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Traditional Chicken Curry Recipe


Traditional Chicken Curry is the most delicious entree of people in South India and is slowly getting famous after ‘Tikka Masala’ in other countries as well.

Try this authentic recipe to please your appetite and you will soon get addicted to it. My mom used to make one of her delicious chicken curries every Sunday night.

All my Indian recipes are as traditional and authentic as they can get but if you can afford a helper in the kitchen, it will take just half the time to make it.


The Recipe

Traditional Chicken Curry

Traditional Chicken Curry is the most sought after dish in South India that is very authentic and immensely flavorful with aromatic spices.
Prep Time15 mins
Active Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: authentic, desi, spicy, traditional, yummy
Yield: 6
Calories: 240kcal
Author: Simi


  • Instant Pot
  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Big Bowl
  • Instant Pot Glass Lid
  • Frying Pan
  • Spice Blender
  • Spatula
  • Apron
  • Gloves


Marination (Prep – 5 mins)

  • 1 Kg Whole Chicken (Skinned) (1-inch pieces with leg pieces intact)
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
  • ½ Cup Chopped Cilantro
  • ½ Cup Chopped Mint

Saute and Wet Grind (Prep – 4 mins)

  • 1 tbsp Ghee
  • 8 Count Whole Cashew nuts
  • 1 Cup Sliced Onion
  • 1 Cup Sliced Tomato

Saute and Cook (Prep – 5 mins)

  • 4 tbsp Avocado Oil
  • 1 Cup Sliced Onion
  • ¼ Cup Chopped Curry Leaves
  • 2 Count Bay Leaves
  • 1 Count Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 tsp Caraway seeds
  • 2 Count Dry Red Chilis
  • 8 Count Slit Green Chilies (8 Tiny Indian Green Chilies or 2 Raw Jalapenos Chopped)
  • 2 tsp Salt (Adjust salt to your tasting needs)

After Cook – Resting time (Prep – 1 min)

  • 1 tbsp Corriander Powder
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala Powder
  • 3 sprigs Chopped Cilantro
  • ¼ Cup Water


Marinate the Chicken

  • Place the washed chicken in a big bowl and mix it well with all the ingredients under "Marination" group and put aside for 20 mins to marinate

Wet Grind Puree (10 mins)

  • Heat ghee in a frying pan for 4 mins and then, Saute cashew nuts, onion, and tomato for 6 mins or until onions turn light brown in color (ingredients under "Saute and Wet Grind" group)
  • Keep it aside to cool down for 5 mins and then use the blender to make a Puree and put it aside

Cook the Chicken (~30 mins)

  • Turn on the Instant Pot in 'Saute' mode and heat Avocado oil for 4 mins
  • Add the ingredients under "Saute and Cook" group in the pot one by one in that order and fry for 5 mins or until onions turn light brown in color
  • Add the marinated chicken pieces into the Instant Pot now and use a spatula to mix everything together for 5 more mins, do not let anything burn
  • Add the prepared Puree (under the Wet Gride Puree) and Switch off the 'Saute' Mode
  • Close the Instant Pot with its lid and set the manual timer to 4 mins and make sure the valve on the lid is set in 'Sealing' position to pressure cook the Chicken
  • Instant Pot will beep once done and let the steam release naturally in 10 mins before opening the lid

Resting Time (5 mins)

  • Open the lid and mix the last four ingredients under "After Cook – Resting time" group and immediately close it with its Glass Lid (Do not use its Pressure Lid), let it sit for 2 mins
  • Garnish with Cilantro again and this curry is best served with hot Steam Rice or Chapathi (Wheat Tortilla) – drools, enjoy 🙂


  1. Always wear an Apron and Gloves and turn up some music and cook with ♥ (hidden ingrediet in the Kitchen)
  2. For cooking any dish, you need patience not only to prepare and cook it but also wait until it is fully cooked (mid-way aroma is tempting)
  3. For the ingredient, ‘Garam Masala’, it is very important that you either buy the fresh quality from the store (or) make it at home and store it
  4. The links are made available to you to buy all the ingredients from online store for your convenience but I would still recommend you to shop in a closeby Indian Grocery for freshness 
  5. Pro-Tip: All Indian dishes cook with a lot of spices, the more you keep the lid on it (unless its a fried entree), the more it is absorbed and does not dissipate 
  6. Check FAQ for frequenty asked questions and answers

Equipment Required for the Recipe:

I am all about eating healthy so while my priority is to choose the affordable equipment for you, I also pay attention to what is healthy for you.

For example, I will not suggest you buy a plastic cutting board as it is unhealthy or a frying pan that is not titanium made.

The cast iron pan is good but that is heavy and not friendly to handle and stainless steel is also good but easily burns food while cooking.

Another thing is that I want you to save money by buying the Indian blender one-time (works as new for 12 years or so) as most of my recipes are Indian-rich.

If you do not plan to cook Indian much, I suggest using the blender you have at home or buy a magic bullet or alike.

Products to purchase for this recipe:

Ingredients to purchase for this recipe:

Below is the link you can use to get a 14-day trial with Instacart. You can buy the ingredients in my recipe above found easily in this online grocery delivery store based on your location.

Please note that the quantities you buy can be used for many other recipes. I put this link here so it is easier for you especially if you do not have an Indian grocery closeby.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

What Chicken should I buy?

Buy whole chicken that is skinless, you can get it from Costco or at a butcher, the fresh the better. Let the butcher cut the whole chicken into 1-inch pieces except for legs. Certainly prefer pasture-raised, organic, antibiotic-free meat.

But I never cooked Indian food, any tips for me?

Yes, please make sure you wear gloves at all times to protect hands and nails and also cover your eyes with transparent glasses for two reasons below:
1. It will help avoid anything to get into your eyes as we deal with spices and,
2. Onions produce the chemical irritant known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide. It stimulates the eyes’ lachrymal glands so they release tears.

I love Indian food in restaurants a lot but not sure if it’s healthy?

Good question, I do not prefer restaurant food frequently for my family because restaurants are all about the bottom line. The ingredients are of low quality and cooking oil is a huge issue, they simply cannot afford to cook using Avocado oil which is the healthiest at high temperatures due to its smoking point. You can read about the most used Canola oil in restaurants here –

Do I really need an Instant Pot to cook this recipe?

No, you do not need an Instant Pot (IP) to cook this chicken curry recipe. You can do it in a regular pressure cooker (cook up to 3 vessels) if available or simply in non-stick cookware preferably Titanium-made with a lid. The chicken will cook in nearly 15 minutes (depends on your stove and heat) versus 4 minutes in Instant Pot high heat setting. I chose IP for a quick turnaround.

Can I substitute with another meat of my choice and use the same recipe as described above?

Yes, you can but just make sure that the cooking time defers between different meats. Red meats normally take more time to cook, adjust the time accordingly.

The chicken recipe looks spicy to me, is there a way I can make it mild?

Please do not use red chili powder, red chilies and reduce both ginger garlic paste and green chilis or just totally avoid them. Without these four ingredients, the curry will be mild only with the garam masala spices but still very tasty.

12 thoughts on “Traditional Chicken Curry Recipe”

    • Thank you Ros, good to know your grandparents are from North India, yes the recipes I write is from South India, very traditional forms of those. The cuisines are very different from North to South, glad you will try it, Thanks.

  1. The dish looks yummy and the way it has been explained step by step makes it very easy for novice in cooking like me to also try it! Thanks for sharing this.

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Simi is a science graduate and a passionate lifestyle blogger from the melting pot who loves to share what she is good at. She desires to write easy to understand blog posts based on research, studies, and experiences and also shares her amazing travel adventures to inspire her readers. Simi is married to her grad school sweetheart, Vincent, and they live with their two sweet furry kids (doggies), Chui and Mui.