Go Back
+ servings
chicken pathia, biryani and chapati table scene from above.
Print Recipe
4.88 from 8 votes

chicken pathia curry

Pathia chicken is about spice, sweet and sour in perfect balance.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: ceylon chicken curry, Indian restaurant style
Servings: 2
Calories: 578kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen


The spice mix

  • 1 1/2 tsp hot madras curry powder - you can get this at just about any Indian grocer
  • 2 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 /2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp kasoor methi - dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt - a bit less if you use regular table salt

Pathia chicken curry

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil - any neutral oil works
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste
  • 1 cup Indian hotel curry gravy - recipe link below
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs - cut into 3-4 pieces each
  • 1 tbsp tamarind sauce - Not paste. Not concentrate. Sauce. Sweet and sour tamarind sauce. I like Maggi Tamarina. See note.
  • 1 tsp jaggery or brown sugar
  • 2-4 Tbsp water or chicken stock. Depends how saucy you like your curry.


Do your prep

  • This goes fast. Be ready. Make your spice mix. Combine the powdered spices in a small bowl. Get your ingredients out and close to the stove.

Make the pathia chicken curry

  • Heat the oil in a medium frying pan until it just starts to shimmer.
  • Stir in the garlic ginger paste. Cook until the garlic ginger paste stops sputtering.
  • Turn your heat to medium low and add your spice mix. Gently fry the spices for 30-45 seconds. This is why you added a full 3 tablespoons of oil at the beginning. Spices fried in oil. Bloomed spices. This is where the magic happens. Too little oil and the spices will stick or burn and you will be starting over.
  • Turn the heat up to medium. Add the Indian hotel curry gravy. Bring it to a simmer. Really stir it to get the oil to combine. Cook for about a minute.
    You don't need it to fry like a regular restaurant curry. That's the beauty of hotel style. That step is done before you start cooking the final dish. No need to make a mess of your stove.
  • Add the chicken in an even layer and cover the pan. After about 5 minutes flip the chicken pieces. Tongs are good for this. Can't beat a good set of restaurant tongs in the kitchen. Cook until the chicken is just done.
  • The chicken should take around 8-12 minutes to cook through. It really depends on how large the chicken thigh pieces are. Best bet is to use an instant read thermometer and go for a 170F internal temperature.
  • Once the chicken is done, stir in the tamarind sauce and the sugar. Simmer for about a minute.
  • The texture should be about right at this point. If it's too thick add a bit of water or chicken stock Not a lot. Probably a couple tablespoons max. More if you like it really saucy.
  • If it is too thin (chicken throws a fair bit of liquid as it cooks) just let the curry simmer uncovered for a minute or two.
  • I love this curry with chapatis and rice and just about any side. Tarka dal. Chana. Dal palak. Whatever you like will work. Except ice cream. Ice cream will not work...


Make your Indian hotel curry gravy ahead of time. 
For maximum flavour you really should make your garlic ginger paste from scratch.
You may notice there's no tomato paste or passata in this recipe. The tomato comes from the hotel curry gravy. It's there already.
I like Maggi Tamarina. It just works for pathia. You can substitute 2 tsp of tamarind paste with a second tsp on jaggery if you want. But it is not as good. 


Calories: 578kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 161mg | Sodium: 1263mg | Potassium: 810mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 717IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 4mg