India continues to occupy its historic position as the world’s largest spice producer. There is something magical about Indian herbs and spices that transform simple ingredients into exotic dishes. It is a common assumption that among the traditional uses of spices was their role in disguising food that was beyond its prime. It is not until the middle of the 17th century that a more selective use of spices and herbs becomes visible. The British love affair with Indian food dates back to the early 17th century. Edward Terry, one of the first Englishmen to taste Indian food with all its goodness, spoke about onions, ginger, herbs and spices with chunks of meat that are used in well proportioned quantities, thus cooking foods that are extremely palatable for all palates. . In the UK, take a word association test and say “spicy” and the answer would be “curry.” They are surely perfectly normal, since no other food is so inextricably linked with aroma and flavor as Indian curry. The smell of Indian curry excites the taste buds in a unique and inimitable way and that for us is comfort food.
Nothing uses the fabulous spices of India like a good curry does. While these curries can be made with a host of ingredients like seafood, lamb, pork, and an incredible variety of veggies, chicken seems to be the most universally popular and for good reason! It’s very hard to go wrong with a chicken curry because this is not a hard and fast rule when it comes to making one.
When it comes to curry recipes in India, there is no limit. Each state, region, and even family has its own unique recipe. No matter what part of the country you are in, you can be sure to eat a good chicken curry. From the delicious creamy and rich curries of the north, the light and flavorful jholes of the east, and the variety of coconut-based chicken curries from the west and south of India, the list is endless.
Northern chicken curries are rich, thick, and more robust compared to those made in other parts of the country. They are also the ones who popularized curry abroad. The likes of butter chicken and chicken tikka masala use tandoor or grilled chicken in a thick, creamy tomato-based curry and butter. There are also simpler ones like a chicken dhaba curry or tariwala murgha that do not have a creamy, buttery sauce, but have a high flavor of whole spices, onions and tomatoes. Best eaten with roti and crunchy paranthas, they could easily be the star attraction in an Indian meal.
In southern India, chicken curry is as popular as in the north, although it is made from different ingredients. While in the north, curries are made with onion, tomato and yogurt, in the south, coconut or coconut milk is a common complement to give body to a good chicken curry. From Karnataka’s cold coconut and bedagi masala to the curry-leaf and onion base of a spicy Andhra-style chicken curry or Kerala’s refreshing coconut milk-based curry: there is one thing that is common in the curry of the south: a lot of flavor. These delicious curries are served with famous South Indian side dishes like idlis, dosas, appams, iddiappams, Kerala paranthas, etc.
A Bengal chicken curry, on the other hand, is a bit more liquid than elsewhere in the country and is called a jhol. While you may be more familiar with an eastern curried machcher or fish, they also make a delicious chicken curry – murgir jhol. Eaten with a generous helping of rice, be sure to make this Bengali curry with mustard oil or jhorna ghee.
In the West, Gujarat and Rajasthan are predominantly vegetarian, but Maharashtra makes up for the region’s lack of good chicken curry. Kolhapur’s tasty pandhra or white curry and fiery tambda rassas are world famous. Even the Malvan coast boasts of delicious chicken curry served with crispy multi-colored fried vadas called vade or rice flour bhakris called amboli.
One of the simplest chicken curries you can make is a homemade chicken curry with the most basic ingredients at home. All you need to do is heat some oil or ghee in a pan and saute some whole spices. Add an onion puree and sauté followed by tomato puree, powdered spices, and bone-in chicken pieces and cook until chicken is cooked through and juicy. As this is a quick and easy chicken curry, the chicken is added directly to the curry, but you can also deep-fry it before adding it to the curry. You can view a complete video recipe with exact ingredient measurement and step-by-step methods here. You can find all these delicious Indian chicken curry recipes easily online now.