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How to Make a Simple Chicken Curry at Home

How to Make a Simple Chicken Curry at Home: 4 methods

My name is Ben McFarlane. My first job as a professional cook was in 2004, and since then I’ve done half a dozen kitchen jobs and learned a ton about cooking from chefs, from coworkers and online. My life in the kitchen changed completely when I started cooking Indian food. I’ve cooked curry hundreds of times, using about 50 or 60 different recipes, and I’ve loved most of them. If you’re here, you’re looking for how to make a simple chicken curry at home, so I want to show you the simplest chicken curry recipes and methods I know.

Here are four ways to make an incredible chicken curry at home. We’ll start with an easy recipe for a classic North American yellow curry (method 1), then take a look at Master Indian’s spice kits (method 2), a more authentic simple North Indian chicken curry (method 3), and finally a recipe for Daiwahala chicken (methotod 4), one of the simplest and mildest authentic recipes you will find.

Method 1: Making a Simple Delicious Western-Style Yellow Chicken Curry at Home.

If you live in the West, you might love yellow curry. To some people, a simple chicken curry means a yellow curry made with that age old curry powder. If that's what you're here for then this recipe is for you. If you'd rather find a more Indian-style simple curry recipe, feel free to skip ahead to the next three methods. Here is a recipe for what your English-speaking grandparents knew as curry.

Ingredients:

1 medium onion; diced, grated, or blended in a food processor
½-3/4 cup yogurt, cream, or coconut milk
½ cup stock or water
1 rounded tsp corn starch
1.5 pounds chicken
1.5 tbsp yellow curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp coriander, 1 tsp oil
optional: dice ½ green pepper
optional: ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt to taste


Preparation:
Dice, shred or blend your onion.

Process:

  • Oil your pan, and heat it on medium high until shimmering. Add your tsp cumin and coriander, which should sizzle, then immediately add your diced or shredded onion.
  • Reduce to medium and add your chicken, stir-frying until all sides are seared; cook for fitve to seven minutes.
  • Add your diced veggies, (onion, sliced cauliflower, green pepper), ginger and garlic, and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add yogurt, (you may substitute cream, or coconut milk), yellow curry powder, garam masala.
  • Simmer for another ten to 15 minutes until chicken is fully cooked. 
  • Serve with white or brown rice.

Method 2: Master Indian Spice’s Simple Chicken Curry Kits

I started writing content for Master Indian in 2017, and at that point I had been cooking curries like the one above, or I had been using bottled sauces and some from-scratch recipes. To become their writer, I had to make food with their product, and it literally transformed how I cooked. I became addicted to the process taught by and the result attained by Master Indian.

It's simple, you open one of their kits, and you find four pre-mixed spice blends. Those are to add to the cooking at different stages. Essentially you’ve been given the makings of an authentic from-scratch restaurant recipe, minus what you probably already have in your kitchen, or can easily find at the grocery store.

This photo is Master Indian’s butter chicken, (a.k.a., murgh makhani). See the four spoons on the side? Those contain the four spice blends that come in the spice kit, and because you add them at different stages of the cooking process, you’ll be cooking curry the traditional way. I cook with these about once or sometimes twice a week. They save time and virtually guarantee a restaurant-quality result. They’ve also made me a far wiser Indian cook by demonstrating to me first-hand how authentic Indian food is really prepared.

Master Indian’s chicken curry spice kits come in ten different varieties: there’s chicken korma, chicken vindaloo, butter chicken, chicken tikka masala, madras chicken, karahi chicken, patiala chicken, and there’s a turmeric chicken curry that combines turmeric and black pepper in a recipe designed to maximize turmeric’s benefits. There’s also a taarka dal and an aloo gobi kit.

Method 3: Simple North Indian Chicken Curry Recipe

Alright, let’s now proceed through a simple from-scratch curry recipe like what you will find in Northern India, especially Punjab. This is the kind of curry I make most often. I’ve used common North American ingredients and spices, but I’ll advise you that the sooner you can get to an Indian grocer and stock up on the essential Indian whole spices, the more flexibility and versatility you will discover, the better your spiced dishes will turn out. There’s nothing quite like the fragrance of freshly-pounded nutmeg, briefly toasted, then blended into a creamy coconut curry sauce along with whole cumin, cinnamon and the like.

Ingredients:

2 lb chicken
¼ cup yogurt
2 tsp turmeric, divided
2 tbsp oil or butter
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp coriander
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cardamom
½ tsp cloves
1 inch piece ginger, minced
6-10 garlic cloves, minced
Two medium onions, fine diced or minced
Two medium tomatoes, cored, fine-diced
1 tsp garam masala (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1-3 (not 13!) tsp cayenne pepper or Indian red chili (optional)
1.5 cup coffee cream or coconut milk (you can use full-fat cream if you’re feeling care-free)

Preparation:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, add ¼ cup and ½ of the turmeric to the chicken, and set aside.
  2. Small dice your onions and tomatoes.
  3. Measure your spices.

Process:

  1. Over medium-high-heat, heat 2 tbsp oil in a deep pan or wok until oil is shimmering.
  2. Combine the cumin, cardamom, coriander, nutmeg and cloves, and add to the oil. Allow the spices to sizzle for about 5 seconds; If you’re using whole spices, you can allow 25-40 seconds taking care that the spices do not burn. Watch them until they brown.
  3. Add the onions, ginger, and garlic and stir-fry or toss intermittently along with the spices until transparent.
  4. Now add your chicken, together with the marinade into the pan and sear the chicken.
  5. Once the chicken is seared on all sides, add whatever other vegetables you might want to add to the dish, along with the fine-diced tomatoes and the remainder of the turmeric. If you have some garam masala, go ahead and add a teaspoon at this stage.
  6. Finally, reduce heat to a simmer and add your cream, milk, or coconut cream. Simmer covered for 15 minutes, adding water as needed.
  7. Now you can fine-tune your seasoning. Add salt and pepper if you like, as well as some cayenne or, better, Indian red chili powder (lal mirch)

Though more involved, this Punjabi-style curry is still one of the simpler from-scratch recipes. All of the recipes here go extremely well with basmati rice, but I like to serve this recipe with some toasted naan or paratha. 

Method 4: A Very Simple From-Scratch Authentic Chicken Curry Recipe

The final method we're considering is this recipe for Chicken Daihawala (click here or the image above to proceed to the recipe.)

We include this recipe because you're likely to have all the ingredients, and also it is an incredibly simple, lightly-spiced, authentic curry. One of the most delicious and certainly one of the easiest recipes, and one of the best yogurt-based gravies you can find.

 Though simple, it still contains some of the essential elements and methods of traditional Indian cooking. Because my household is vegetarian, we often use this sauce method for different preparations of tofu, and since it's quite a simple sauce, it works as a remarkable base with which to conduct your own experiments.

If you have made it this far, then you're likely ready to venture forth in your kitchen and try something new and delicious! Good luck to you! Please contact us on Master Indian Spice's facebook page, or instagram page. And also if you ever have any questions, feel free to post them here or directly to us in an email. Time to get cooking!

 

 

March 16, 2020 — Ben M

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