Talking chicken curry

Mallika Basu - Talking chicken curry

Posted 10th April 2008

The cold was getting better. And then, I lost my voice.

Now, this is a tragedy of epic proportions. There is only one thing I do better than Indian cooking.


I sat at my desk, in silence. Simmering gently. With only grunts and sign language to communicate. One grunt, yes. Two grunts, no. Two fingers, leave me in peace.

Clients and colleagues heaped sympathy on me. The husband rushed to the pub to celebrate. I stared at 12 bullet points in despair. Only a simple Indian meal would now lift my spirits off the ditch outside the office.

It had to be chicken curry and rice. Even on a vocally agreeable day, chicken curry is pure genius in a large pot. It takes about 45 minutes to make, even quicker in my pressure cooker. I can make a massive amount of it with little extra effort. And any extras can be frozen for use during a later meal.

Ticks all my boxes for busy bee Indian cooking.

This wonderful, basic chicken curry recipe is from the Basu Kolkata kitchen and can be tweaked for variety with the addition of whole garam masala in the hot oil or some plain yogurt with the tomatoes.

There’s only one way to voice my satisfaction at the end of this meal. Grunt.

Feeds 2 (two times):

8 chicken thighs and drumsticks (about 750 gms)

3 medium tomatoes

2 large onions

4 fat cloves garlic

1 inch ginger

1 tsp chilli powder

Half tsp turmeric powder

1.5 tsp cumin powder

1.5 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp garam masala

Handful of fresh coriander

2 tbsp sunflower oil

Salt to taste

Skin the chicken, roughly chop the onions and tomatoes, and finely dice the ginger and garlic. Heat a large, non-stick pan with the oil over a high flame. You could also use a pressure cooker.

When the oil is sizzling hot, add in the onions and fry for five minutes until pale gold and soft. Then throw in your ginger and garlic and keep frying for another five minutes until the whole lot is a darker shade of gold. If at any point the masalas start sticking to the bottom of the pan, just add a little water and scrape off.

Now mix in all the powders except garam masala, and the tomatoes. Keep frying this on a high heat for another five minutes until the tomatoes disintegrate and the pungent smell of the spices calms down to a softer fragrance.

Then, throw in your chicken, and stir like a maniac until it is white and coated with the masalas all over. Next, add just about enough hot water to submerge the chicken pieces, cover and cook on a high flame for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Just make sure you stir the chicken every five minutes or so.

If you use a pressure cooker, as I did, this takes about 6-7 minutes after the first whistle. But you won’t get a deep, red colour like the chicken curry in my new video.

Finally, stir in the garam masala, salt and a handful of fresh coriander. Serve with plain, steamed Basmati and a spicy pickle of your choice.

19 responses to “Talking chicken curry”

  1. Sonal says:

    Hi Mallika,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    I have tried an achari baingan recipe, although not from your blog. Baking it definitely sounds healthier and is something I will try.
    I love your new videos..they are really good advertising for Indian food, beyond the stereotypical curry restaurants.I guess you are really good at your work, PR 🙂
    Hope to see you stopping by again, soon!

  2. Maninas says:

    oh no, sorry to hear about that! the voice will come back, and then they’ll all be sorry to ever have mocked you! 😉

    btw, what happened to the rasam post? i had a question there on tamarind that I was quite interested to see your answer to. basically, i was wondering what you thought about using concentated tamarind paste… ta!

  3. Mallika says:

    Hi Maninas – Thanks hon! I am feeling a bit better now. But my husband was enjoying the peace. I have no idea where the Operation Rasam post has gone! It’s in the recipes section filed under April posts or lentils. But it seems to have disappeared off latest posts. In the emantime, I did reply to you and here is what I think about tamarind paste:

  4. Maninas says:

    Ta again!

    Btw, I love the way your wrote up this recipe!

  5. Smita says:

    Nice work! The video turned out great – just the right length, lovely little snippets of Indian-ness. Has a style and favor thats (hopefully) all your own.



  6. Margaret says:

    How pleased I am to have found your wonderful Indian foodblog.
    I love to cook Indian food and now have found some more recipes to try. Saturday evening is our curry night! Hopefully, I will be cooking one of your recipes next weekend.

  7. I hope you’re feeling better. Does sunflower oil work better in this curry than others? I’ve never cooked with it and am weary about buying a jug of it.

  8. mycookinghut says:

    Chicken curry is one of my favourites. Nothing better to serve with rice. Yum. It’s amazing how many different types of chicken curry in this world.
    The chicken curry that we make back home in Malaysia is slightly different. I guess ours has got the mixed influence of Indian, Malay & Chinese.

  9. Joe says:

    Hello, nice blog. I just read your recipe and visited your blog for the first time today. I just posted an entry on my blog about chicken curry with a yogurt sauce. Come by and check it out if you can and let me know what you think.



  10. […] you’re married, you’ve got children, or two spare wives, for that matter. He made this for us tonight and it was excellent. Very authentic-tasting, and I highly recommend you try it if […]

  11. Alison says:

    I just ran into your blog last night, and I LOVE your recipes! I live in Dallas, TX where curry is a real hit-or-miss experience. I made this dish today for my husband and he loved it! I recommended your site to one of my girlfriends who also has a passion for Indian food. Thanks!

  12. Mike says:

    I made this and the carrots with fenugreek, and the picky wife actually liked it. It was delicious.

  13. Jen Das says:

    Hi and thank you! I made this for my hubby who is home ill and I think it’s the Indian equivalent of chicken soup! I will definitely be looking at your site for more great ideas. It was also my first time using the pressure cooker. What a breeze!
    Best regards,
    Jen Das

  14. Jen Das says:

    Oh and how wonderful you are a Beng! No wonder this recipe “spoke” to me!
    Jen Das

  15. Hi Mallika,

    Interesting Blog you have here.

    The thing is, and I hope you dont mind me asking is: I was always told that you add Garlic and Ginger with a minute to go as not to burn the flavor. Is 5 minutes the right amount of time?

    Best regards

  16. Kathlene says:

    I enjoy reading a post that can make men and women think.

    Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

  17. Do you have ? spam problem on this site; I also am a blogger, an? I
    was w?nting to kn?w your situation; many of us
    ha?e developed some nice methods aand we are looking to
    swap solutions with others, be ?uf? to shoot m? an ?mail if interested.

  18. Augustus says:

    I pay a ?isit every day some web pages and information sites to
    read content, however this web site ofcfers feature basedd articles.

  19. ? would like to thank you fo? thh? eff?rts you have put
    inn penni?g this blog. I really hope t? view the same high-grade blog
    posts from you in the future ?s well. I? fact, your creative writing abilitie? haas inspired me tto get mm?
    very own site now 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *