Vivek Singh’s Old Delhi-style chicken curry

Ingredients (Serves 4)


  • 1 free range chicken, approximately 1.4 kg skinned and cut into 4 pieces on the bone

For the marinade



  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or corn oil
  • 2 tablespoons Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  •  teaspoons red chilli powder
  • 120g Greek-style yoghurt
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala

For the sauce



  • 1.2kg tomatoes, cut in half
  • 125 ml water
  • 5cm (2-inch) piece of fresh ginger, half crushed and half finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled and left whole
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon red chilli powder
  • 80g butter, diced
  • 2 green chillies, slit into quarters
  • 75ml single cream
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  •  1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves, crushed
  • 1½ tablespoons sugar


Make small cuts all over the chicken pieces to help the marinade penetrate. To marinate the chicken, mix it with the ginger and garlic paste, oil, salt, lemon and chilli powder and leave for 10 minutes. Then mix the yoghurt and garam masala together and apply to the chicken.

Set aside for another 10 minutes, if you have time, or proceed to cook either on a barbecue on skewers or in an oven preheated to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7 for 15–18 minutes.

The chicken should be not quite cooked. Strain off the juices through a fine sieve and keep them separately.

For the sauce, put the tomatoes in a pan with the water, crushed ginger, garlic and whole spices and bring to the boil. Simmer until the tomatoes have completely disintegrated. Now blend this tomato broth with a hand-held blender and pass it through a sieve to obtain a smooth purée.

Return to a clean pan, add the chilli powder and simmer for 12–15 minutes. It should slowly begin to thicken. When the sauce turns glossy, add the chicken pieces and the reserved roasting juices. Then add a cup of water and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Now slowly whisk the butter in and simmer for 8–10 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the sauce begins to acquire a glaze. Add the chopped ginger, slit green chillies and cream and simmer for a minute or two longer, taking care that the sauce does not split.

Stir in the salt, crushed fenugreek leaves and garam masala, then check the seasoning and add the sugar.

Serve with hot Naan Bread or pilau rice.


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