Simple chicken curry

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Meat mains

Simple chicken curry

Main Serves 4 40 min
Nigella Lawson swears by a fish version of this southern Indian style curry. Keeping the background of spices to the minimum gives it freshness, vibrancy and balance, so don't be tempted to add to the list.


  • 300 or 500g diced chicken
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 400g onions, halved and cut into fine half moons
  • 400g sweet potato or butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 2 hot red chillies
  • generous thumb fresh ginger
  • pinch ground cumin
  • 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 1-2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 200g spinach, washed and roughly chopped
  • 600ml chicken stock


Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 30 min
  • Step 1

    Put the diced chicken in a bowl, and stir in a little salt and 1 teaspoon of turmeric. Leave for an hour.
  • Step 2

    Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onions, sprinkling them with a little salt (this will stop them browning). Add the chicken and sweet potato or squash and cook, stirring, until the onions are softened, about 10 minutes.
  • Step 3

    Cut the chillies into thin slices across (include the seeds if you like it hot) and add to the pan of softened onions. Peel the ginger and slice it, then cut the slices into straw-like strips and add them, too, along with the remaining teaspoon of turmeric and the cumin. Fry them with the onions, chicken etc for a few minutes.
  • Step 4

    Pour the tin of coconut milk into a measuring jug and add a tablespoon of tamarind diced chicken paste and the chicken stock. Pour it into the pan, stirring it in to make the delicate curry sauce. Taste and add more tamarind paste if you think it needs it. The end result should be a good balance (in the eye of the beholder) between sweet coconut, sour tamarind and fresh, hot, chilli. Add the spinach leaves and simmer until everything is cooked.

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