South Indian Chicken Curry

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Preparation info

  • Makes


    adult portions
    • Difficulty


    • Ready in

      1 hr 15

Appears in

Madhouse Cookbook: Delicious Recipes for the Busy Family Kitchen

Madhouse Cookbook

By Jo Pratt

Published 2013

  • About

Packed with plenty of flavors, this deliciously simple dish includes coconut milk for a rich finish. You can make the whole recipe a day or two in advance, or split up the stages, marinating the chicken and making the tomato sauce a day before you need the dish and then finishing the cooking the next day.


  • 8 to 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (depending on size)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon coarsely and freshly ground black pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 large pinches dried curry leaves
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • ¾-inch piece gingerroot, peeled and grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 can (15-oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • cups canned coconut milk
  • tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1 handful cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • sea salt


  1. Put the chicken in a large freezer bag. Mix together the turmeric, ground coriander, chili powder, black pepper and lemon juice, then pour over the chicken. Seal the bag and mix everything together. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator at least 10 minutes, but, for the best flavor, an hour or longer is preferable.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, stir in the onion. Cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the gingerroot and garlic and cook a couple minutes longer. Stir in the tomatoes and ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons water. The best thing to do is half fill the empty tomato can with water and pour straight into the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large wok with a lid, a saucepan or a Dutch oven over medium heat. When it is almost smoking, add the marinated chicken, with any leftover marinade, and fry about 8 minutes until the chicken is colored all over. Stir in the tomato sauce, coconut milk, tamarind and a good pinch salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer 25 to 30 minutes until the chicken is tender and cooked through and the sauce is thick. Stir in the cilantro and serve with rice and naan bread, if you like.

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