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North Indian Chicken Curry

Servings: 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)

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on six servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 280
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 100
  • Fat (g): 11
  • Saturated Fat (g): 2
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 115
  • Sodium (mg): 990
  • Carbohydrates (g): 15
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 32


  • 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.


Rate or Review

Reviews (27 reviews)

  • trishsd | 12/07/2020

    One of my all-time favorite FC recipes. I use the bone-in thighs for best flavor but then bone the thighs before serving - much easier to eat. Don’t skip the garam masala! I serve with naan bread, mango chutney and a mint-cilantro chutney.

  • Diasdeespana | 03/22/2020

    I have made this recipe many times and we love it, especially my 7 and 9 year old boys.

  • LucyMontreal | 08/15/2018

    My kids asked for butter chicken, found this recipe and it was an instant hit.

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