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North Indian Chicken Curry


Serves five to six.

This is a moderately spicy curry. If you’re sensitive to heat, cut back on the chiles and cayenne.

  • 2 Tbs. canola or peanut oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions (from 2 medium onions)
  • 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 to 2 hot fresh green chiles (preferably serranos), minced
  • 4 lb. bone-in chicken thighs (10 to 12), skin and excess fat removed
  • 1 Tbs. ground coriander
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped, with their juices
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves; more for garnish
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt; more to taste
  • 1-1/2 tsp. garam masala (homemade or store-bought)

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or a deep, wide saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir to coat them with the oil. Spread them in an even layer and cook for 2 min. Stir well, rearrange in an even layer again, and cook for 2 min.; the onions should have begun to brown at the edges. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a rich brown, another 10 to 12 min. Lower the heat if necessary so the onions caramelize but don’t burn.

Meanwhile, put the yogurt in a small bowl, stirring until it’s creamy. Add the cornstarch and mix well.

Add the ginger, garlic, and chiles to the onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring  frequently, for 2 min. so they meld with the onions. Add all the chicken thighs and cook, stirring occasionally, until they lose their raw color and begin to brown, 5 to 6 min. Lower the heat to medium low and add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne. Cook for 2 min., stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pan.

Add the tomatoes and their juices, the yogurt mixture, the chopped cilantro, and the salt. Stir well, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 min. Remove from the heat and taste for salt.

To serve, sprinkle on the garam masala, transfer to a serving dish, and garnish with more chopped cilantro.

Make Ahead Tips

You can freeze this curry, in which case you shouldn’t add the garam masala and cilantro garnish until you're ready to serve. Thaw the curry in the fridge and reheat over low heat. Then sprinkle with the garam masala and a little ground cumin, cover, and let sit for a few minutes to let the aroma infuse the curry. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings, Calories (kcal): 280, Fat (kcal): 11, Fat Calories (g): 100, Saturated Fat (g): 2, Protein (g): 32, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5, Carbohydrates (mg): 15, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 3, Sodium (g): 990, Cholesterol (g): 115, Fiber (g): 3,

This was terrific, like the heat, no too hot but a nice heat, a keeper.

Made this for a Father's Day dinner and It was as good as these reviews made it out to be! I followed the recipe fairly closely with these changes: used full fat plain yogurt, used boneless chicken thighs, and cooked it in the oven for an hour at 300 (as another reviewer suggested), reduced cayenne to 1/2 tsp, but used two serranos. It was PLENTY spicy, but not so hot that the flavors were lost. I will definitely, 100% make this again. Made with naan and jasmine rice. Delicious! And easy!

This curry was a hit when I made it for a pot luck. I left the garma masala off at the end.

Fantastic flavour and low in fat! It's a winner 👍🏻

A very easy dish to make and prep. Really flavourful and well balanced curry. Served up with basmati rice and some take away naan! Made this a few times now and love it!

A very easy dish to make a prep. Really flavourful and well balanced curry. Served up with basmati rice and some take away naan! Made this a few times now and love it!

I lost count how many time i've made this. I had added extra chills and graham marsala for a stronger hotter curry taste.

This is an extremely easy dish to make with the most amazing results. So delicious! A favorite at our house served over basmati and with fresh naan.

Amazing recipe. My first attempt at curry and I nailed it!! Made over coconut rice.

Made this last night, it was absolutely delicious. I didn't have whole canned tomato's, so I used crushed tomato's instead. Left out the cilantro; I hate cilantro. Simmered in dutch oven for 1hr at 300, OMG! I'm in flavour country!!!

This is a recipe that is even better leftover!

I made this for my North Indian husband and he was absolutely amazed at how good this was. We both are way too much!! I'm definitely going to make this again! So flipping good.

I have made this recipe several times. It has become one of our favorites. I could not find the hot peppers recommended but used scotch bonnet peppers instead.


Very nice flavour! I made exactly as written and wouldn't change anything except that I would use boneless thighs. I forgot my Naan and it would have been so good had I been able to sop up the extra sauce! I will make this again.

I have already made this recipe 3 times and am looking forward to making it again tonight for a dinner party I am having! I was so intimidated by curries, especially after having the yogurt curdle in a different yogurt based Indian dish I had tried to make. Now I understand that part of the beauty of this recipe is the technique that adds the full can of tomatoes and then adds the room temperature yogurt. No curdling. =) Really this is a pretty quick and easy curry. Just have patience with the onions. I tried to rush them once, burned them and had to start over. My husband who eats very little meat (he was born in India and raised vegetarian) ate TWO of the chicken thighs - something we never see.

Just got home from cooking this recipe for a client and can I tell you how good this is!!! I have had the great honor of taking classes at Suneeta's home with other chefs from across the country....guess what I am making for dinner tomorrow night....used boneless skinless chicken thighs since dear client doesn't like food with bones, added chick peas, and used fat free greek yogurt. Yummy and still healthy enough to enjoy without the guilt!!

The flavors in the dish are fantastic. We made the dish exactly as stated in the recipe but I will use boneless thighs next time. I think this would also be good in slow cooker.

A nice change from other curries. I used jalepeno peppers and had to substitute boneless chicken breasts which worked well with a slightly shorter cooking time. If you have all of the ingredients on hand, it can be prepared within an hour. Will definitely make again and add chickpeas as previously suggested.

so good I added chickpeas, since I had them left over. It is so good.

This is a delicious curry and has become one of our favorite curry dishes. The flavors are complex, and the aroma is wonderful.

This recipe gets a 5 star rating at my house. It tasted great and the home made garam masala was an excellent addition. The instructions are excellent and this only takes about 1 1/2 hours start to finish. I'm just learning about Indian foods and really enjoy all those spices used in ways that come out so differently from the way we use them in Latin foods. I changed one thing, using boneless, skinless things. Thanks.

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