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


  1. Waalaikumussalam warahmatullah... Just looks delicious! I totally love Pakistani style chicken curry... will bookmark this...

    1. Rizwana Sahraouei6 March 2018 at 11:04

      Asalaamu alaikum wa rahmatu'llahi wa barakatuhu sis
      Why have I just discovered you now Alhamdulilah. Truly you and ur mum are very very talented Mash'Allah

      I have just made this amazing chicken and can't believe I've done it Alhamdulilah. May Allah swt bless you always. ������

    2. Wa alaikumus salaam! So glad you found me and enjoyed the chicken curry. Ameen!

  2. Asalaamualaikum

    I love your recipies!
    And your reminders too :)
    JazakAllah for sharing

    Wanted to ask which spice grinder do you have?
    And could you share your recipie for garam masala please? Xx

    1. Wa alaikumus salaam! So glad you've been enjoying everything. We have two spice grinders - one is a Croft make from Aldi and the other is Moulinex. Will be sharing our garam masala recipe soon! :)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. I would love your garam masala recipe!!! Can't wait!!! Jzk

  3. جزاكالله
    Can't wait! Xx

  4. Jzk sister for this recipe and ALL the other recipes. I feel in love with Pakistani food when my aunt married into a Pakistani family. They had Pakistani food and no Bengali, I LOVED it!!!!! It has taken me a loooong time to find something authentic. I made this and the daal and they are delicious. May Allah bless you and your family sis. Rehana xxxx

    1. It's no problem whatsoever! I'm really glad that my Pakistani recipes have helped you - Insha Allah, one day I will post my take on some Bengali recipes too. Ameen to your beautiful duas! :)

  5. i make this at least twice a week,tastes better than any curry house.havent bought a take away for months since following you thank you ;-)

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I'm so glad you have been loving the chicken curry! :)

  6. A lovely curry, made to your instructions, but did also add a green chilli for a bit more heat, the photos were a great help

  7. Salaam, that looks amazing mashallah.
    which hand blender do you use? the ones i have used in the past didn't do much of a good job with smoothing out the masala.

    1. Thank you so much! The hand blender is a Braun one.

  8. I made this yesterday for dinner and it came out perfect. Thank you so much.

  9. If you were to make this with boneless chicken then how much would you need? Jzk

    1. I would use 1 pound boneless chicken but even 1 and 1/2 would be good too!

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. So glad you enjoyed the curry! I would double and triple as you like. But add the red chilli to taste! :)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Just had your Pakistani chicken curry and really soft naans. My curry cooking has just gone up to the next level, thank you. Butter chicken next I think.

    1. So glad you enjoyed both the curry and the naan! Aren't they delicious together? Enjoy the butter chicken! :)

  12. Making this now, I can already tell that it's going to be gorgeous. Thanks for taking the time to share your recipe!

  13. Me and my girlfriend are spaniards living in the UK and we have fallen in love with your recipes. They are great and the instructions couldn't be clearer. Please don't stop!!! :)

  14. Wa alaikum salam
    I've never cooked anything oriental before, I am not even a good cook, but I decided to make this curry for my Pakistani boyfriend and it was super easy to follow your recepie. And it came out just perfect, tasted just like a curry I had in a punjabi restaurant. Not to mention that boyfriend was impressed and really loved it!
    Keep cooking for us here, You are doing amazing job! Thank you! :)

    1. Thank you so much for all your kind words! I'm so glad that the curry turned out well for you. :)

  15. Hi Faatimah, Love this recipe- done it twice in the last week! Keep up the good work! Going to try all your curry recipes as they look so delicious!

  16. For the coriander seeds, how do you toast them?
    Loved this recipe came out great!!!

    1. I place them in a dry pan and toast over a medium-high heat until they're fragrant. So glad you like the curry!

  17. Asalaamualaikum, thank you so much for your recipes. I'm used to cooking food for my husband 'just like his mum cooks it'. I surprised him with something a little different today. I had to use boneless chicken because my toddlers are too young to deal with the bones but the flavour was just great. Don't tell him I used curry powder and tomato puree, he'd faint just after calling me 'gori'. :) Great blog, thanks!

    1. Wa alaikumus salaam! So glad you enjoyed the chicken curry! Thanks for all your feedback! :)

  18. I only eat meat once a month now, but when I do I make sure it's one of your recipes!!! This was another delious recipe JzK!!!

    1. Wow! Once a month! I'm honoured that you choose one of my recipes for your monthly meat fest. Glad you enjoyed the curry!

  19. Another wicked curry Faatimah. So much depth of flavour. Good job I have your page for recipes as the Indian Takeaway near me is not up to much.

    1. Thank you, Maurice. So glad you preferred my curry to the local takeaway! :)

  20. Your recipe looks great but i am puzzled by the inclusion of curry powder. Fo you buy or make a curry powder

    1. I buy the curry powder. Usually a medium one from the Asian store.

  21. You can get curry powder at any supermarket or certainly Aldis. It has much the same ingredients as garam masala, and any indian shop should have both. Go Shop.

  22. Tq so much sis..i love pakustani chicken tastes different than indian one. Your recipe is so detail , from the ingredients to the method of cooking, now i can see why it tastes different from the indian curry. I will try your recipe soon..insya Allah. Thanks again, may Allah bless u

  23. I've had a lot of success with this receipt but it took me a few tries to get it right for us. Now it reminds me of the curries my friends mother, who came from Pakistan, made.

    I've not tried a whole chicken yet as its a little daunting to prepare it, any advice on how size the various bits?

    I've also found I've needed to increase the garlic, ginger and some of the spices although this might be because I'm too conservative with tsp levels and add more water for extra sauce. Do you go for level of heaped?

    I made very large batch (1kg chicken breast!) yesterday and used ghee and some deseeded and sliced finger chillies. I've looked at a few of your chicken curry recipes and haven't seen ghee mentioned, is this personal preference?

    Thanks again for the recipes, I will be be trying some more!

    1. Hi Robin, I'm so glad you enjoyed this curry. When I use whole chicken pieces, I never cut it myself. We get it prepared by the butcher into medium pieces on the bone. With red chilli and turmeric, I use level teaspoon but with cumin and coriander, I go with heaped - it is all to do with personal taste though. Yes, I don't really use ghee. It is a personal preference - feel free to use it instead of oil if you prefer.

  24. Just made this ...beautiful...a keeper ..thankyou ..

  25. Thank you from South Africa for a fantastic Pakistani chicken curry recipe. We are enjoying it this evening!

  26. Hello if I use 4 times the amount of chicken do I have to use 4 times the amount of all the other ingredients. Ginger, garlic,spices, salt

    1. Yes, but add the chill according to your own taste as too much of it can be quite spicy.

  27. This was lovely and so easy to make! This will absolutely become a staple dish in our home. Thank you so much for sharing-- whenever I need some inspiration I always turn to your blog.

    1. So glad you enjoyed the curry! It is a classic in our house! :)

  28. Hi, what do you recommend I do if I don't have a blender for the tomatoes?

  29. Assalamu aleikum!

    I tried this recipe today and it came out fantastic!! It was the first one I have tried out of all your recipes. I am very eager now to try out more :)

    Thanks for the blog and recipes

  30. As-salamu alaykum
    Sister I cannot thank you enough for posting this recipe, I have never cooked chicken before but followed your instructions and alhamdulillah the curry was DELICIOUS! My partner said it tasted even better than our favourite Pakistani restaurant! I have bookmarked your page for more recipes in the future!
    Thank you again!

    1. So glad you enjoyed the curry! Thank you so much for all your kind words! :)

  31. Wow! Just cooked this and loved it. Interesting how much of a difference following the exact intructions make. Thanks

  32. When I worked in Pakistan this was one of my favorite dishes.

  33. Made this for the second time and it's so delicious! Love your page, please don't stop your recipes x

  34. The best chicken curry EVER! Sis, your recipe is amazing. Thank you for your step by step instructions. You're a gem.

    1. Thank you so much! So glad you liked the chicken curry!

  35. I am very much looking foward to trying out your recipe Sister..

  36. I am mixed race - my father is from Pakistan and my mother is from England. I remember the food from when I were younger from my dads side if the family but since they split 18 years ago, I never saw them again.

    Following your recipes has really taken me back to those memories I had with my cousins as a child.

    Thank you!

    1. You are more than welcome. I'm so glad that my recipes have brought back so many memories for you.

  37. Will be giving this a try tonight I think.

    A quick question though (and I know each family hands down curry recipes which are wildly different from each other) but I've never considered using curry powder.

    I tend to stick with garam masala and the other standard spices.

    What would you say the curry powder adds to the dish? Would love your opinion. :)


    1. The curry powder just gives additional flavour and aroma. You don't have to add it but my Mum likes to in this recipe.

  38. Hi, can I use tinned tomatoes instead?

  39. Have been cooking curries for years and finely found the best recipe ever thank you was beautiful. Pauline

  40. I have been meaning to thank you for this recipe for ages, it is best I've had since I was a kid. My eldest daughter loves it not blended and practically sticks her nose in pan while it's cooking. No more jars in my house.

    1. I'm so glad you all enjoyed the chicken curry. 🙂


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