How To Make The Perfect… Desi Chicken Curry

Unlike many other curries, Desi chicken curry requires the chicken to be fried for a while before any liquid is added.

Traditionally, the dish is made with the Desi chickens native to India, which are free-range and generally expensive in comparison to more standard broiler chickens. Desi chickens are difficult to source in the UK, however, so any breed of chicken is appropriate for this particular recipe (though we would always recommend investing in a free-range bird). The recipe is taken from North Indian Abdul Yaseen – Head Chef of Darbaar in the city of London, who will also be appearing at Taste of London: The Festive Edition, taking place this weekend.


Chicken thighs, 1kg, skin off and cut into two

Corn or vegetable oil, 75ml

Cumin seeds, ½ teaspoon

Bay leaves, 2

Green cardamom pods, 3

Black pepper corns, 4

Red onions, 4, finely chopped

Ginger paste, 1tbsp

Garlic paste, 1tbsp

Cumin powder, 2tbsp

Coriander powder, 2tbsp

Chilli powder, 1tbsp

Turmeric, 1tbsp

Salt, 2tsp

Tomatoes, 4, blended to a puree

Water or chicken stock, 400ml

Garam masala powder, ¼ tsp

Fresh coriander, 1tbsp, chopped


Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the whole spices.

Once they crackle, add the onions and fry on medium heat until golden brown. Stir in the chicken and cook for a further 5-8 minutes.

Add the ginger and garlic paste and coriander, salt, cumin, chilli and turmeric powders, and cook for another 10 minutes with constant stirring until the spices begin to release their flavours.

Now add tomato puree and cook for another 5 minutes and add water or stock. Now reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked.

Check the seasoning, if required, and sprinkle the roasted garam masala powder and finish with green coriander. Serve with steamed rice.

Darbaar Restaurant will be appearing at Taste of London: The Festive Edition which will be transforming Tobacco Dock into a festive foodie wonderland this weekend from 17th – 20th November. For more information and tickets please visit

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