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  • Writer's pictureTina Brand

A standard chicken curry for rainy nights.

I am cooking up a simple chicken curry. Such comfort, a chicken curry with potatoes and a thick gravy poured over steaming rice. A raita cut quickly, and there’s your perfect Indian meal. A chicken curry has a couple of standard simple rules to follow, and if you adhere to those, there is really no reason for this dish to be anything but PERFECT:

  1. It is pretty vital to put the curry powder in at the right time. If you don’t, there’s always the chance of tasting the grainy powdery bits of curry- not so cool, and leaves a ‘raw’ taste to the gravy.

  2. Leave off adding any liquid for as long as you possibly can- it allows the meat/veggies or chicken you are cooking to combine directly with the curry powder and have the flavour running right through.

  3. A good brand of curry powder is pretty necessary. Which one to choose? The Malaysian brand ‘Yeoh’s Ayam Brand’ is always trusty. If you want to be truly pedantic about getting it right, dry roast your curry powder before using it in the recipe.

Of course we all have different tastes, so add and subtract heat and seasoning to suit yourself. There are any number of chicken curry varieties, cooked with coconut milk or yogurt, tamarind, or not, Thai style, South Indian style, dry, lots of gravy, etc, etc, etc. Let’s start with this one:

Standard Chicken Curry

  • 1 tablespoon frying oil

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped

  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 fresh red chilli chopped (optional)

  • 1 heaped tablespoon good brand curry powder

  • 2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped

  • 1 kg chicken thigh fillets, trimmed of fat and cut into bite sized pieces

  • ( I usually cut one piece of a thigh fillet into three sections)

  • 3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces

  • 1 heaped tablespoon good brand curry powder

  • juice of half to one lemon, depending on your preference of taste

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1 can coconut milk (optional)

  • 2-3 tablespoons white vinegar

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat a heavy based pan with the oil.

  2. Fry the onion, ginger, chilli and garlic until golden brown.

  3. Add the curry powder and fry until the mixture is fragrant, about two minutes.

  4. When it begins to stick, add the tomatoes which will add a little moisture and prevent burning. You may add one to two tablespoons of water or vinegar at this point.

  5. As the tomatoes soften, add the chicken and potato pieces and stir well.

  6. As the chicken changes colour, turn the heat down, stir well to coat the potatoes and chicken in the forming gravy, put a lid on the pan and leave to simmer.

  7. After about ten minutes, add salt and pepper to taste, stir again, and if it looks like the gravy is drying up, add a quarter of a cup of water, or coconut milk if you plan to use it.

  8. Also add the lemon juice at this point, stir to combine all the flavours and continue to simmer on low heat with the lid off. (the lemon juice will cause the coconut milk to curdle if you put the lid back on. )

  9. Cook for another ten minutes or so, until you can easily smash a piece of potato against the back of a spoon, and your curry is pretty much done!


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