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Simple chicken curry in a bowl with serving spoon from above.
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5 from 14 votes

simple chicken curry

Serve this simple chicken curry over basmati rice and garnish with cilantro. Remember, the whole spices are not meant to be eaten.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Calories: 421kcal


Spice Mix

  • 1 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2-1 tsp chili powder depending how hot you like it
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp kosher salt to start

Simple Chicken Curry

  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil plus one Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 2 inch piece of cinnamon bark or cinnamon stick
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 1 large cooking onion finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 2 plum tomatoes seeded and diced
  • 3 green chilis seeded and diced (or 1 jalepeno, seeded and diced)
  • 8 chicken thighs bone-in, skinless
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock


Make the masala

  • Make your mix powder. Combine all the ground spices with the salt.
  • Use a food processor to finely chop the onion. It takes two seconds and it works way better. You are looking for a really fine dice. Almost a paste.
  • Now use your food processor (it's already dirty so this comes for free) to make a garlic ginger paste. Combine the garlic and ginger with a bit of water and whiz until you have a puree. If you have a big food processor you may have to make more to get it to work or use a blender (more dishes though).
  • Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a 4-5 quart pot. Add the cinnamon and cardamom and cook about 20-30 seconds. The spices should sizzle.
  • Crank up your fan hood to max. Really. Full blast time...
  • Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until they take on a golden brown colour. You want them soft. Really soft. Take your time here. This is the critical step.
  • Add the 4th Tbsp of oil and your spice mix. Watch the heat. You don't want your spices to burn. Stir constantly for about a minute, then add the tomato paste, green chilies and garlic ginger paste.
  • Continue to stir and cook another minute. Stir in the chopped plum tomatoes.

Make the curry

  • Add the skinned chicken thighs to the pot, stir and add 1/2 cup of stock or water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 25 minutes - until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Adjust salt to taste. I expect probably another 1/2 tsp if you are using kosher salt. Probably not at all if you are using table salt.


I use an Indian chili powder called mild kashmiri. If you can't get that (or don't want to bother) go with 1/3-1/2 tsp cayenne topped up with enough paprika to make 1 tsp.


Serving: 4servings | Calories: 421kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 193mg | Sodium: 927mg | Potassium: 793mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 765IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 3.8mg