Friday 22 April 2016

Our House Pakistani Chicken Curry.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

This is how we cook a chicken curry in our house.
An authentic Pakistani chicken curry has been on my recipe request list for ages and I've finally gotten round to it. The word 'authentic' bugs me though, because there is no such thing, in my opinion.

So, this is how we cook a Pakistani chicken curry in our house. Onions are cooked until golden before tomatoes and spices are added in. Then, the masala is cooked down until it is as intense as possible.

Then, and only then, is the chicken added. It's sealed, stir-fried before being simmered in as much water as is the cook's preference. Once tender, it is stir-fried again until the masala is thick and clinging to every piece. Finally, a flourish of fresh coriander and a scattering of garam masala go in to give the curry a last flavour hit.

That's how we do a simple Pakistani chicken curry in our house. When the thought of it comes to mind, nothing else will do. I hope you love it as much as we did! 

Chicken Curry, previously: simple chicken and potato curry // fried chicken curry // chicken karahi 

A Simple List of Ingredients:
1. Vegetable Oil
2. Onions
3. Tomatoes
4. Ginger Paste
5. Garlic Paste
6. Salt
7. Crushed Red Chilli Flakes
8. Ground Coriander
9. Curry Powder
10. Ground Cumin
11. Ground Turmeric
12. Tomato Puree
13. Whole Chicken Pieces
14. Fresh Coriander
15. Garam Masala

Bismillah, let's begin!

Our first task is to choose our pan. We usually make our curries in a deep pan with a lid. Place over a medium heat.

Add about 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil. You can add more or less, if you wish. But as my Mother always says, you do need oil to properly fry and cook the onions for a curry.

Let the oil heat up and while it does, we can dice our onions.

Take 3 medium Onions.

Peel them.

Dice them. The smaller you dice them, the quicker they will cook.

Add them to the hot oil.

Once they're all in, let the cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until golden brown. Be sure to stir every now and then.

While the onions brown, we can prepare our tomatoes. We used 2 Tomatoes but you can also use 1/2 tin chopped tomatoes, if you prefer.

To the fresh tomatoes, we added a splash of Water.

Not too much but just enough to blend the tomatoes until smooth.

Make sure you check on your onions too! If they are sticking to the bottom too much, turn the heat down or add a little drizzle of oil.

To blend, we usually use a stick blender but a jug one or even a food processor/mini chopped would work here too.

Blend the tomatoes until smooth and set aside until needed.

Once the onions are golden, we're ready to go!

We'll be adding our blended tomatoes in 4 stages. So, in goes the first splash!

Just about 1/4 of the tomato mixture.

Give it a good stir.

Once the onions and tomatoes are bubbling, it's time for the spices.

We'll be using:
1 teaspoon Ginger Paste (2 inch piece ginger, crushed)
1 teaspoon Garlic Paste (5 garlic cloves, crushed)

Along with:
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Chilli Flakes
2 teaspoons Ground Coriander
1 teaspoon Curry Powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Ground Turmeric

A little note about the spices:
- You can adjust the salt and red chilli to taste.
- In our house, we do not use red chilli powder. Instead, we buy dried red chillies or dried chilli flakes, and grind them at home in a spice grinder.
- We also do not use ground coriander powder. Instead, we buy coriander seeds, toast them and grind down in the spice grinder.
- The same goes for the ground cumin. We buy cumin seeds and grind them at home.
- Our curry powder and ground turmeric are both in powder form, as bought from the shops.
- Our garam masala is also blended to our own house recipe at home and not the powder version.
- I'm mentioning this because sometimes the powdered spices can be slightly more or less strong than the freshly ground, so do adjust according to your own tastes.
- Finally, we highly recommend grinding the spices at home like we do. We do this around once a month and then keep the spices in airtight jars. The flavour of grinding at home cannot be beat!
- Do you have any spice tips? Let me know!

Once your spices have been measured out, toss them into the pan.

Once in, keeping the heat on medium ...

... stir them in.

Cook the spices until fragrant then add in the next splash of the blended tomatoes.

Stir in the tomatoes.

Before squeezing in 1 tablespoon Tomato Puree. This will give our curry a lovely colour and flavour.

Stir in the tomato puree.

At this point, if things are starting to stick, do not be afraid to add a splash of Vegetable Oil.

Stir-fry until the oil has risen to the surface.

Before adding the third part of the blended tomatoes.

Stir them in and let everything get really well combined. We're adding the blended tomatoes in stages so that our masala has a chance to cook out all those tomatoes and let their flavour become intense without too sweet.

At this point, before adding in the chicken, we decided to blend our sauce to smooth. This is optional.

Turn off the heat and blend the sauce to smooth with a stick blender or transfer to a food processor.

Once blended, place back on the heat and let it bubble.

Now, it's time for the chicken. Take 1 Whole Chicken, cut into pieces and on the bone. We always use skinless chicken for our curries. You can use boneless chicken breast pieces here but in our house, the bone is where the flavour is!

Add the chicken pieces to the masala.

Stir-fry the chicken over a medium-high heat until the chicken is sealed and no longer pink.

Finally, pour in the last part of the blended tomatoes. 

Stir in the tomatoes until thick and combined.

Next, pour in a splash of Water. There is no real measurement here because we will be drying it out anyway.

Stir-fry the curry until the oil has risen and the water has dried out.

Like this!

Once we are at this stage, our chicken has sealed and the masala has become more intense.

It's time to simmer! Add in Water, to taste.

Stir the water in. The more water you add, the saucier the curry will be. We did around a cup.

Bring the curry to a boil. Then, cover with a lid and cook on low for 30 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Be sure to give the curry a stir halfway.

Once cooked, uncover.

Turn the heat up slightly and let it bubble.

Add another splash of Water, if needed.

Stir in and we're nearly done!

To finish, take a small bunch Fresh Coriander.

Give it a chop and add to the curry.

Stir it in.

Time for one last hit of flavour - 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala.

Stir in the garam masala.

Cover the curry with a lid and leave on a low heat for 5 minutes.

Uncover and we are done!

Dish it out and sprinkle with more fresh coriander, if you want.

Serve with boiled rice, roti, soft naan, bread or a quick pilau rice.
We had ours with buttered roti and an okra curry. Enjoy!

Full Written Recipe:

Our House Pakistani Chicken Curry.

Prep Time: About 10 minutes.
Cook Time: About 1 hour.
Serves: About 4 people.

¼ cup Vegetable Oil + more, if needed
3 medium Onions, peeled and diced
2 Tomatoes, blended with a little water until smooth
1 teaspoon Ginger Paste
1 teaspoon Garlic Paste
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Chilli Flakes
2 teaspoons Ground Coriander
1 teaspoon Curry Powder
1 and ½ teaspoons Ground Cumin
½ teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1 tablespoon Tomato Puree
1 skinless and on the bone Whole Chicken, cut into pieces
Small bunch Fresh Coriander, chopped
½ teaspoon Garam Masala


First, brown the onions. Heat the oil in a large pan with a lid. Once the oil is hot, over a medium heat, add the diced onions. The smaller you cut them, the quicker they will cook. Stir-fry the onions until they are golden brown – this should take about 10 minutes.

Next, blend the tomatoes. Whilst the onions are browning, blend the tomatoes with a little water until smooth. These blended tomatoes will be added to the curry in stages.
Once the onions are ready, add a splash of the tomatoes and stir. Once bubbling and well combined, it’s time for the spices.

Time for the spices! Add in the ginger paste, garlic paste, salt, red chilli, ground coriander, curry powder, ground cumin and ground turmeric. Give them a good stir until fragrant – over a medium heat.

Getting the masala right! Add another splash of tomatoes and stir in. Then, add in the tomato puree along with more vegetable oil, if things are starting to stick. Stir-fry until the oil rises then add another splash of tomatoes.
Stir in and stir-fry again until the oil rises. At this point, you could also blend the masala so that it’s smooth before adding in the chicken.

Chicken time! With the heat on medium, add in the chicken pieces. Stir-fry the chicken again until it is sealed and no longer pink. Then, add in the last bit of the tomatoes. Stir in until combined and bubbling.

Thickening the masala! Pour in a splash of water and stir in. Stir-fry until the water has dried out, the masala has thickened and the oil has risen.

Simmer time! Add as much water as you like at this point – the more water you add, the saucier the curry. Stir in and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes – giving it a stir halfway.

Finishing off! Uncover the curry and give it a stir. Check to see if the chicken is fully cooked. If not, let it simmer for a little longer. Then, let the curry bubble and add another splash of water, if needed. Stir in, boil, let the oil rise and we’re done! Stir in the fresh coriander and garam masala. Cover on a low heat for a final 5 minutes.

Serve! This curry is delicious with anything – boiled rice, roti, naan, bread or pulao rice. Enjoy!

Your Photos:

This Time One Year Ago:
Pan Pizza

This Time Two Years Ago:
Pizza Margherita

This Time Three Years Ago:
Masala Chicken and Potatoes

Keep me in your duas please, and enjoy your curry,


Spice Enthusiast
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