Chicken Curry with Yogurt and Caramelized Onions

Here is a recipe for a very simple chicken curry. Not very many ingredients and not very much work. And what work there is can be divided into two parts. Marinate the chicken the evening before and the next day all you have to do is saute the onions till they’re nicely browned and softened, mix in the chicken with the marinade, cover the pot and let it cook itself over low heat. There’s no added water and so you end up with a thick but flavourful gravy that goes wonderfully with a pulao like this one or with parathas. It’s one of those curries that’s both great as weekday/weeknight comfort food and holds its own on a dinner party menu. Give it a go. And if you do, you might want to watch the inevitable Instagram Reel I made of the last time I made it to give you a better idea of the steps. (You do follow me on Instagram, don’t you?)


  • 1 chicken cut into 8-10 pieces; about 3.5-4 lbs
  • 4 tblspns full fat yogurt
  • 1 heaped tblspn ginger-garlic paste
  • 3/4 tspn haldi/turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tspns hot red chilli powder
  • 1 tspn coarsely ground cumin
  • 1 tblspn coarsely ground coriander seed
  • Salt
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 3-4 slit Thai chillies or similar
  • 1 big pinch garam masala
  • 1 tspn jaggery/dark brown sugar (optional)
  • 2 tblspns chopped cilantro or green onions or chives for garnish (optional)
  • 3-4 tblspns neutral oil of choice


  1. Add the yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, haldi, red chilli powder, ground cumin, ground coriander seed and salt to the chicken pieces; mix thoroughly and marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.
  2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a pan with a thick bottom and add the sliced onion. Saute for a couple of minutes, reduce the heat to medium-low and saute, stirring often till the onion has darkened and softened considerably (at least 15 minutes more).
  3. Add the chicken with all its marinade and mix thoroughly.
  4. Raise the heat to a high simmer and saute, stirring often for 5 minutes or so,
  5. Add the slit chillies, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover the pan and cook till the chicken is done.
  6. Add the garam masala, stir in and cook for another minute or so.
  7. Add garnish if using and serve with pulao or parathas/chapatis.


  1. Chicken on the bone is best for a curry like this one as you need the bones for flavour in the gravy—i.e with no liquid being added you can’t use stock to cover for boneless meat.
  2. If you decide to add the gur/brown sugar you should stir it in before adding the chillies. You could also throw in some golden raisins instead of the gur/brown sugar for sweetness. I have to say though that I like this with the tang of the yogurt hitting nicely and prefer to leave the sweet out completely.
  3. If you watched the Reel of this being made you might have noticed that in it I added the chillies after covering the pan. That’s because I forgot to add them before covering the pot.


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