Dry Chicken Curry – My Mama’s style

Chicken curry is one of the most popular non-vegetarian curry loved by many. This version I am about to share with you is one of my Mama’s recipes, like most of the creation my mama always has a good reason when she creates or invent her dishes. It is one that all my mum loves to make especially for the grandchildren, they only have to whisper a little hint and mum would please. Let alone the grandchildren but my husband is no different, he loves mama’s chicken curry because like he says “dans vieux caraille ki ena bon la sauce” as literally translated “one can never beat good from an old wok”…. Hang on a minute hope he is not referring to my mother!!! 

With this curry we will start off by frying the chicken pieces first then move on to turn it a nice flavoursome curry with the addition of some greens peas.

This chicken curry is so delicious, so taste and so full of flavours. Though it is a dry dish with very little gravy, you only need a little bit of the thick gravy served with just plain boiled rice or mop up with some roti or pharata. Add a fresh cucumber and carrot salad and you’ll have a well-rounded meal. And may I add to this, we always clean every little bit of sauce/gravy left in the korai by mixing any leftover rice straight into the korai and simply toss it all up – the best part of it all in my book.

Ingredients – (4 people)

  • 500gms chicken thigh or whole chicken cut into chunks (I prefer meat on the bone, as it adds so much flavour)
  • 2-3 Tbs curry powder (using Brinda’s own blend of curry powder)
  • Handful of frozen peas (optional)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium size tomato – chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground garlic
  • ½ tsp panch puran including Nigella seeds
  • ½ tsp methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
  • 4-5 cloves, piece of cinnamon stick, 2 green cardamom (this is my extra addition)
  • Salt to taste
  • Few curry leaves
  • 1 tsp garam masala (last minute sprinkle)
  • 1 Tbs dried fenugreek leaves (optional, last minute sprinkle)
  • Handful of handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • Vegetable oil to cook and extra to shallow fry the chicken pieces


  1. Prepare the chicken in a mixing bowl, season with a little salt, 1 Tbs of curry powder, toss all together and set aside.
  2. Heat enough oil in a wok or large frying pan, and start frying the chicken pieces. I suggest you do them in batches to avoid them stewing instead of frying.
  3. Fry until semi-golden only to seal the chicken pieces. Once done remove and leave aside, do all until all is fried.
  4. Meanwhile start preparing the rest of your ingredients.
  5. After you have fried all the chicken pieces, turn the heat off and carefully remove the excess oil from the wok.

Now it’s time to start making the curry sauce:

  1. In the same wok, turn the heat on medium, add the onion, and stir often to prevent them from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Now add the ginger and garlic pastes and sauté until browned or for 2 to 3 minutes, followed by rest of the dry spices (apart from the fenugreek leaves and garam masala).
  2. In a little bowl, add the curry powder and mix in with some water to turn it into a thick paste.
  3. Add the curry paste and cook for a about a minute, season with salt, add the chopped tomatoes and a little water and cook until all come together into a thick sauce.
  4. Cover and leave to simmer until the sauce thicken and a glimpse of oil rises up to the surface. Cook until the spices begin to give off a cooked aroma (“raw” spices have a sharp, pungent aroma as compared to “cooked” spices).
  5. Add the semi fried chicken pieces to the sauce, including the juice that may have run out of the fried chicken.
  6. Reduce the heat and using a wooden spoon turn the chicken pieces into the sauce, to coat all the pieces. Cover the pan, lower the heat to simmer and cook, checking every 2 to 3 minutes, stirring, if required, to prevent burning.
  7. Cook on medium heat for at least 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Cooking this way, the gravy will immerse into the chicken and turned thick into a dark brown colour, stirring as needed. Five minutes before turning the heat off ass the frozen peas, stir all in.
  8. Turn the heat off, add the garam masala, fenugreek leaves. Cover and leave the curry to assimilate all the flavours from the last few spices added.
  9. Finish off with freshly chopped coriander leaves. Enjoy served warm with plain boiled rice or any bread of your choice and a fresh cucumber salad.