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Basic Chicken Curry


A well rounded, straightforward, tremendously good chicken curry and it's all yours.

Rate this recipe 3.5/5 (2 Votes)


  • 2-3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 crushed cloves
  • 1 crushed cardamom
  • 2 crushed peppercorns
  • 2 medium sized red onions, sliced thin
  • 1 tsbp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 3 serrano peppers, sliced in half
  • handful curry leaves
  • 1-2 tbsp red chili powder(cayenne pepper)
  • 3 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • ¼ cup unsweetened, frozen coconut slices, thawed at room temperature (optional)
  • 1 lb skinned, bone-in whole chicken, cut into 2 " pieces
  • ½ to 1 cup water
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • 2-3 sprigs cilantro


Level of difficulty Easy
Cost Average budget


Step 1

Heat oil in a large dutch oven or heavy based pan.
Add mustard seeds, cloves, cardamom, pepper corns. Allow the seed to pop.
Add sliced onions, saute tll translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
Add ginger, garlic, serrano, half the curry leaves. Stir until ginger garlic cook through, 1-2 minutes.
Add cayenne, coriander, cumin, turmeric and tomato. Saute for a minute.
Stir in coconut.
Put in cut chicken pieces. Combine with the onion-spice mixture over high heat.
Add water. Allow the chicken mixture to boil on high.
Once it comes to boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 35-40 minutes on a low flame. Open lid to stir at regular intervals.
When chicken is tender, stir in garam masala and turn off heat
Sprinkle in the remaining curry leaves, along with cilantro.

Step 2

~Add water according to the consistency and amount of gravy you need. I use upto 1 1/2 cups at times.
~The above is a general spice guideline. I like to adhere to the adage (mine), a bit more spice makes everything nice :-) and am especially partial to the heat renderers, plenteous amounts of cayenne and peppers, particularly in this chicken which give it color as well as a good build of flavor. Play around with what works for could translate from a pretty good curry to an astoundingly great one.
~What is garam masala? Translated as hot mixture, this is a blend of spices common to Indian cooking and usually consists of a combination of cinnamon or cassia bark, cumin seeds, cardamom, fennel, cloves, star anise, bay leaves. The spices are ground to powder form in either a spice mill, grinder or coffee bean grinder(preferably one not used for coffee) and can be stored in airtight containers

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