Moghul Chicken Curry

Recently while lunching at Haweli in Northbridge my thoughts turned, as they often do, to curry recipes.


Each year we host a curry night for family on Christmas Eve – so I need to keep my hand in before cooking up a storm for that looming festival. One of my favourite recipes is a North Indian dish adapted from Charmaine Solomon, a huge influence on my enjoyment both of the cooking and eating of Indian food. Her book Complete Asian Cookbook is a classic; my copy dates from 1981 – it was signed by Charmaine at a dinner she organized at a restaurant in Ardross in 1997 – the book was showing its age then and is now held together with tape and hope, but is still my most essential reference point for any Asian style recipes. This chicken curry is easy, delicious, and mild.


  • 500g Boned chicken thigh or breast fillets cut into pieces
  • 3-4 teaspoons of garlic/ginger paste (you can buy it premixed in Asian grocery shops or make your own)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon saffron strands
  • Milk
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • Garam masala*
    • *Garam masala – you can use a store bought mix but it is easy to make also.
      One cinnamon stick; 2 teaspoons of cardamom seeds; 1 teaspoon cloves; 1 teaspoon of nutmeg; 1 teaspoon black cumin seeds; 1 teaspoon black peppercorns. Roast spices separately, cool and grind to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container until used.


  • Salt
  • Hot water
  • 2 tablespoons ground almonds
  • Cream (or smooth ricotta works well if you are watching your waistline!)
  •  Fresh coriander


  • Mix garlic/ginger paste, turmeric and half a teaspoon of salt and rub into chicken. Set aside.


  • Soak saffron in quarter cup of boiling milk for about 10 minutes.


  • Heat oil, fry the onions until golden, remove from pan.


  • Add chicken and brown lightly on all sides a few at a time, removing as they are finished.


  • When all are done place in a casserole dish, sprinkle with 3 teaspoons of garam masala, 1 teaspoon of salt and add the milk/saffron blend, half a cup or so of hot water, and half the browned onion. Heat oven to 200 degrees C. Cook covered until chicken is tender stirring occasionally adding a little more water if too dry; add almonds and half a cup or so of cream. Heat everything through, stirring well.


  • Serve with rice or Indian bread, with the other half of the browned onions as garnish, together with chopped coriander.

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