Chicken Curry – Restaurant Style
For most of us, our first encounter with Indian food was with the spicy, creamy Chicken Curry, at your local Indian restaurant. You may have enjoyed it in all its deliciousness with some naan or zeera rice, savoring the burst of flavor in your mouth, every time you took one more bite.
What you may also recall is all the grease that came with it and the guilt you felt relishing this great dish. “But the grease is what makes it so yummy!” – is what you must’ve told yourself. And “It’s only once-in-a-while…It’s not like I’ll want to have Indian Chicken curry everyday!”. Well guess what. Now you can. My recipe for Chicken Curry is an extension from an earlier post on making the curry base, which makes this recipe not only easy, but much lighter on grease and fat. While several variations to the ‘Chicken Curry’ exist (including adding red food coloring), this version is the basic recipe that most Muslim households in India prepare on a regular basis.
The preparation begins with marinating chicken pieces overnight, in a mixture of spices and yogurt. I strongly recommend you use bone-in, skinless chicken pieces. An easy-to-make curry base is then prepared, in which the chicken is then slow-cooked. Make the curry as thick or thin as you like, depending on whether you plan to eat it with rice or bread.
Make this dish when you have guests over and you want to impress them with your curry-making skills, or prepare it when you and your family want to enjoy something different in the week’s dinner menu. Enjoy with your favorite bread, or go Indian and relish with freshly cooked Basmati rice or store-bought Roti’s or Naan. Serve with some Raita.
This recipe makes about 6 Chicken drumstick or the equivalent in Chicken thigh pieces.
You will need:
For the Marinade
- A large dish or bowl
- 6 skinless Chicken drumsticks, washed well and patted dry
- 1 teaspoon ginger+garlic paste
- 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Chili powder
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
For the Curry
- A large heavy-bottom pot
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp ghee. If you don’t have ghee, vegetable oil will do
- 3 dried Bay leaves
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 inch stick of Cinnamon
- 3 large onions, roughly chopped
- 5-6 medium-sized tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
- 2.5 teaspoons Chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Garam masala powder
- 2 tablespoons Dhania-Zeera powder
- 1 cube chicken bouillon
- Salt to taste
- Chicken stock – to thin the gravy if required
- Chopped Cilantro leaves and lemon juice for garnishing
- Mix the marinade ingredients well in a large bowl and coat the chicken pieces completely, in the mixture. Marinate overnight in the fridge
- In a large pot, heat 4 tbsp of oil and cook the chopped onions in medium heat till they are a light brown color
- Then add the chopped tomatoes and cook till they are soft and mushy
- Turn off heat, and blend this mixture with 1/2 cup of water
- Heat 1 tbsp of ghee or oil in the same pot and fry the Bay leaves, cinnamon stick and cumin seeds in it
- As soon as the cumin seeds start to crackle, add 1 tsp of ginger & garlic paste
- Then add the blended onion and tomato mixture and allow to re-fry in the ghee / oil
- After about 30 seconds, add all the dry spices + chicken bouillon and mix well
- Cook the spices in the gravy till the oil separates from the sides of the pot
- Finally, add the marinated chicken and mix well. Add salt to taste.
- Cover the lid on the pot, and allow the chicken to cook on low-medium heat. It should take around 30 minutes for the chicken to cook completely. No need to add extra water for cooking the chicken – the tomatoes and yogurt will release a lot of liquid
- Add chicken stock if you feel the gravy is too thick
- Garnish with Cilantro leaves & lemon juice, and enjoy!