Filed Under: Indian | Main Dish

Indian Chicken Curry

Recipe By Tessa Arias
February 5th, 2010

My first memories of Indian food were when I was young and my parents would meet up during their lunch breaks from work at an Indian restaurant that served a lunch buffet. Most of the time I would be in school but occasionally if I had a half-day or during a school break they would bring me along. The first time I tasted Indian food I was too young to really appreciate the depth of spices and flavors so unlike anything I had ever tasted before. I can remember thinking that Indian people must find American food so boring and bland. Most of the food was too spicy for me but I loved loved loved the garlic naan bread. Every year that has passed since that first taste of curry, cumin, and garam masala I’ve grown to enjoy the unique and complex flavors that symbolizes Indian cuisine. And it makes me think that it really is a shame that Indian cuisine isn’t more popular here in the U.S., especially Arizona.

Although I’m a fan of Indian food, this was my first attempt at cooking it myself. I hadn’t tried sooner because I tend to think of eating Indian as a kind of special occasion (although Trader Joe’s does have some fabulous Indian options in the freezer section) and also the thought of all those different spices and methods seemed daunting. When I saw this recipe for Indian Chicken Curry on Cooking for Seven I was surprised by how easy it seemed. Erica doubled the recipe which I actually found useful since I wanted to freeze some of the curry for those nights I work late and am too tired to cook.

Recipe rundown:
Taste: It wasn’t what I was expecting, probably because of the coconut. For that reason I think I might test some more curry recipes to see if I can find something I like better.
Texture: Creamy, tender, and the rice adds a nice bite.
Ease: There’s quite a few ingredients but only a handful of steps.
Appearance: Curry just isn’t very cute.
Expense: For me this dish ended up being expensive because I had to purchase nearly all the spices since I didn’t have any. Other than that it is affordable.
Pros: There was plenty leftover to freeze for later use.
Cons: The curry turned my wooden spoon yellow! Next time I’m using a silicone spoon.
Would I make this again? Maybe, I’ve got a whole slew of recipes to try now that I’ve finally braved Indian cuisine.
Indian Chicken Curry with Jeera (cumin rice)
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I prefer to leave out the cinnamon)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon sweetener of choice (I like maple syrup)
  • salt to taste
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1-1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1) Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until lightly browned. Stir in garlic, curry powder, cinnamon (if using) paprika, bay leaf, ginger, sweetener and salt. Continue stirring for 2 minutes.
2) Add chicken pieces, tomato paste, yogurt, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and cayenne pepper and remove bay leaf. Serve immediately.
Jeera (Cumin Rice)
Also from All Recipes
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cups dry jasmine rice
  • 3-1/2 cups water
  • salt to taste

1) Heat the oil in a medium size saucepan over a medium-high heat. Drop in the cumin seeds, and cook until they splutter. Do not allow the cumin seeds to burn or become really dark brown in color. Add the rice and fry it in the oil for about 1 minute.

2) Add the water and salt and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the saucepan. Cook the rice for approximately 15 minutes. If you feel the rice is getting burnt near the base of the pan as it cooks, one trick is to place the saucepan on another flat pan or griddle which is directly on the flame. Toss with a fork.

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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  1. #
    Amanda — February 7, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Gorgeous. WAY to hot for this girl (yes, I have been known to think ketchup was too spicy) but I know a few people who would LOVE this!

  2. #
    TasteStopping — February 7, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    I will admit that Indian food scares me. Probably because I have never been properly introduced to it. Seriously, I don't have anyone to show me around the different flavors and dishes that represent authentic Indian cuisine. And without a guide, well, it's a bit intimidating! However, your recipe sounds much more accessible than I would have guessed, so I might just screw up my courage and try it. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Anyway, I found you through TasteSpotting and am writing to say that if you have any photos that aren’t accepted there, I’d love to publish them. Visit my site (below), it’s a lot of fun! I hope you will consider it.


  3. #
    Beef Recipes — February 8, 2010 at 12:47 am

    This looks so good. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. #
    xin — June 6, 2010 at 12:55 am

    I feel hungry after i saw the picture.

  5. #
    2 Day Diet Japan Lingzhi — June 6, 2010 at 12:56 am

    Good thanks, I learned a lot.

  6. #
    Ahmz — December 15, 2010 at 8:24 am

    I've never seen something like this done before, but I want to try it right away

  7. #
    huma — October 9, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    coconut is mostly used in south Indian cuisine and marathi garam masala. we don’t use coconut in everything. Indian cuisine is FULL OF FLAVORS and its a big fat MYTH that Indian food is tooooo spicy. every foreigner i have come across who makes Indian cuisine measures every spice nearly right, but when it comes to chilli powder; they go crazy! they add way too much chilli powder than Indians do. yes, i admit Indian food is spicy, but only for people who are not used to half a teaspoon of chilli powder; just like Indians aren’t used to risotto cooked rice. we call it ‘undercooked’. no offence. the ”Indian food” that you eat in US is not really Indian, it has been customised according to american taste and that old big fat myth. Yes i said it. THE INDIAN FOOD THAT YOU EAT IN U.S. IS NOT ACTUALLY INDIAN.
    if you really wanna enjoy real Indian food then i would suggest you to take a visit to Indian street foods, dhabas etc. if that’s not possible then find an Indian family in America who hasn’t customised their taste according to american. i hope i did my part being an indian in solving the big fat myth about Indian cuisine. remember, indian food is FLAVORFUL, not SPICY.
    Xoxo bye 🙂

  8. #
    huma — October 9, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    And yes tessa, the recipe that you posted, well sorry to say (and really no offence) but that’s not an Indian curry. it does looks Indian but most of the ingredients that you used are not used in Indian cuisine and it DOES makes a lot of (and huge) difference. the final result that you’ll get won’t be Indian tasting. I’ll send you my mom’s recipe for chicken curry if you like so that you can taste real Indian food.
    thanks. bye 🙂

  9. #
    Charlotte — October 17, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    That is not an Indian curry. Here in the UK, we’d take one mouthful of that & throw it in the bin. I’ve never put maple syrup, paprika or cayenne pepper in my curry. You didnt even marinate the chicken, no flavour will seep through, it’ll just sit on top of the chicken in the sauce.

    Where’s the garam masala, the coriander, the chilli powder, the cumin & actual chopped tomatoes rather than just tomato paste??

    This recipe does not sound appetizing at all!

  10. #
    Angila — April 19, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    Please send me the authentic chicken curry recipe. I have been searching and keep coming up short on these recipes. I have gone to an indian grocery store and bought the main indian seasoning staples. I have my pesil an Morter, ready to grind up fresh spices. I just need a recipe! I have tried so many that have disappointed!

  11. #
    Alversia — May 16, 2019 at 6:53 am

    This comment is for Huma and Charlotte I agree 100% with your comments. I had a neighbor 20 years ago whose mother-in-law came to help her after delivering a beautiful baby boy. Her Mother-in-law would cook chicken curry. It smelled so delicious. My two children would go over and eat, they knew good food. I am an old fashion Southern Cook. I tried her dish it twisted my taste buds for life! My family love all dishes – Indian. The spiciness is bot a problem….We Love it! Please, please send me your recipes…..I lost mine during our many moves!! Thanks in advance to both of you. Stay true to your culture’s taste!

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