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    Chicken Curry

    A recipe close to my heart! My version of simple, basic Indian Chicken Curry!!! This is a super simple recipe, perfect for anyone wanting to try cooking Indian food for the first time, and looking to whip up a delicious Indian meal without fuss.

    It starts with chicken marinated in spices and yogurt, making it tender and tasty. Then, the chicken cooks in a sauce made with onions, tomatoes, and more spices, giving it a rich and comforting taste.

    Serve this delicious chicken curry with rice or bread, and you’ve got a hearty meal. It’s easy, straightforward, and sure to impress anyone looking for a taste of Indian cuisine.

    Try my simple Indian Chicken Curry recipe for an easy introduction to Indian cuisine. Tender chicken in a rich tomato-based sauce with warm spices. Perfect for a hearty meal!

    We have a lot of curries, I mean a lot! From Korma to Masala, Vindaloo to veggie curries like Gobi Matar and Palak Paneer, our life is full of varied and tasty curries.

    I want to cook so many other authentic curry recipes from India, but thought first to present you with my version of basic Indian curry.

    This is one of the simplest forms of curry, with a masala created by onion and tomato along with a few aromatics and spices. I marinated the chicken with some yogurt and a few of the same spices, and it does enhance the flavor of the chicken and the curry. Some people don’t even marinate the chicken and just follow the same process with masala. But I feel yogurt really adds a good flavor depth and texture overall.

    If you are a little overwhelmed to cook Indian food in your kitchen, this is just the starter curry you have been waiting for…

    Why You Will Love My Easy Chicken Curry

    • Simple Ingredients: The recipe uses common Indian spices and ingredients compared to other complex curries.
    • It’s Easy to Make: The straightforward steps are perfect for beginners.
    • Comforting and Delicious Flavors: The warm, aromatic spices combined with the tangy tomatoes and creamy yogurt create a comforting and satisfying meal that’s perfect for any day of the week.
    • Customizability: It’s easy to adjust the spice levels or add other ingredients, allowing you to tailor the dish to your liking.
    Small metal bowl full of curried chicken in a red sauce.

    Ingredients Needed

    For Marination:

    • Chicken (Bone-in, Skinless Dark Meat): Bone-in, skinless chicken is great in curries, and dark meat is fall off the bone tender after cooking. Chicken breast might dry out and not be as tender as dark meat after braising for long time. Most of the Indian curries are made with skinless chicken, as the skin gets soggy in the end.
    • Yogurt (Plain or Greek): Acts as a tenderizer for the chicken, breaking down proteins to make it more tender, while also adding a slight tanginess to the meat.
    • Spices: Turmeric, coriander powder, Kashmiri red chili powder and cumin seeds.
    • Ginger Paste & Garlic Paste: These pastes are crucial in Indian cooking.
    • Salt: Essential for seasoning, it enhances all the other flavors in the marinade.

    For Curry:

    • Oil: To fry the spices and onions. Use any neutral flavored oil like canola or vegetable.
    • Whole Spices: Cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, black peppercorns, cumin seeds. These spices are tempered in oil to release their aromatic oils, creating a fragrant foundation for the curry.
    • Onions: When finely diced and caramelized, onions add great sweetness and depth to the curry.
    • Ginger Paste & Garlic Paste: Further contribute to the curry’s depth of flavor.
    • Tomatoes: Their acidity balances the richness of the meat and dairy, breaking down to form a thick and flavorful sauce.
    • Spice Powders: Turmeric, coriander powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, garam masala.
    • Cilantro: Used both within the curry and as a garnish.
    • Kasturi Methi (Dried Fenugreek Leaves): Optional, but highly recommended for adding a characteristic restaurant style curry flavor.

    Indian Chicken Curry Recipe

    1. Marinate Chicken: Prepare bone-in, skinless chicken thighs by cutting them into large chunks. We keep the drumsticks whole. In a large bowl, combine all marinade ingredients. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, ensuring they are well coated. Allow the chicken to marinate for a few hours, preferably 2-3 hours, or even overnight for deeper flavor.

    Chicken pieces marinating in a large bowl.

    2. Sauté the Whole Spices: Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add whole spices (cardamom pods, pieces of cinnamon, bay leaves, black peppercorns, and cumin seeds). Sauté for a few seconds until fragrant.

    3. Brown the Onions: Stir in finely diced onions and cook until they start to brown, stirring continuously. Mix in ginger paste and garlic paste, cooking for a couple of minutes. Add diced tomatoes along with salt, turmeric, coriander powder, and Kashmiri red chili powder.

    Chopped tomatoes being added into the onion mixture in a dutch oven.

    4. Cook the Masala: Cook the onion tomato mixture until it thickens and oil begins to separate from the masala.

    Onion tomato masala mixture after cooking for a bit.

    5. Add Chicken: Add marinated chicken to the pot, mixing well with the masala. Cover and cook for a few minutes until the chicken starts releasing its juices.

    Chicken being added into the pot.

    6. Finish the Curry: Pour in hot water and stir. Add chopped cilantro and cover the pot, allowing the curry to cook and the chicken to become tender. Near the end of cooking, sprinkle in kasuri methi and garam masala powder. Adjust the seasoning with salt. Let the curry simmer until it reaches the desired consistency. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to develop flavors and beautiful red color. Garnish the curry with additional chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges on the side.

    Final product, ready to serve.

    Serving Suggestions

    • Basmati Rice: My most favorite way to eat chicken curry.
    • Naan Bread: Soft and slightly chewy, naan is great for scooping up the curry.
    • Roti or Chapati: These whole wheat flatbreads are a traditional option for enjoying the curry.
    • Cucumber Raita: A cool, refreshing yogurt-based cucumber side dish that helps balance the heat and spices of the curry.
    • Lentil Dal: A side of lentil dal makes it an Indian feast night.
    • Pickle (Achar): A small serving of spicy Indian pickle can add an extra kick and tanginess to each bite.
    Indian chicken curry served with parathas.

    Alpana’s Tips

    • Marinate Overnight: If possible, let the chicken marinate overnight. This allows the flavors to penetrate deeply, resulting in more tender and flavorful meat.
    • Don’t Rush the Masala: The most important step for a great curry is browning the onion. Please be patient and don’t rush this step. After adding the tomatoes and spices, give it time to cook till the oil starts separating and the flavors develop before adding the chicken.
    • Balance the Heat: Although Kashmiri red chili powder is relatively mild, if your heat intolerant adjust the amount of chili powder accordingly. You can always add more, but it’s hard to take the heat out once it’s there.
    • Use Hot Water: When adding water in to make the gravy, make sure it is hot (more than tap hot, actually heat it up). Cold or room temperature water can lower the temperature and interrupt the cooking process.
    • Check for Doneness: Make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked before serving. The meat should be easy to pull off the bone. For dark meat chicken, this is around 180°F internal temperature.
    • Rest Before Serving: Letting the curry sit for 10-15 minutes after cooking allows the flavors to meld together better and deepens its bright red color.
    • Consistency is Key: Adjust the amount of water to achieve your desired consistency. Some prefer a thicker sauce, while others like it a bit thinner.
    Overhead view of a platter full of rotis along with a small bowl of curry.

    Possible Variations

    • Coconut Milk: For a creamier texture and a slightly sweet flavor, use coconut milk instead of water. This adds a rich, creamier twist to the dish.
    • Different Proteins: Substitute chicken with lamb, goat or shrimp. Adjust cooking times accordingly to ensure the meat is tender and cooked through.
    • Spice Levels: Adjust the amount of Kashmiri red chili powder to make the curry milder or spicier according to your taste. Adding green chilies can also enhance the heat. You can also use regular red chili powder, which is Indian hot chili powder, for a spicier version.
    • Add Nuts: Blend cashews or almonds into the sauce for a richer, creamier curry with a subtle nutty flavor, similar to korma.
    • Potatoes or Peas: Add diced potatoes or green peas for extra texture and to bulk up the curry.
    • Yogurt Free Version: For a curry without yogurt, skip the spiced yogurt marination, and simply cook chicken with onion-tomato mixture. You might have to amp up the spice amounts that go in the curry to get the same flavors.

    Leftover and Storing

    Curry tastes even better next few days as leftovers, as all the flavors get enhanced while it sits in your refrigerator. For storing leftover Indian chicken curry, start by allowing it to cool down to room temperature after cooking. Once cooled, transfer the curry into an airtight container, then refrigerate for 3-4 days.

    If you’d like to store it for longer, place the airtight container in the freezer, where the curry can be kept for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, thaw the curry in the refrigerator overnight

    Reheat it gently on the stove or in the microwave, stirring occasionally so it heats evenly.

    Large dutch oven full of this delectable Indian chicken dish.

    I’ve wanted to give you this basic, super simple curry for a long time. Try it if you are curious about making your own chicken curry, authentic homestyle.

    It’s much easier than our kormas and vindaloos. Learn to cook like a local from curry land. This chicken curry is way to go!!!

    Indian Chicken Curry, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    Bowl of chicken curry atop the Gypsy Plate.

    More great Chicken Curries:
    Jamaican Curry Chicken
    South African Chicken Curry
    Sri Lankan Chicken Curry
    Trinidadian Chicken Curry
    Country Captain Chicken
    Vietnamese Chicken Curry
    Indian Methi Chicken
    Chicken Katsu Curry

    Featured image for chicken curry recipe.

    Chicken Curry

    Yield: 6 servings
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

    Try my simple Indian Chicken Curry recipe for an easy introduction to Indian cuisine. Tender chicken in a rich tomato-based sauce with warm spices. Perfect for a hearty meal!


    Chicken Marination

    • 2½-3lbs bone-in, skinless thighs, cut into large chunks and drumsticks (skin removed)
    • ½ cup plain or Greek yogurt
    • ½ tsp turmeric
    • 1 tsp coriander powder
    • 2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
    • 1 Tbsp ginger paste
    • 1 Tbsp garlic paste
    • 1 tsp salt
    • ½ tsp cumin seeds

    Chicken Curry

    • ¼ cup oil
    • 4 cardamom pods
    • 1 inch cinnamon, broken into a few pieces
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 6-8 black peppercorns
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 2½ cup finely diced onion
    • 1 Tbsp ginger paste
    • 1 Tbsp garlic paste
    • 2 large, ripe tomatoes
    • salt to taste
    • ¼ tsp turmeric
    • 2 tsp coriander powder
    • 1 Tbsp Kashmiri red chili powder
    • ¼ cup chopped cilantro, more for garnish
    • 1 Tbsp kasturi methi (dried fenugreek leaves), optional (see note)
    • ½ tsp garam masala powder


    1. In a large bowl, toss chicken with all the marinade ingredients and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours. (You can also marinate overnight.)
    2. Heat oil in large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add in whole spices (cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, peppercorn and cumin seeds) and sauté for 30 seconds. Add diced onion and sauté until it starts to brown up, stirring continuously. (This could take 10-12 minutes).
    3. Add ginger and garlic paste and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add in diced tomatoes along with salt, turmeric, coriander powder and Kashmiri red chili powder, mix well. Cook, stirring continuously until this mixture cooks well and the oil starts to separate from the masala mixture. (This could take 10-12 minutes)
    4. Add chicken to the pot and mix well with prepared masala. Cover cook chicken in its own juices for 10 minutes.
    5. Add 2 cups of hot water and mix well. Add ¼ cup of chopped cilantro, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    6. Uncover and cook until the chicken is fall off the bone tender and the curry consistency is to your liking.
    7. Add kasturi methi (dried fenugreek leaves) and garam masala powder. Cook for a couple of minutes. Taste and adjust salt.
    8. Remove from heat. Let the curry sit for 10-15 minutes as it develops a beautiful red color. Garnish with more chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges along with rotis and fresh basmati rice.


    1. Kasturi methi adds a fantastic restaurant style flavor to the curry, and is very popular in Indian households. You can easily find it in Indian grocery stores or online. In its absence, your curry will still taste very delicious.
    2. This recipe uses Kashmiri red chili powder, which is mild and not spicy. In absence of Kashmiri red chili powder, you can use paprika in a pinch. This recipe makes medium spicy curry. For a spicier version, use hot red chili powder instead.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 6 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 397Total Fat 26gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 20gCholesterol 117mgSodium 882mgCarbohydrates 19gFiber 4gSugar 7gProtein 26g

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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