A deeply aromatic and flavourful chicken curry served with roti and cucumber raita is perfectly suited for fuss-free weeknight cooking.
“What are we eating for dinner?” is probably my most dreaded question and I get it every day from my kids. It’s like they live for dinner and to be honest, there are too many days where I wish cereal was an appropriate dinner. Luckily I have fail-safe, tried and tested recipes that are quick and fuss-free. Perfect for busy weeknights or days when cooking dinner is the last thing you want to do.
This glorious easy chicken curry recipe has been in regular rotation over the last few weeks because I love curry and because it really is very quick and easy to throw together. I use whatever chicken I have in the fridge/freezer and have served it with a simple drizzle of Greek yoghurt, steamed jasmine rice, a chopped salad and even toasted pitas to mop up the delectable sauce. It really depends on how much time I have to prepare the accompaniments.
The curry itself though takes approximately 10 minutes to get going before you can cover it and leave it to simmer away for 20 minutes while you bathe the kids/take a shower/pour yourself wine/pour yourself more wine. It also makes for fabulous feasting when you’re entertaining a crowd because this recipes doubles beautifully. Add pillowy naan bread, an arrangement of raitas and a big bowl of chopped salad and you have a casual, delicious meal. But make sure you have enough left-over because this stuffed in a roti with some raita the next day makes for a mighty fine lunch.
How do you make a simple chicken curry?
Sear chicken pieces (you can use bone-in pieces or cubed chicken breast) in a large, deep frying pan or skillet set over high heat. Allow to cook until chicken is golden brown all over then remove and set aside. Sauté onions, garlic and ginger until soft and fragrant then add spices. I like using a Garam Masala boosted with some added paprika and chili flakes. You can use a combination of spices you have (coriander, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon) or use a curry powder or masala mix of your choice. Allow the aromatics to cook for a minute then add the tomatoes, stock and cream. Canned tomatoes will result in a darker curry while fresh tomatoes will make for a lighter curry sauce. Add the seared chicken pieces and season to taste. Cook for 20-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
What are the ingredients in chicken curry?
There are many different variations of chicken curry but the ingredients for this easy chicken curry are:
- Aromatics like onion, garlic and ginger.
- Spices: Garam Masala, paprika, red pepper flakes (chilli flakes) and ground cinnamon.
- Chopped tomatoes.
- Chicken stock/broth.
- Chicken pieces or chicken breast, cubed.
- Salt, pepper and sugar (optional).
What should I serve with curry?
- Buttery roti.
- Naan bread.
- Steamed Basmati/Jasmine rice.
- Cucumber raita (you can use other vegetables like beetroot, as well).
- Tomato cucumber salad
- Crispy poppadoms.
Easy weeknight chicken curry with cucumber yoghurt and roti
- 12 pieces chicken of your choice bone in, skin on (drumsticks, thighs and wings work well)
- 1 large onions finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 5 cm piece fresh ginger grated
- 2 tablespoons Garam Masala
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes / 3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons sugar optional
- 500 ml chicken stock
- 150 ml cream
- salt & pepper to taste
- fresh coriander chopped, to serve
- warmed roti to serve
for the cucumber yoghurt
- 1 cup grated cucumber
- 1 cup Greek yoghurt
- lemon juice salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat a large, deep pan over high heat and add a splash of oil to the pan.
- Brown the chicken all over then remove and set aside.
- Add the onions to the pot and allow to soften for 5 minutes then add the ginger, garlic and spices.
- Add another splash of oil if the mixture is too dry and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the chicken back to the pan then pour in the tomatoes, chicken stock and sugar.
- Turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- After 15 minutes, add the cream and season to taste then allow to simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle over the chopped coriander and serve with the roti and cucumber yoghurt.
I’ve made this twice now and the 2nd time by far was better than the first. Mind you, I do not know how to build flavor profiles so the changes that were made to elevate this recipe to a 5 were pure luck. The first time we made this it was ok. My first true curry experience so I didn’t really know what to expect. My 15yo daughter thought it tasted “off”. She didn’t care for the cinnamon. Fast forward to last night. I have a Thai exchange student so I’ve been experimenting with different recipes to give her a taste of home, including curries and remembered this as my first attempt. This time I opted to omit the cinnamon per my daughter’s wishes and made as is, but adding only one can of petite diced tomatoes I had on hand (instead of two). My exchange student gave it a taste and we both thought it was lacking in flavor. She asked if we could add fish sauce. I said sure thing, I mean I want her to enjoy the dish, right?! With the addition of the fish sauce and omitting the cinnamon, this dish was absolutely amazing!! So much so, I’m here commenting which I never do because I just have to sing it’s praises!! My sauce was a bit thin but after simmering and sitting for an hour, and even more so today, it did thicken. However the flavors were so damn good a thin sauce did nothing to hinder it. I specifically used 8 chicken legs since that’s what I had in the freezer and I accidently added the cream early (with the chicken stock) so I thought that was the cause of the bland flavor. But nope!! Just give it time to simmer and build on the flavor profiles and you will have a beautiful dish! The best way to describe this dish is sophisticated flavors with simple ingredients!! IThank you!!
Hi there what’s the cream which was used
Heavy or whipping cream.
Hi! I just wanted to know instead of cream, can I use yogurt? And if so, how much yogurt can I use. I have the whole milk yogurt and I don’t have cream for this recipe.
I would use 1 cup and only add it right at the end, it might curdle if you allow it to simmer.
Made this last night using a masala mix made by a Hindi woman who works with my husband. This was so delicious and my student son says he’ll make it once back at varsity since it’s so quick to make and so delicious!
Oh, that’s wonderful to hear Jen! 🙂 So happy you guys liked it.
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
I just want to dive into this Alida! I can tell by your photos just how flavorful it is! This is winter comfort food done right!
Thanks Mary Ann! It’s such a favorite of ours.
Best ever curry. So delicious and so easy!
Yay! So happy to hear that.
This is/was amazing. It was even better on day 2
So great to hear.
I made this curry for dinner last night and it was scrumptious. Quick and easy and made with store cupboard ingredients, i will definitely add it to my dinner menu. Loved the cucumber yoghurt as a side. Yummy!
I’m so happy to hear that!
I found this recipe had a lot of liquid and took a lot longer to reduce! I’d use less stock next time.
I decided to shred the chicken into the curry which helped.
I also opted for smoked paprika and I chucked in 2 tbsp of mango chutney which really brought out the flavour of the spices.
After a few tweaks and some TLC it was beautiful.
I think I’d add some mushrooms next time too.
Did you by any chance use frozen chicken pieces? I know they tend to give off a lot of water. Also, if your tomatoes are very watery they can also result in a lot of extra liquid. A quick fix for that is to let it simmer uncovered so the sauce can reduce OR stir in a cornstarch and water slurry and allow to cook until thickened. Love the idea of shredding the chicken!
I don’t have a large deep pan. Can a large pit work too?
This was delicious. Lovely blend of spices. The one change I’d make next time is to probably add a 50% more chicken, or cut back on the stock, as the sauce was a little thin, but still tasted great. I also thought you could add red lentils or potatoes, and that would thicken it or fill it out too.
Great tips! Thanks Annika.
Why is the color of the curry in the video much lighter than the curry in the picture that is a dark orange.
In the video I used fresh cherry tomatoes and when I took the photos I used canned tomatoes so the colour is much richer.
2/5 ? (only lets me select five, which is was not)
This recipe did not work out for me at all! The side sauce is essentially tzatziki, sans garlic, which is Greek and a very odd pairing. I cut back the chicken by half, I think my husband purchased rather large pieces. I used about 65% of the stock the recipe called for and still found it to be super runny/watery and I paired with rice! Won’t be making this one again!
I’m so sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy this recipe Aly. The raita is quite an authentic Indian accompaniment to curries as the cooling yoghurt and cucumber are good with spicy curries. Then, did you use previously frozen chicken pieces perhaps? That could be why your sauce was watery. It could also be that the tomatoes you used were quite watery? The best solution for that would be to allow it to simmer uncovered until the sauce reduces or to simply add a little cornflour mixed with a splash of water to thicken up the sauce if it’s too watery.
I also love this new recipe so much that I HAD to make it last night.
One question has to do with the tomatoes in cans – it seems my curry was very liquid and no matter how long it simmered, I couldn’t get my “usual” curry style sauce.
Should I have only added the canned tomatoes without the liquid that comes with it?
I don’t drain the tomatoes I use when I use canned but the brand I use isn’t very “watery”. Did you use frozen chicken pieces? They also let off quite a bit of water so that could also be a reason your sauce was watery. But if you think it might be your tomatoes, then I’d rather just omit the stock. Alternatively you can thicken the sauce a little by adding a teaspoon or two of cornflour mixed with a little water and allow to cook out until thickened.
Looks delish!! What’s the spice on this dish?
I used fresh coriander/cilantro right at the end. 🙂
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
I saw this on IG this morning and had to come over and check it out Alida! This is totally my kind of meal. It looks aboslutely packed with flavor and delicious. I can’t wait to try it!
Thanks so much Mary Ann! 🙂
Hi there! I see the ingredient list and looks like there is no actual curry in this Chicken Curry recipe – am I missing something? Is it one of the ingredients in “garam masala”?
Yes, Garam Masala is an Indian curry spice blend. You could use any curry spice mix of your choice.
I love the colour of your curry, any secret tips that you can share so that i can get the same results?
It’s just the combination of spices I used.
The pictures are great, Alida. And a light cucumber raita with a rich gravy sounds heavenly. I wanted to ask if you marinated or seasoned the chicken before browning them?
Thanks so much. No, because it’s a quick weeknight meal I didn’t marinate them beforehand but if you have a little more time, you definitely could.
Hey, I just wanted to let you know that this FB group called EatTreat has used one of your pictures and copied the whole recipe too without any links back to your blog. https://www.facebook.com/EatTreatOnline/photos/a.443490132496452.1073741828.439906856188113/574089416103189/?type=3&theater
Your picture is gorgeous and it’s clearly getting this group quite the traction, but so, so not cool. Just thought you should know. LOVE your blog!
THanks so much for letting me know Ramya. I’ll get in touch with them asap.
Looks great! What size cans of chopped tomatoes?
They were 400g so I would assume around 12 ounces? Anything around there will be fine.
Your recipe calls for two cans of chopped tomatoes, what size cans are these?
I used 400g cans so I would assume they are around 12oz. It’s not an exact science though so cans around that size will be perfect.
This curry looks amazing!
Hi Alida! Thanks for this relish and QUICK recipe…however adding to that workload you were speaking of….do you have a roti recipe to go with this..you know something homemade :))) Thanks xxxx
Hi Linda. Unfortunately not, I’ve never tried my hand at making them myself. If you could Google a Madhur Jaffrey recipe you’d be in the pound seats.
This is perfect Alida. I love a chicken curry and yours sounds divine, quick and easy.