“For me this chicken curry is soul food, it is the curry we had every week and is light and almost broth like. The chicken is important here as it really rounds the flavours of the dish. Please do use chicken on the bone here, it really makes a difference. If you have a friendly butcher, ask him to joint and skin it for you, if not you can find packets of thighs or drumsticks in the supermarkets. Also, buy slightly under-ripe tomatoes as you want them to add tartness and the sweetness of ripe tomatoes will ruin the curry. The secret to any well-cooked curry is the cooking of the masala, slowly and over time is the best way, so be a little patient- it is worth the effort.” Anjum Anand, Anjum's Australian Spice Stories






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (248 votes)


  • 10 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 15 g piece peeled ginger, cut into large pieces
  • 100 ml vegetable oil or 60 ml (¼ cup) ghee or some of each
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes (not too ripe), cut into thin wedges
  • 1-2 green chillies, left whole and pricked with the tip of a knife
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼-½ tsp red chilli powder
  • salt, to taste
  • 750 g chicken pieces, bone in, skin removed
  • 1½ tsp garam masala
  • handful chopped coriander leaves and stalks, plus extra leaves, to garnish
  • parantha, chapatti or pilaf, to serve

Whole spices

  • 5 cm piece cinnamon stick
  • 3 large black cardamom pods
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 fresh bay leaves

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Place ginger and garlic in a small blender with 2-3 tablespoons water and process until smooth.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the whole spices and once they have sizzled for 10 seconds, add the onion and cook until golden. Add the ginger and garlic paste and simmer until the moisture has evaporated and the garlic has had a chance to fry. Add the tomatoes, chillies, ground spices, salt to taste and a splash of water. Cover and simmer for 6-7 minutes or until the tomatoes have collapsed and the oil has been released back into the sauce.

Add the chicken and garam masala and stir for 4-5 minutes or until well coated. Add enough water to come half way up the side of the chicken, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken has nearly cooked through.

Uncover the pan, increase the heat to high and reduce the liquid in the pan until it is thick and creamy, stirring regularly. This will help the sauce become homogenous as well as deepen the flavour. Add enough hot water to make a sauce with the consistency of light cream. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then serve scattered with coriander leaves.


Anjum's Australian Spice Stories starts Monday 4 April 2016 on Food Network Australia. Visit the program page for recipes and more.