bird 15 year old does too!

    I love your YouTube channel and you really should consider as Patreon account, I would definitely support it.

    Thanks for all you do.

    • I’m so glad you are making better curries and that you are liking my Youtube channel. You are very welcome!

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