Tamarind chicken curry

Tamarind chicken curry

Anjum's Quick & Easy Indian
Lisa Linder

This is a fabulous curry inspired by South Indian ingredients. The tamarind adds a fruity sourness. Using chicken joints is quite important here, as you need the flavour from the bones to round off and balance the tamarind; it might take 20 minutes longer than boneless meat, but the curry almost cooks itself and is worth it. Tamarind brands vary in strength and viscosity, so you will need to add to taste. Serve with Indian breads; paratha would be my first choice.


Quantity Ingredient
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
15 fresh curry leaves
3 onions, sliced
30g root ginger, coarsely chopped, (peeled weight)
10 fat garlic cloves
1 rounded tablespoon ground coriander
2/3 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 big skinless bone-in chicken thighs
or 800g other chicken joints
2-5 green chillies, whole but pierced with the tip of a knife, (optional)
1 1/2-2 teaspoons tamarind paste, dissolved in 4 tablespoons of hot water


  1. Heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the mustard seeds and, once the popping dies down, add the curry leaves and follow with the onions; cook until well browned. Meanwhile, blend the ginger and garlic with a little water until smooth (I use a hand-held blender) and add to the cooked onions. Cook off the excess water, then fry the paste for one minute. Add the ground spices and some salt with a small splash of water and cook for a minute.
  2. Add the chicken and chillies and stir well in the masala. Pour in enough water to come halfway up the chicken. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat and simmer gently until nearly cooked through, around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a splash more water if necessary.
  3. Uncover and cook off any excess liquid; the sauce should be about the consistency of double cream. As you do this, incorporate the tamarind and continue cooking until you have a consistency you like. Taste, adjust the seasoning and serve.
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