nearly restaurant chicken jalfrezi

Chicken jalfrezi is on every single Indian restaurant menu. Now you can make it at home. Nearly restaurant chicken jalfrezi is a curry everyone can cook. On a week night even.

Maybe not as easy as opening up a jar of curry sauce and chucking in some chicken. But when was the last time that actually tasted like restaurant chicken jalfrezi? Seriously?

This is a bit more effort. Not saying you shouldn’t use pre-fab curry sauce in a pinch. Still better than not cooking at all. But this is better. A lot better.

And it’s so very close to full blown Indian restaurant cooking. It should be. It lifts key restaurant tricks. But simplified. And it really works. ┬áCheck out this guide to nearly Indian restaurant cooking.

Char your peppers a bit for great chicken jalfrezi

The key to a good chicken jalfrezi is the green peppers. Took me forever to figure it out. You have to scorch them. Get them to almost blister. Like when you roast chiles.

That gives the dish it’s signature flavour. Without that it’s not very good. With that it’s awesome. So simple. But until you know it’s enough to make you crazy. Like anything I guess. Easy when you get it. Infuriating until you do.

This one little thing made me go from “Why does my jalfrezi suck?” to “Wow. This chicken jalfrezi is the is wicked. I’m insufferably proud of myself!”

Nearly restaurant chicken jalfrezi in an Indian copper bowl - top view.

Onions make the sauce

Make chicken jalfrezi that tastes just like your favourite restaurant.

The other key is onions. With Indian, it’s always the onions. Homestyle Indian curries have you cook onions for a long, long time. It’s pretty much the basis of all Indian curries.

You can try to skip this step but the results suffer. Never anywhere as good as it could be.

Nearly restaurant style relies on a simple trick to make sure they are cooked. And smooth. Luscious. Like you get at restaurants.

If you want to go for it, here’s how to make a full blown restaurant style curry at home. It’s always crazy good. But if you don’t have time, nearly restaurant chicken jalfrezi is crazy good too…

Want more nearly restaurant style curries?

Chicken tikka masala

Madras chicken curry

Chicken saag

Nearly restaurant chicken jalfrezi in an Indian copper bowl - front view.
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5 from 8 votes

nearly restaurant style chicken jalfrezi

You don't need to dive into full blown Indian restaurant style cooking to whip up a really, really good chicken jalfrezi.
Course Main
Cuisine Indian
Keyword chicken jalfrezi, indian chicken curry
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 or 2 if you have really big appetites
Calories 454kcal


The onion paste

  • 2 cups onions - coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water

Chicken jalfrezi

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 3 pieces per thigh.
  • 1 green pepper - cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion - cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp indian restaurant mix powder - see notes
  • 1 tsp tandoori masala
  • 1 tsp mild kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp kasoor methi - dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt - use a bit less if you are using table salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic ginger paste - see notes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced cilantro stems
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste diluted to the consistency of tomato sauce
  • 2 green chilies - halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 6 cherry tomatoes - halved


The onion paste

  • Place the 2 cups of chopped onions in a microwave safe dish and cover loosely. Microwave at 70 percent until the onions are soft and translucent. This takes 10 minutes in my 1100 watt microwave. I can't predict how long it will take in yours...
  • Remove the onions from the microwave. Be careful. They will be hot. Let them cool slightly. Place the onions, 2 tbsp vegetable oil and 1 cup of warm water in a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.

Chicken jalfrezi

  • In a small bowl, combine the mix powder, tandoori masala, Kashmiri chili powder, kasoor methi and salt. This is your spice mix.
  • Heat 4 tbsp vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat until it shimmers.
  • Add the green pepper, skin side down. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add the remaining chopped onion and continue to cook until the onion starts to brown on the edges and the green pepper scorches a bit. You really want the colour on the green pepper skin. It's key to the taste of a jalfrezi. 
  • Add the garlic ginger paste and cilantro stems and cook until the garlic ginger paste stops spluttering.
  • Turn the heat to medium low. Add the spice mix and stir continuously until it starts to smell really good - around 30-40 seconds. Watch it carefully. If you burn the spices at this point you have to start over. It will stick a bit. That's OK - you will deglaze with the tomato mixture.
  • Add the diluted tomato paste and stir to combine. Turn the heat up to medium. Cook for 1 minute, scraping up any spice mix that stuck to the pan..
  • Add the onion paste and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes. It will darken a bit as it cooks. Don't worry if it seems a bit dry. The chicken will release juices as it cooks and you should be left with a nice amount of sauce.
  • Turn the heat down to medium low. Add the chicken and green chilies and stir. Cover and simmer until the chicken is done. It's done when you measure the internal temperature and it says 170F, about 12-15 minutes. An instant read thermometer is a handy thing to have here...
  • If the curry is a bit thick add a bit of water or chicken stock and stir. Add the cherry tomatoes. Let the chicken jalfrezi simmer another minute or so. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. It may be a bit under salted at this point.
  • Garnish with a bit of cilantro if desired.


The recipe for Indian restaurant spice mix can be found here.
You can buy garlic ginger paste but it's easy to make and homemade is way better. Here's an easy recipe for garlic ginger paste. If you cook Indian fairly often it's so worth it to whip up a batch. It will keep for a few weeks in the fridge.


Serving: 4servings | Calories: 454kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 161mg | Sodium: 880mg | Potassium: 777mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 580IU | Vitamin C: 41.7mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2.7mg

18 thoughts on “nearly restaurant chicken jalfrezi”

  1. 5 stars
    Loved this, great tasting and easy to make, my first recipe from your site but I will be making some more! Thankyou

  2. Made this 3 times now and each time it blows us away.
    Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Love your website for Indian recipes.

    • Awesome. Great to hear! Maybe you could try some of the other non-indian recipes sometime. The same guy comes up with those:-)

  3. 5 stars
    Actually, I have another question. What do you think about using ghee? I have the idea that it also adds to the flavor, and that it somehow easier to control temperature in the pan. And which type of vegetable oil do you use? Thanks and regards!

    • I use plain old canola oil (widely available in Canada). I use ghee on occasion when I want that rich, buttery taste but I find in general it’s a tradeoff. It blunts the flavours a bit in my opinion so it depends on what you want. Maximum spice flavour or richness.

  4. Hi Romain, I was cooking this dish last weekend, and it was another hit! Though I have to admit that I still used garlic-/ginger-paste from a jar, just because I wanted to finish the jars first, otherwise I have to throw them away. But they are finished now, so next time I will use your recipe for the garlic-/ginger-paste as well. The jalfrezi was anyhow very yummy, even with the stuff from the jar (but from now on no jars anymore!). Is there a video which shows how to scorch that peppers? I am not sure if I did well, but the taste of the curry was great! Two days later I ate some little left-overs, and I still could not believe that I had cooked that dish myself. Great texture, great depth of flavors. Thank you so much again. Regards!

    • If it tasted great you know you did it right. I will be doing a jalfrezi video before long…

  5. Hi, I have two questions. One is I can’t stand green pepper. Would substituting red, yellow or orange pepper work the same? Also I prefer chicken breasts over thighs. Does it make big difference to substitute chicken breasts?

    • You can do whatever you like. Red pepper would be a little sweeter flavour profile but if you don’t like green then go for it! Breasts would work too but you have to be careful not to overcook them as white meat tends to dry out easier if you’re not careful. Go for 160-165F internal temperature with the white meat and it should be fine.

      In the end you are cooking for you so there’s no sense in making something you won’t like. Have fun with it!

    • 237 ml to the cup. Density of water is one so for anything close to the density of water 237 grams. For anything not close to water you will need to measure volume unfortunately.

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve got to say that one of the best jalfrezi I’ve made for a long time.
    It had the right balance of spice and heat , loved the home made spice mix. The only thing I did different was flash fried the onion and pepper then added them back at the end of cooking, I love the rawness of peppers.


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