How to Make North Indian Chicken Curry

Chicken curry is one of the most popular Indian exports with a variety of versions. Every region in India has their own interpretation for the curry — and what differentiates them is the tempering spices and cooking liquids. Like the name suggests, this is a popular no-fuss everyday dish cooked in Northern households. The ingredients used here are simple, yet they cook together to create a wonderful, warming concoction.

(Image: Anuvrat Manglik)

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For the Marinade

Things You'll Need

  • Chicken breast, skinless and boneless (around 1.2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1½ tablespoons ginger garlic paste

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or any flavorless oil)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the Curry

Things You'll Need

  • 1 large onion, sliced (red onion was used in this recipe)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander 
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder (adjust heat for your preference)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or clarified butter (ghee)
  • 1½ tablespoons ginger garlic paste
  • 2 serrano or Thai peppers, minced (can be left whole for less heat preference)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves (for garnish)


  • Clarified butter, or "ghee," and ginger garlic paste are readily available in Indian grocery stores. Alternatively, use the same amount of finely minced ginger and garlic as required by the recipe.

(Image: Anuvrat Manglik)

Step 1

Wash and dry the chicken. Cut the chicken breast into 1-inch cubes and set aside in either a bowl or large zip top plastic bag.

Step 2

Put together all the ingredients for the marinade and toss the chicken cubes with the paste. Let the chicken marinate for at least half an hour. (The most I leave it is for 6 to 7 hours.)

(Image: Anuvrat Manglik)


  • I prefer using a zip top plastic bag when marinating the chicken. Just put everything in the bag, seal and rub well. It makes cleanup so easy.

Step 3

Once you're ready to cook, heat the oil in a deep pan or wok with a lid. Add the cumin seeds and let them heat up (they should start to "sputter").

Step 4

Add the sliced onions and serrano peppers if using. Saute on medium high heat until the onion softens, around 7 to 8 minutes.

(Image: Anuvrat Manglik)

Step 5

Add the ginger garlic paste and stir for another 30 seconds. Then add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Let the mixture cook until the tomatoes cook down a bit and oil appears on the edges, around 10 to 12 minutes.

(Image: Anuvrat Manglik)

Step 6

Add the remaining spices and continue to stir for another 30 to 40 seconds.

Step 7

Toss in the marinated chicken pieces and continue stirring till the edges of the chicken turn white. At this point, add the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil.

(Image: Anuvrat Manglik)

Step 8

Turn down the flame to medium low, cover and let it cook for 20 to 25 minutes. (Check to make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked through.)

Step 9

Toss in the cilantro leaves and serve hot. It's delicious served with Basmati rice or naan.

(Image: Anuvrat Manglik)
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