South Indian garlic chilli curry on plate with rice and naan

South Indian Garlic Chilli Chicken Curry

If you love garlic, chilli and curries then this South Indian Garlic Chilli Chicken Curry recipe is the one for you! It’s fragrant, layered and complex with just the perfect hint of spice.

Takeaway At Home

You’ll find a lot of recipes online saying that you need a ‘base gravy’ for making curries. And that’s because most Indian takeaways do use a base gravy for making all their curry recipes. And that includes Garlic Chilli Chicken. 

However, I’ve created this recipe that you don’t require to make a specific element in advance to create it. All the ingredients listed below are all you require.

Its straight-forward, easy to follow and will rival any takeaway option you could get!

Why I Love It

It is a curry that it perfect for batch cooking and meal prep – as it stores and reheats well.

People really won’t believe you made it yourself!

Perfect to save money and make for your Indian-style Fakeaway at home when trying to spend less cash.

Ingredients

Chicken / Lamb: I personally prefer using lamb for this curry, but chicken is the more popular choice. Whatever your preference, the cooking method stays the same

Ghee / Fat / Oil: ghee is the traditional choice, but opt for vegetable oil if you don’t have any

Ginger: if necessary, you could use 1 tablespoon of ginger puree/paste.

Garlic: lots and lots of garlic, it is in the name after all.  if necessary, although I wouldn’t recommend it for this specific recipe you could use 2-3 tablespoons of garlic puree/paste.

Onion: I’m using brown onions

Tomato Puree

Chillis: I use small green chillis (stalks removed & roughly chopped), as they give the best flavour. If using a different type, 

Stock: use stock that matches your protein of choice, so chicken, lamb or vegetable.

Tomatoes: if you don’t have fresh tomatoes, then use 2 tins of chopped tomatoes instead. Worth noting that it may alter cooking time.

Tinned Tomatoes: chopped is preferred, but if you use peeled whole tomatoes then squeeze them with your hands when you add to the pan.

Salt

Sugar

Spices

Coriander Seeds: can be swapped for ground coriander and added with other ground spices instead 

Cumin Seeds: can be swapped for ground cumin and added with other ground spices instead 

Fennel Seeds: can be swapped for ground fennel and added with other ground spices instead 

Although I’m saying you can use ground spices, using whole spices will result in a much more fragrant and more traditionally tasting curry. It’s why I’ve chosen to use the more ‘common’ whole spices in this form. 

Curry Leaves: optional, and not essential 

Cardamom: in a previous iteration of this recipe, I did use whole cardamom pods (slightly crushed). These were added with the whole spices and removed later in the recipe. If you have them available, then feel free to use them instead. As I state above, the whole spices will result in a tastier curry. 

Tumeric

Fenugreek

Cinnamon

As is the case with lots of curries, don’t worry too much if you don’t have one specific spice. Missing one ingredient will not alter the course of the whole recipe. Just make sure you keep the garlic and chillis in!

How To Make Garlic Chilli Chicken

Melt chicken/lamb fat and ghee (or vegetable oil) in a pan

Season cubed chicken or lamb with salt & pepper and cook until browned (this ensures depth of flavour) 

Remove meat from pan and set aside (this will be added back in later)

Slightly crush coriander seeds in mortar & pestle then add to pan with fennel & cumin seeds – fry for few minutes until fragrant. If swapping any of these whole spices for their ground counterpart, then add them with the rest of the spices with the onions.

Add finely diced onions, grated ginger (or puree if using) & garlic, curry leaves, cardamom, turmeric, fenugreek and cinnamon to pan 

Add more fat or ghee (it’s a curry!), cook on medium heat for approx 30mins with lid on, stirring occasionally. Cooking with the lid on will retain moisture in the curry.

Add tomato paste & chopped green chillis and fry for a few minutes

Then pour in chicken (or lamb) stock, tinned tomatoes, vine tomatoes and previously browned cubed chicken/lamb

Simmer on medium heat for approx 1.5hrs (keep an eye on it).

Ensure to stir at regular intervals to make sure the curry doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add sugar & salt when it’s reached desired consistency and stir through a generous helping of fresh chopped coriander.

Serve with rice, naan etc. – I personally opt for both!

South Indian garlic chilli

FAQs

Can I make this vegetarian?

Yes – use vegetable oil and substitute the chicken / lamb for paneer or chunks of vegetables and use vegetable stock. Add the cooked paneer/cooked vegetables in at the end so they don’t get mushy though.

Can this be made dairy free?

Yes – the recipe is wholly dairy free if using vegetable oil (and not ghee, which is clarified butter).

I don’t have/can’t find one of the spices, what should I do?

As is the case with lots of curries, don’t worry too much if you don’t have one specific spice. Missing one ingredient will not alter the course of the whole recipe. Just make sure you keep the garlic and chillis in!

Can I make this in the slow cooker?

As it requires time to reduce and develop complexity of flavour by layering elements, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Can I make substitutions?

Please refer to my ‘Ingredient’ section above, and let me know in the comments if you have any questions I haven’t covered off.

Storage

The garlic chilli chicken is freezable once cooked. 

It can also be stored in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Either reheat in the microwave straight from frozen, stirring throughout, until piping hot. Or defrost in fridge overnight and heat in microwave until piping hot when you’d like to use.

And finally …

If you have any questions, or want to tell me what you think of my recipe, then leave a comment below!

If you like this recipe and are looking for more Indian Takeaway recipes, then why not try my Chicken Chasni or Spiced Onions.

South Indian garlic chilli curry on plate with rice and naan

South Indian Garlic Chilli Chicken

As you’ve seen from most of my recipes, I get most of my meat from my local butchers now. There really is no comparison when it comes to quality and taste 🤤
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 523 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 500 g chicken breast or cubed lamb
  • 100 g ghee or vegetable oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 30 g ginger or 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 4 onions
  • 8 garlic cloves or 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp curry leaves crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp fenugreek
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 chicken or lamb stock in 350ml water
  • 6 tomatoes vine
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 10 small green chillis stalks removed & roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions
 

  • Melt chicken/lamb fat and ghee in heavy bottomed pot
  • Season cubed chicken/lamb with salt & pepper and cook in pan until browned
  • Remove meat from pan and set aside
  • Crush coriander seeds in mortal & pestle then add to pan with fennel & cumin seeds – fry for few minutes until fragrant
  • Add finely diced onions, grated ginger & garlic, curry leaves, cardamom, turmeric, fenugreek and cinnamon to pan
  • Add more fat or ghee (it’s a curry, ha!), cook on medium heat for approx 30mins with lid on, stirring occasionally
  • Add tomato paste & green chillis and fry for a few minutes before pouring in lamb stock, tinned tomatoes, vine tomatoes and previously browned cubed chicken/lamb – simmer on medium heat for approx 1.5hrs
  • Ensure to stir at regular intervals to make sure the curry doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan
  • Add sugar & salt when it’s reached desired consistency and stir through a generous helping of fresh chopped coriander
  • Serve with rice, naan etc.

Nutrition

Calories: 523kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 29gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 18gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 801mgPotassium: 1071mgFiber: 9gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 1710IUVitamin C: 100mgCalcium: 101mgIron: 5mg
Keyword Batch Cooking
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