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Cumin Chicken Curry – Easy Jeera Murgh

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Cumin Chicken Curry

So good. I made my chicken cumin curry mild for the family but more chillies and/or chilli powder could be added.

I absolutely love this authentic cumin chicken curry recipe! We might be being told to stay home at the moment but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some amazing Indian food!

This easy cumin chicken curry can be made with ingredients you probably have on hand in your freezer and/or larder.

In this recipe I used chicken breast because that was what I had on hand but bone in thighs will get you an even better flavour. 

As for the spices, feel free to use up that curry powder you have in the cupboard if you don’t have the other spices on hand.

After all… curry powder is essentially just a garam masala with chilli, dried ingredients like garlic and onion, turmeric and fenugreek added. It will work really well in this chicken cumin curry!

If you do want to use curry powder instead of adding the individual spices, just add roughly the same amount or to taste. 

Taste as you go and have fun with it! That’s what cooking delicious curries like this famous chicken cumin curry is all about. Use this recipe as a guide but be sure to try it as it cooks and add whatever you have that sounds good.

Tinned chickpeas, tomatoes, leftover lentils… Adding these will make a different but equally as delicious curry.

If you don’t have any yoghurt, you could just add water or chicken stock.

Again, this will give you a different end result but I have tried it and it works. Water is perfect if you are cooking your cumin chicken curry with meat on the bone.

Let the cumin chicken curry cook for longer and you have a delicious stock to serve over rice. 

Making cumin chicken curry

Only two tablespoons of roasted, ground cumin are needed. I made a lot more. Great to have on hand.

Tip: Spices are better when roasted and ground. It is a lot cheaper to purchase your spices whole too!

When making a recipe like this, I usually roast and grind more than I need for the recipe.

The ground spices will be much better than you can purchase ready-ground at the shop.

Store the freshly roasted and ground spices in an air-tight container in a cool, dark location like your kitchen larder cupboard. 


Making cumin chicken curry

Thinly slice your onion and cut into smaller pieces too.

Making cumin chicken curry

Fry the onions for about 10 minutes until golden brown.

I have used brown onions for this recipe but you could also use red onions or shallots. Just use what you have in and I’m sure it will be delicious. 

By the way, if you are into authentic Indian cooking, you should also try my Punjabi chicken curry!


Making cumin chicken curry

You only need to cook in about 2 tbsp of oil. The rest can be kept for future uses. This is awesome seasoned oil.

Making cumin chicken curry

Infuse two tbsp of cumin seeds over medium heat in the oil for about 30 seconds. Watch it! Don’t burn your cumin.

Making cumin chicken curry

Now add the cubed chicken, chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala and ground coriander. Fry to brown.

Making cumin chicken curry

Add enough water to almost cover the chicken. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Making cumin chicken curry

Stir in the ground cumin. Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Making cumin chicken curry

Add the yoghurt on tbsp at a time. Be sure to whisk it in so it doesn’t separate.

Making cumin chicken curry

Season with salt to taste. Then taste and adjust seasoning.

If you don’t have or if you don’t eat chicken, why not try something else as a main ingredient? Cumin is a strong spice so other meats can stand up to it. This recipe would also be delicious with potatoes or a variety of different vegetables. 

I have personally tried making this with tinned (canned) jackfruit and it was amazing! 


Yield: 3 - 4

Easy Cumin Chicken Curry

Cumin Chicken Curry
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 700g (approx. 1 1/2 lbs.) Chicken cut into bit sized pieces
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1 onion - thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 generous tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 2 green bird's eye chillies - finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) water
  • 2 - 3 generous tbsp natural plain yoghurt
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp fresh coriander - finely chopped (optional)


  1. Roast and grind 2 tbsp of cumin seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat until fragrant and warm to the touch. Be careful not to burn the cumin or it will become bitter. Grind the cumin in a mortar or spice grinder and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the sliced onions and fry for about 10 min until golden brown in colour but not burnt.
  3. Transfer the fried onions with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to soak up excess oil. You only need 2 tbsp of oil for the curry. Transfer the rest to a jar to use as seasoned oil in other recipes.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add 2 tbsp of cumin seeds to the oil and fry for about 20 seconds to infuse their flavour into the oil.
  5. Stir in the garlic and ginger paste and fry for about 30 seconds, just to cook off the rawness. Add the chopped chillies and the turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala and ground cumin and stir well to combine.
  6. Now add the chicken and fry for about five minutes to brown in the oil and spice mixture. Add the water and cover the pan to continue simmering for another five minutes.
  7. Return the fried onions to the pan and stir well.
  8. Cover the pan again and simmer for another five minutes.
  9. Add the yoghurt one tablespoon at a time and continue cooking until you are happy with the sauce consistency. You can always add more yoghurt or water/stock if you prefer more sauce.
  10. Season with salt to taste and garnish with fresh coriander to serve.

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Making cumin chicken curry

Dig in! You can adjust the sauce by adding more yoghurt or water if you wish.

Paul Hogan

Sunday 14th of March 2021

Would it be a good idea to add your easy base curry sauce to this recipe to make it a bit more saucy

Dan Toombs

Monday 15th of March 2021

Yes, you could certainly do that. Dan


Tuesday 5th of January 2021

Hi Dan, I love your recipes and have a couple of your books but I really wish you could spend more time on the fonts and colours of the text on your site - the font under the photos is so small I have to enlarge the fonts 2-3 times to see it. And in the comments box you've used italic in a pale grey which is practically unreadable - I'm sitting here squinting like crazy just to see what I'm typing! I'm using the latest Firefox on Windows 10 if you need to check but it would be nice if you could fix this for future recipes so it's more readable for those of us that don't have 20/20 vision!

Anyway, on a cooking note, when you say whisk in the yoghurt one tbsp at a time do you mean actually use a whisk or do you just mean stir in it? I find that my yoghurt is always curdling when I add it to a hot curry so how exactly do you avoid that? And what is the best yoghurt to use to avoid the curdling - I've tried full fat and low fat Greek and normal yoghurt and it always seem to curdle - even if only a little bit, but it often affects the taste, o I'd be keen to know how you stop this from happening.

Dan Toombs

Thursday 7th of January 2021

You could just use a fork to add the yoghurt, this should lessen the risk of it curdling as opposed to simply stirring it in. Reduce the temperature of the curry a bit too if you have having a problem with it curdling. I generally use full fat yoghurt.

I have never had a complaint about the legibility of the text before but will look into it.

Thanks Dan


Saturday 6th of June 2020

Hi Dan,

Love your recipes, just trying this one out and I noticed that the ingredients list calls for ground coriander but it doesn't specify in the instructions when it should go in. I assumed with the rest of the spices, but just a heads up! Cheers.

Dan Toombs

Sunday 7th of June 2020

Hi Daniel Yes, add the coriander with the rest of the spices. Thanks Dan

Denise Nesbitt

Saturday 4th of April 2020

I will definitely be trying this!

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 7th of April 2020

Great! Hope you do. Thanks. Dan

Supriya Kutty

Friday 3rd of April 2020

Thank you so much for sharing such amazing recipes with us, it was a total pleasure reading it and also got know so much from it will surely help me in preparing other dishes as well, will also share this with my friends and family as well for their future reference.

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 7th of April 2020

Hi Supriya

Thank you so much. I'm really happy you liked the recipes. Dan

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