Comforting, Simple Chicken Curry

Curry – get in mah belly!

Luke and I have many cooking aspirations of varying attainability. Bake our own bread (very attainable),  reattempt to cook coq au vin (somewhat attainable), start a goat farm  and make our own chèvre (less attainable).  Another farfetched dream of mine: starting a chain of Indian buffet restaurants.  Because what is better than endless chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, and samosas, all for $12.95?? In hopes of achieving this goal, Luke and I have been trying to master more Indian-ish recipes.  Some may challenge the authenticity of this curry recipe (see our Chickpea + Spinach “Curry” for another possibly questionable recipe).  But authentic or not, it is undeniably delicious and very easy to make, so long as you stock up on just a few essential Indian spices: cumin, turmeric, and garam masala (we also recommend investing in some paprika).

And if you’re interested in exploring more Indian recipes, check out Meera Sodha’s new cookbook Made in India, the source for this very comforting chicken curry.


  • 2 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1 TBS neutral oil (ex. canola oil)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (or panch puran)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 2.5 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated or minced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup pureed tomatoes
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 3 TBS whole milk yogurt
  • 1 3/4 – 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • cayenne pepper, to taste


  1. Melt the butter in the oil in a large dutch over over medium heat.  When hot and shimmering, add the cumin seeds (or panch puran) and cinnamon sticks.  Cooking for 1-2 minutes, stirring often, then add onions.  Cook for about 15 minutes, until golden.
  2. Meanwhile, mash garlic, ginger, and jalapeños into a paste in a mortar and pestle, with a pinch of salt.* You can also do this with a knife on a cutting board.
  3. Add the paste to the onions and cook for 2 minutes or so.  Then pour in the pureed tomatoes and stir.  Add tomato paste, cumin, turmeric, and another pinch of salt (you can also add 1-2 tsp sugar for a little sweetness).  Stir to combine.
  4. Add the yogurt to the mixture, 1 TBS at a time, stirring in with a wooden spoon.  Let the mixture bubble and then add the chicken.  Lower heat, put the lid on and allow the curry to cook gently for about 30 minutes, until chicken is good through.  Add garam masala and cayenne pepper.

You can serve this curry with additional yogurt, naan, and/or basmati rice.  As lovers of samosas, we never pass up an excuse to get a couple from our Indian takeout place!  Always a tasty addition.

Details: Serves 4.

*Note 1: Safety advised when mashing up the garlic, ginger, and jalapeños! Click here for safety gear suggestions.

To print the recipe, click here: Comforting Chicken Curry

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