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Chicken Chasni From Scratch

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This curry house quality chicken chasni from scratch requires no base sauce!

One of the questions I get asked most is if it’s possible to make curry house style curries without the need for a base sauce. I’ve been working on my curry house recipes and can honestly say that this no base chicken chasni from scratch is just as good if not better than what you’ll get at the takeaway!

So if you’re a fan of the mild, sweet and sour chicken chasni, give this recipe a try. You will also find links to popular side dishes to enjoy your chicken chasni with.

Chicken chasni fron scratch

Look no base! This chicken chasni can be made from scratch in one pan.

But I thought you had to make a base sauce to get restaurant quality chicken chasni?

There’s no doubt about it, curry house curries require a smooth sauce like those you get when you use base sauce.

The thing is, the base sauce was developed over time for speed and economy. It is much faster and cheaper for restaurants to use a base sauce in their curries. Here is the curry house version of my chicken chasni.

I usually use a base sauce in my curry house curries but have since developed this recipe for when I don’t have any base sauce on hand. It works! I promise.

The idea behind this chicken chasni from scratch recipe…

The curry house base sauce is simmered low and slow. With this recipe you are essentially speeding up the process to make this one curry.

Although you could get away with simply frying the onions for about 5 minutes, you could cook them for longer on a low heat which will bring out their natural sweetness.

If you follow this recipe as written, however, you will not be disappointed.

What is the base sauce?

For those of you who don’t have my cookbooks or are new to my blog, let me explain. The base sauce is essentially a watered down onion stock with a few spices and other veggies thrown in.

It’s easy to make in small or large batches and freezes very well. Here is one of my base sauce recipes which includes links to many curry house curries you can make with it.

The sauce is bland. It’s just a base like chicken or vegetable stocks are used as a base in other cuisines. The magic happens when that bland base sauce is used in the different curries. It’s used in to make everything from the mildest korma to the spiciest phall.

To blend or not to blend…

In the recipe, I blend the sauce so that it is smooth like you get at restaurants and takeaways.

This is just an additional step you can do if you really want to get that takeaway style sauce. If you don’t blend the sauce, you will still get great results.

What do you serve chicken chasni with?

If you’d like to make this curry into a feast, you’ve come to the right place. You could just go for a side of Basmati rice or mushroom fried rice.

If you’d like to make naans, why not try one of these?  Instant naans, Peshwari naans, stove top naans, keema naans, garlic naans, tandoor naans (if you have a tandoor oven), or if you’re cooking outdoors, karahi naans.

Want to start your chicken chasni meal off with a bang? How about fried shop bought poppadoms or if you’re feeling ambitious, make your own poppadoms from scratch and serve them with coriander chutney, red onion chutney, and/or tamarind chutney.

Step by step photos…

Ingredients for chicken chasni

Gather all your ingredients before you start cooking. It’s easier in the long run.

Frying onions, garlic and ginger in the pan

Fry the onions in the oil for about 7 minutes or until soft and translucent. Then stir in the garlic and ginger paste and fry for a further 30 seconds.

Adding ground spices to the pan

Stir in the ground spices and fry for about 30 seconds.

Adding chopped tomatoes to the pan

Now add the chopped tomatoes. Used tinned (canned) for a deeper red colour.

Adding water or chicken stock to pan

Stir in about 70ml (1/4 cup) water or chicken stock.

Simmering sauce

Bring to a simmer and then allow to cool if blending.

Blending sauce

If you prefer a smooth curry house style sauce, blend until smooth with the ketchup, mango chutney and mint sauce.

Simmering sauce

The blended sauce will be too thick. Add water to thin it. If too thick, add water. If too thin, simmer it down.

Adding red food colouring

Stir in the red food colouring if using.

Do I need to use food colouring?

Absolutely not! Chasni curries are known for their bright red colouring. This is all down to red food colouring which adds nothing to the flavour.

If you prefer not to use food colouring, just leave it out. Your curry may not look like a glowing red curry but it will taste the same. 

Adding chicken to the pan

Add the pre-cooked tandoori style chicken and stir it into the sauce.

Do I have to use pre-cooked chicken?

No but it does add another layer of flavour that will improve the curry. If in a rush, you could just stir in some raw chicken and allow it to simmer in the sauce until cooked through.

This time I used my stove top tandoori chicken recipe for this chasni.

Chicken chasni from scratch

Add the cream and a little lemon juice if you like and serve.

chicken chasni from scratch

There you have it! Chicken chasni from scratch, just as good if not better than the takeaway.


Yield: 4

Chicken Chasni From Scratch

chicken chasni from scratch
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 800g chicken breasts – skinned and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 onions – finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika or Kashmiri chilli powder
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • 200ml chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons mango chutney
  • 2 tablespoons mint sauce
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 200ml water or chicken stock
  • 200ml double cream
  • Juice of two limes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped coriander


  1. Heat the oil in a balti pan or wok over medium high heat.
  2. When the oil begins to bubble, throw in the chopped onions and fry for about five minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger paste and allow to fry for a further minutes.
  4. Stir in the cumin, turmeric chilli powder or paprika and fry for a further minute followed by the tomatoes.
  5. Now place the onion mixture in a blender with the mango chutney, mint sauce, ketchup, two tablespoons of the chopped coriander and the water/stock.
  6. Blend for two minutes until very smooth. You don’t want any chunks in this sauce.
  7. Wipe the pan clean and add a drop more oil into it if needed.
  8. Add the chicken pieces and brown them for a couple of minutes and the top with the smooth sauce.
  9. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Then add the double cream and simmer for a further few minutes.
  10. Season with salt and pepper to taste, squeeze the lime juice over the top and garnish with the remaining coriander.

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I hope you enjoy this chicken chasni from scratch recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Ian Harris

Monday 19th of June 2023

I cooked this last week. I didn't have any mint sauce so substituted with red wine vinegar. It was an amazing curry. I have two of your books and they are my inspiration for making curries. Thanks for all your hard work that makes our curries easier.


Dan Toombs

Tuesday 20th of June 2023

Thank you very much for your support and I’m glad the red wine vinegar worked. Dan

Mike Miller

Friday 7th of October 2022

First time I've tried this recipe from scratch and have to be honest made with a base curry is still my favourite but still a beautiful curry, thanks Dan

Dan Toombs

Thursday 13th of October 2022

Yes but this is a good compromise if you are out of base sauce. Thanks Dan

Graham Gledhill

Thursday 4th of August 2022

A few things missing from the ingredients, like paprika and what to do with the tomatoes?

Many thanks

Dan Toombs

Thursday 4th of August 2022

Thanks for noticing, I have added paprika or chilli to the ingredient list and method. The tomatoes are added in step 4 Dan


Wednesday 9th of January 2019

Loved the recipe Dan, one of my favourite curries! I bought your book and liked the base curry sauce recipe and was wondering if that could be incorporated into the Chasni somehow? Thanks!

Dan Toombs

Monday 14th of January 2019

Hi Tony - Chicken chasni is usually made with base sauce. In my red book I have a chasni recipe that uses it. Think of the base sauce as you would an authentic Indian base masala of fried onions and spices. It is the liquid that cooks the curry. Just follow the recipe and use base sauce instead of frying the onions etc.

Thanks, Dan

Christine Miller

Thursday 21st of December 2017

This is always a winner in our house!

Beautiful recipe, the only problem is it is so moreish so we double up all the ingredients to make a mega pot of this. It never lasts long!

Thanks, Dan; wishing you continued success with the book, it’s a gem.

Dan Toombs

Monday 5th of February 2018

Hi Christine

Thank you so much. I'm really happy you are enjoying the recipes. Much appreciated.


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