Easy Punjabi Chicken Curry

Making chicken curry

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you can eat the chicken by hand. Yum.

I demoed this recipe back in 2012 at the World Curry Festival with Bob Arora, Owner/Chef of Sachins in Newcastle. This is an authentic Punjabi chicken curry recipe that is super easy to make. Think quick after work meal that tastes as good if not better than what you would get at most restaurants. You’re going get that here.

I love cooking chicken on the bone as it adds so much flavour to a dish. Chicken thighs are also a must. They are after all the tastiest part of the chicken.

In the winter months I like to cook this with mild flavoured game birds such as pheasants and partridges. When I do, I cook the whole birds cut into about three or four pieces.

Are you by any chance a spicy heat fan? If so, add about a tablespoon of fresh naga chillies at the end. We’re talking mind blowing!

Making Punjabi chicken curry

Let those onions fry for a while. It really brings out their flavour.

Making Punjabi chicken curry

Stir in your spices.

Making Punjabi chicken curry

In go the tomatoes and chicken.

Making Punjabi chicken curry

Add just enough water, chicken stock or spice stock to cover the chicken.

In about 25 minutes, you'll have this amazing curry!

In about 25 minutes, you’ll have this amazing curry!

Punjabi Chicken Curry
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 12 chicken thighs - skinned and on the bone
  • 75ml vegetable oil
  • 3 onions - finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder (more or less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 tennis ball sized tomatoes - finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic and ginger paste
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  1. In a large saucepan that has a lid, heat the oil over medium high heat. When hot, pour in the chopped onions. Stir continuously so that the onions become soft and translucent. Fry for about 15 minutes ensuring that the onions do not brown or stick to the pan.
  2. Stir in the garlic and ginger paste, chilli powder and turmeric followed by the chopped tomatoes and allow to sizzle over medium heat for about five minutes. Add about a teaspoon of salt. This will help the onion release moisture into the sauce.
  3. The onions and tomatoes will begin to break down, turning into a thick sauce. This is a sauce you can use for any restaurant style curry. You may want to leave the chilli powder out though if you’re making mild curries.
  4. Add the chicken pieces and tomato paste.
  5. Stir it all up nicely and pour in just enough water or spice stock to cover the chicken.
  6. Cover the curry and let it simmer for about ten minutes. The sauce will become nice and thick and will stick to the chicken pieces as they cook.
  7. Remove the lid and stir adding a drop more water if you prefer a thinner sauce or turn up the heat if it is too runny.
  8. You’ll know when the curry is ready when the oil comes to the top. Simply skim it off.
  9. Stir in one tablespoon of the garam masala and taste. Add more if needed. I usually use about two tablespoons of garam masala.



  1. Linda Baird says

    This dish is delicious, we love quite a lot of chillies and a naga or two does the job nicely. Prefer to use less fenugreek though.

    Thanks for your continued inspiration :-)

    • Dan Toombs says

      Thank you very Lisa. I’m really glad you liked it. I’ve got loads more recipes on the way.


  2. Phil Thompson says

    Well Dan I think I’ll be having a go at this one…

    Found you via twitter yesterday and checked out the blog – look forward to following some of your recipes

    Can you recommend where to get ‘British Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil’ in the North East

    • Dan Toombs says

      Hi Phil – Thanks for stopping by. You can get cold pressed rapeseed oil at most good farm shops. It’s becoming very popular.


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