Indian spice box chicken

Indian spice box chicken

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(54 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins - 30 mins Cook: 1 hr - 1 hr, 10 mins


Serves 4
Serve this exquisitely flavoured chicken dish with mounds of fluffy rice

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal706
  • fat53g
  • saturates17g
  • carbs8g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre1g
  • protein50g
  • salt0.67g
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  • 50g fat green mild chilli (about 3 large ones)



    Part of the capsicum family, chillies come in scores of varieties and colours (from green…

  • 3 large garlic clove
  • 5cm piece of fresh root ginger
  • a bunch of fresh coriander
  • 200g carton of full-fat Greek yogurt



    Yogurt is made by adding a number of types of harmless bacteria to milk, causing it to ferment.…

  • 2 medium onion



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 8 medium bone-in chicken thighs (total weight about 800g-1kg/1lb 12oz-2lb 4oz)
  • 2 tbsp groundnut or corn oil
  • 2 tsp fennel seed
    Fennel seeds

    Fennel seeds

    feh-nell seeds

    A dried seed that comes from the fennel herb, fennel seeds look like cumin seeds, only greener,…

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds



    An aromatic spice native to eastern Mediteranean countries and Upper Egypt. This warm,…

  • a good knob of butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • Chilli-ginger garnish, to serve (see below)


  1. Make the Chilli-ginger garnish (see right), before you start the chicken.

  2. Cut down the length of the green chillies, then remove the seeds by scraping them out with a teaspoon. You may want to wear rubber gloves for this job - fiery seeds can give the fingers a real chilli sting. Cut off the stalk ends, chop the chillies into rough pieces and put them in a blender or food processor. Peel and roughly chop the garlic and add to the chillies. Do the same with the ginger.

  3. Pick the leaves off the coriander and drop them into the blender as you go (reserve the stems for the garnish). Tip in the yogurt and blitz everything to a puree. This can take a few minutes and you may have to stop the blender a few times to scrape all the gunge down from the sides - a rubber spatula will make this job much easier.

  4. Peel, halve and thinly slice the onions. Pull the skin off the chicken, using kitchen paper to help you get a good grip. Heat the oil in a saute pan over a medium heat until hot - when you drop in a spice seed or two it should sizzle. Toss in the fennel and cumin seeds and let them crackle and pop for 10-20 seconds, stirring all the time so they don't burn. They're ready when you get a lovely whiff of warm nuts. If the oil starts to smoke, remove pan from the heat.

  5. Plop in the butter and let it melt, then throw in the sliced onions and turn the heat down a tad. Stir to mix the onions and spice seeds, then cook for about 10 minutes until the onions are meltingly soft and tinged golden brown. Give them a vigorous stir now and then, but don't stir them too often or they won't take on any colour.

  6. Push the onions to one side of the pan, then add the chicken thighs, smooth side down. Increase the heat to between medium and high and fry the chicken until it's golden brown on both sides. This should take about 15-20 minutes and you will need to turn the pieces over halfway (a pair of tongs are good for this). Watch carefully in case the onions start to brown too much - if they do, pile them up on top of the chicken.

  7. Stir in some of the yogurt mixture and cook until it disappears - repeat a dollop at a time. Whizz 150ml/¼ pint cold water in the blender to use the last bits of the mixture and add to the pan with a pinch of salt. Stir until bubbling, scraping up any crispy bits. Reduce the heat to its lowest and cover the pan tightly. Simmer for 30-35 minutes or until the chicken is tender when pierced, stirring and turning halfway and adding a splash of hot water if the sauce is too dry. Serve sprinkled with finely chopped coriander stems and a little chilli garnish (put the rest in a bowl on the table).

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (55)

biti88's picture

Great recipe. Will be making again for sure. I was reluctant to brown the meat too much but this definitely adds to the flavour. Works with chicken drumsticks too!

mc1nnty's picture

i thoroughly enjoyed this dish very tasty ,the meat stayed nice and tender ! after i sealed and browned the chicken of tho i transferred everything into a casserole dish and put in the oven for 40 minutes ,next time im going to do it with fat free greek yoghurt to be healthy (you have to try ) :) and also make the yoghurt the night before to infuse the flavours and save time as alot goes into preparing this dish :)

Bentleybird's picture

Lovely flavours but my sauce split and was very oily, does anyone have a solution please

Bentleybird's picture

Lovely flavours, but my sauce split and was very oily, does anyone have a solution please?

kerryannb's picture

Lovely! Really fresh favours, a nice change from tomato based Indian recipes

juliemilner's picture

Very tasty, quite different to other curries I've made. It does take quite a while for the yoghurt mix to blend in so that's maybe why the other user thought it looked a bit green, i thought the same but once it has reduced down it looks fine but it does take some time. Wasn't sure about the raw chilli/ginger mix but it does enhance the flavour. Will definitely make it again.

kisahmelati's picture

Fab dish!

sarahf82's picture

This was so delicious! I made it again and made the ginger/chilli/yoghurt mix the night before and it really speeded things up. It's really worth making the garnish too. My husband keeps asking me to make this again.

sarahf82's picture

This was delicious! It's definitely going on the dinner rotation.

I think in future I'll make the yoghurt mix the previous night and that'll cut down on preparation time.

lizzypolly's picture

would like to say muppet 123 mine is luminous green aswell but tastes great lol xxx

jul34es's picture

had this tonight for tea and it was very tasty and easy to do.

frozenpixie's picture

Incredibly tasty! I was told by my mother that it was one of the best meals she had ever eaten. If that is not an endorsement, I don't know what is!

rachelulu's picture

I thought this was had a nice heat to it but tasted like a not-quite-finished Thai green curry. A little bit disappointing for the effort that went in.

kathrynv's picture

Not sure what went wrong, but I found this didn't really taste of much at all. It smelt lovely, but it just seemed a bit flavourless. Perhaps my spices were a bit old......On the plus side, garnish was great, and the whole thing was very easy to do. Think I will try it again some time with freshly bought spices, see if that helps.

jenbags's picture

Great tasting curry. Used chicken breast instead of thighs and they dried out a bit too much- should have taken it out while seeds were softening. Garnish tasted lovely. Used just 1tsp of fennel seeds as I don't like aniseed too much and that was fine. Will definitely make again with thighs or maybe fish.

irenemorrill's picture

Fabulous, full of flavour and simple to make, I will definately be repeating this!!!!

lorz45's picture

Made this over the weekend and it was absolutely delicious! Made with 0% fat greek yoghurt and was still good!

boistizon's picture

Brilliant easy to cook delightful to eat, we like heat so I did not bother de-seeding the chilli - left overnight the flavours mellowed and it was a lovely dish with just the right amount of bite. Do the garnish, it really is worth it!

aaylett's picture

I made this exactly as the recipe instructs and it was delicious, really fresh tasting and with just the right amount of spiciness for us. The relish on the side is a great addition as you can add more or less and really does lift the taste. Will definitely make this again.


Questions (4)

shinobidef's picture

I can't get hold of any fresh coriander where I am and don't have a blender. Do you think the recipe would still work without?

Bentleybird's picture

My sauce split and was very oily, does anyone have a solution please

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for getting in touch and sorry to hear the sauce wasn't quite right. It sounds like you may have used low fat yogurt, full fat shouldn’t split when cooked. Try using a little less oil next time too.

Bentleybird's picture

My sauce split and was very oily, has anyone else had this problem, and anyone got a solution please

Tips (1)

kaybadwal's picture

I added a teaspoon of garam masala and a little turmeric to the yogurt mix, for extra flavour, delicious!