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British Indian Restaurant Style Pre-Cooked Chicken

Pre-cooked chicken not only makes curry better but tastier too.

Pre-cooked chicken for British Indian restaurant style curries

Pre-cooked chicken in its delicious cooking stock.

Why pre-cook your chicken?

Pre-cooked chicken, meat and veggies play in the preparation of British Indian restaurant style meals. Pre-cooking the chicken until tender not only makes cooking in Indian restaurants faster but tastier too.

This is very important with tougher cuts of meat like lamb, goat, beef and pork but chicken and other meats benefit too.

I like to vary my recipes for pre-cooked chicken and meat. I change them often but at the end of the day it’s all done to give the meat that famous British Indian restaurant flavour.

This is done not only for flavour but speed. If you have your pre-cooked chicken and its stock ready, you can whip up curry house style curries in minutes!

Think about it… A delicious chicken curry whenever you want it for much less than the local takeaway!

About this recipe.

I pre-cook chicken in several different ways. So if one of my curry house recipes calls for pre-cooked chicken, you could use any of these methods.

For tandoori style chicken, I marinate the chicken pieces in a yogurt marinade for up to 48 hours and then cook it fast in my tandoor oven, home oven or on the barbecue.

The yogurt works as a tenderiser for the chicken meat. The end result can served as is or it can be added to curries such as tandoori chicken tikka masala. You can check out my ‘go-to’ tandoori style chicken tikka recipe here.

The other way I prepare chicken is to simmer it in a fragrant broth for about 30 minutes until cooked through. This is the following recipe. Cooking chicken like this gives the chicken a much lighter flavour and softer texture.

It’s a good way to cook chicken for curries such as chicken korma where I lighter look and flavour is usually preferred.

You could use either method for your curries. Use the marinated tandoori chicken tikka to make tandoori chicken tikka masala.

Use the stewing method with small bite sized chicken pieces (tikka) to make chicken tikka masala. I think you get the idea… Do you want chicken korma or tandoori chicken tikka korma? The choice is all yours.

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Yield: 8

British Indian Restaurant Style Pre-Cooked Chicken

British Indian Restaurant Style Pre-Cooked Chicken

You can cook any cut of chicken this way but the most popular way is to cook chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces. I like to cook chicken thighs on the bone for even more awesome flavour.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 1 kilo (2 lbs.) skinned chicken pieces
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 inch piece of cassia bark or cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 large onions - finely chopped
  • 400ml chopped tomatoes
  • 3 bayleaves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt


  1. Heat the oil over medium high heat until very quite hot but not yet smoking.
  2. Add the whole spices and the bay leaves and stir continuously so that the spices don't burn. Watch carefully, you want the oil to take on the flavour of the spices but you don't want them to brown.
  3. Add the chopped onions and stir to combine.
  4. Continue stirring from time to time for about ten minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.
  5. Add just a bit of salt. This will release some of the excess water from the onions.
  6. Now add the turmeric and mix it in.
  7. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and cover the pot to let all the flavours get to know each other.
  8. After about ten more minutes, add the chicken pieces and just enough water to cover the chicken.
  9. Cover again and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
  10. Remove from the heat to cool for use in your curries.


The cooled chicken can be stored in the fridge for up to three days or frozen.

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Sunday 22nd of November 2020

Hello Dan and Caroline

I have seen different variations of your Pre cooked Chicken recipe. This one on your blog doesn't include any garlic and ginger paste or coriander seeds. Have these been missed or can the recipe be used as is.



Dan Toombs

Thursday 26th of November 2020

Hi Lee Those ingredients tend to be added later according to the recipe instructions for the sort of curry you are making. Thanks Dan

Keith Johnston

Thursday 27th of August 2020

Hi Dan, when you add tomato paste to a recipe are you referring to tomato purée?

Dan Toombs

Thursday 27th of August 2020

Hi Keith Yes, tomato puree works well or the pasata you can buy from supermarkets in cartons. Thanks Dan

Nick C

Friday 19th of June 2020

Hi mate, I've made the precooked chicken and stock I was just wondering if I'm supposed to siv the stock and just keep the liquid or keep the lot and fish out the whole spices?

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 23rd of June 2020

Hi Nick Take the whole pieces of spices out and it should be fine to eat. Thanks Dan

Mandy Moore

Saturday 7th of April 2018

Hi Dan a quick question once you cook your chicken and save the stock do you sieve it threw all use all the stock as last time I sieve it through and just let the water stock not sure if that is correct all use all as a stock

Dan Toombs

Monday 30th of April 2018

Hi Mandy

Do whatever is convenient. As I make a lot of curries using the base sauce, I often add the sieved stock instead of or with water to make a base sauce that is just for chicken. I do the same with lamb. You could also just make the base stock to use in all curries with water and top up your chicken curries with a little of the chicken stock for flavour. One good way to do this is to reduce it down and then freeze it in ice cube trays. Just throw in a couple of stock ice cubes to add flavour.

Thanks, Dan

Anthony Mancini

Tuesday 27th of March 2018

Sorry for a really silly question but as I am quite new to cooking I need to check. If I was to pre-cook my chicken the day before for instance then add to the chosen curry sauce (which will then be dished up and eaten), will I be ok putting any left overs in fridge and warming back up (ensuring its piping hot) the next day ? I worry about reheating chicken etc.

Thanks and your recipes are amazing


Dan Toombs

Monday 30th of April 2018

Hi Anthony

No problem. At least I do it all the time and I've never had any problems with it.

Thanks, Dan

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