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Cooking time

Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 45 minutes

Skill level



Serves 4

By far the most common chicken curry in the Punjabi home. It's a relatively simple dish that still has a delicious and rich flavour but that you can master fairly quickly. It contains lots of tomato, coriander and garlic and ginger and tastes fantastic whether mild or very hot. It's usually eaten with a hot chapati and a veg dish such as Saag (spinach) or a potato curry.

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  • Butter
  • 1 onion
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • Fresh ginger (a piece about an inch and a half in size)
  • Green chillies (3 or 4)
  • Salt (heaped teaspoon)
  • Garam masala (heaped teaspoon)
  • Turmeric powder (level teaspoon)
  • Cumin seeds (heaped teaspoon)
  • Tin of plum tomatoes
  • 4 chicken breasts cut into 4cm cubes (or leg on the bone if you prefer)
  • Fenugreek (tablespoon of dried leaves)
  • Lemon juice (half lemon)
  • Fresh coriander leaves (handful)


  1. Heat the butter in a pan and add the finely chopped onion.

  2. Once the onion has softened but before it browns, add the blended or crushed ginger, garlic and chillies.

  3. Allow the flavours to infuse for a few minutes before adding the salt, garam masala, turmeric and cumin seeds.

  4. Reduce the heat so the spices don’t burn and give the ‘tarkha’ as it’s called, a good stir.

  5. Add a tin of plum tomatoes and turn up the heat and stir, squashing down the tomatoes to make a smooth paste. This will take 5 or 6 minutes and you should keep stirring the mixture until the water has reduced down.

  6. Once the paste has thickened, add the diced chicken and stir on a high heat until again, the water has reduced completely.

  7. Add 1 pint of water and once this has started to boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting on a small hob.

  8. Squeeze in the lemon juice, add fenugreek leaves and leave to simmer with the lid on for 20mins to 30mins.

  9. Add the chopped coriander leaves, turn the heat up and reduce down to the consistency you like for about 5 to 10mins.

  10. Serve with yogurt/raita and a chapati and some pickle. Also great with rice.

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