Discover Secrets of Indian home food


House Chicken Curry

I think all of us, my siblings, were teethed on chicken drumsticks as babies – no mind for health and safety or choking hazards back then! Baby is teething, and highly irritable, thrust a chicken bone at the little tinker to gnaw on!

I wouldn’t recommend bones for teething, but you get the gist that we Indians grow up eating meat on the bone; this would be a whole chicken that the butcher would cut into pieces. We would also have ‘tharri’ or soup made from an older chicken (what mum calls a ‘boiling chicken’, that is older and takes longer to cook) this is essentially a spicy chicken soup that also includes potatoes.

As my own family will not tolerate the ‘hadi’ or bone, I always use chicken thighs – breast is simply too dry and not as flavoursome a cut as thigh – so I use boneless and skinless thigh fillets.


  • 8 skinless and boneless chicken thigh fillets cut into bite size pieces (allow for 2 thighs per person)
  • 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 and a half inch piece ginger, grated
  • 2-3 green chillies, slit in half lengthways
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5 green cardamom pods
    (smash open in a pestle and mortar)
  • 2 inch piece cassia bark
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 and a half tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 150ml passata
  • 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • vegetable oil for cooking
  • 0.5 – 1 cup of water for the ‘gravy’ or sauce
Prep Time:
5-10 minutes
Cooking Time:
35-40 minutes
Cook’s Tip:

Try making this with skinless bone-in thighs and drumsticks. You will taste the difference in terms of depth of flavour.

Serving Suggestion:

Serve with freshly cooked chapattis, or rice if you prefer, a side salad kissed with lemon juice and sea salt, and a dollop of Greek yoghurt.


1. Cut the chicken thigh fillets into large bite sized pieces and set aside.

2. Pretty much every curry starts with a ‘tarka’ which is the flavour foundation. Take a medium-large lidded sauce pan, saute the onions, cassia bark, cardamom pods and cumin seeds in 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, on a moderate heat until the onions are translucent and soft.

3. Next add the garlic, ginger and chillies and cook out for a couple of minutes.

4. Now add the garam masala, turmeric and salt and toast off for 30 seconds. If the pan is too dry add a splash of water so the spices don’t stick to the pan and burn.

5. Then tip in the passata. Stir and increase the hob heat and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook out for 5-10 minutes. When you can see the oil separate on the surface of the masala it’s ready to taste. Check your seasoning here and adjust as appropriate.

6. Place in the chicken and mix together coating all of the pieces, increase the heat as you effectively want to seal the meat. Then reduce the heat to medium, stir through the yoghurt and a splash of water. Beware of adding too much water as the meat will shrink and also release water during cooking. (If you do add too much water you can correct at the end by simmering for an additional time, pan uncovered, and reduce the sauce).

7. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover with a lid and simmer the chicken for 25-30 minutes or until cooked.

8. Finally scatter with a flurry of chopped coriander leaves.