Authentic Indian Gujarati chicken curry

From Pass It On
by Shobha and Keryn Kalyan

The Pass It On cookbook is well named; its Gujarati recipes have been passed down for generations. Shobha and Keryn Kalyan are the Wellington mum and daughter team whose family recipes Pass It On honours.

They’ve shared their not-so-secret-anymore family-favourite recipe for chicken curry: “There’s no cream which makes it healthy, it’s full of amazing flavour, and doesn’t take too long to make. And it’s great on day two as the flavours will be well marinated.”

In Indian cooking, “tempering” is a key technique that extracts the full flavour of spices as they’re added to a small amount of hot oil on a stovetop. “It’s easy, fast, and you’re left with incredibly aromatic flavours. But you have to be quick because you don’t want them to burn!”

Serves 6


1.5 kg chicken thighs, bone-in
3 Tbsp oil
6 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
2 black or green cardamom pods, bruised
2 stalks of fresh curry leaves
fresh masala (1 ½ Tbsp ginger, 1 Tbsp garlic, 1 ½ tsp chilli)
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp garam masala
2 tsp turmeric powder
3 Tbsp tomato paste
5 small potatoes, halved
a handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1 to 1.5 cups water 
garam masala to garnish


Trim, wash and cut the chicken into even bite-sized pieces, leaving the bones in. Set aside to drain.

For the tempering, heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamom pods and curry leaves, and temper for about 30 seconds. Immediately add the chicken, fresh masala, salt, garam masala, turmeric and tomato paste. Stir the chicken until it’s well coated in the spices.

Cook, covered, for 10 minutes or until the juices run from the chicken.

Add the potatoes, coriander and enough water for the amount of liquid you want. Cook, covered, for 40 minutes or until the chicken and potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with extra garam masala.

Serve this with rice, and your favourite Indian bread and chutney.



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