Spicy andhra chicken curry

Spicy andhra chicken curry

I Love Curry
Jonathan Gregson

Andhra is a region known for its great hot food and this dish is just that, bold and absolutely wonderful. Although it might look complicated, it’s actually quite easy to cook and, as it uses boneless chicken, all comes together quite quickly. The chicken would normally be deep-fried before being added to the sauce, but I don’t do that. It’s up to you. If the dish seems too spicy, add a little milk, light cream or coconut milk to tame the flavours. White poppy seeds have a lovely taste and creaminess, you can make it without them but I recommend you seek them out as they are a fantastic store cupboard ingredient. This is great with rice and Indian breads.

For the curry


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon white poppy seeds
6 cloves
1cm cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns or ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
3-6 dried red chillies, seeds shaken out if you prefer
20g fresh root ginger, peeled weight
6 fat garlic cloves
salt, to taste
400g boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breast, in 5cm pieces
5-6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 smallish tomatoes, blended to a smooth puree
14 fresh curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander

For the marinade

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste
2 heaped tablespoons yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon juice, or to taste


  1. Using a mortar and pestle, or a spice grinder, grind together the whole spices and chillies to a fine powder. Separately blend together the ginger and garlic to a fine paste, adding a little water to help. Take around one-third of this paste and mix it with the marinade ingredients, adding ¼ tsp of salt. Add to the chicken, mix well and marinate for as long as possible, up to overnight in the refrigerator, though even 30 minutes will help.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the onion and sauté until golden brown. Add the remaining ginger-garlic paste and cook until the water has evaporated, then continute to cook gently until the garlic is colouring. Add the tomatoes and curry leaves and cook for six to eight minutes over high heat until the oil is released on the sides of the pan; stir more as it thickens.
  3. Add the ground whole spices, cumin, coriander, salt and a good splash of water. Cook until the pan dries out, stirring often. Add another splash of water and repeat. By now the sauce should be cooked and homogenous.
  4. Add the chicken and its marinade. Continue cooking over a high heat, stirring constantly until the yogurt has been incorporated. Add 150ml water, bring to a boil and cook until the chicken is done (around five minutes for breast and eight for thighs). Stir often, as it will help bring the sauce to a lovely creamy consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste; you may want more chilli powder or lemon juice.
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