If you like cumin, you are going to love this jeera chicken curry!
I absolutely love this authentic jeera chicken curry recipe! Cumin ‘jeera’ is the second most popular spice in the world, second only to black pepper. Don’t be scared off by how much cumin is used in an authentic jeera chicken curry as it mellows as it cooks and is out of this world delicious.
This jeera chicken curry is so good served simply over fluffy Basmati rice or pilau rice. In fact, it’s pretty amazing with any of these flavoured rice dishes. You might also like to serve it with Bombay potatoes or homemade naans and chapatis.
About this jeera chicken curry recipe
This is a recipe I learned while traveling through New Delhi. I wasn’t there long but was able to try a good homemade jeera chicken at a little food stall near our hotel. It was amazing and I simply had to get the recipe.
Unfortunately, the chefs didn’t speak English but they did let me watch what was going on and this is my interpretation of that amazing feast.
How do you make authentic tasting jeera chicken?
As the name implies, this jeera chicken recipe is all about the cumin. Four tablespoons in all! Half of the cumin is toasted until fragrant and warm to the touch before grinding. The rest is infused into oil giving it a different and equally as delicious.
Another important step is browning the onions which are used both in the jeera chicken curry and as a garnish. You are going to love this jeera chicken!
Can you work ahead?
Yes. Go ahead and prepare this jeera chicken curry a couple of days ahead of cooking. The flavours will develop and it will be even better.
How long does jeera chicken last in the fridge?
It will keep, covered in the fridge for at least three days.
Can you freeze jeera chicken curry?
Yes. It freezes really well. If you are freezing leftovers, just place it in a suitable container and freeze. On the other hand, if you are making it for later and wish to freeze your jeera chicken curry, leave out the yoghurt.
Yoghurt and other dairy products don’t freeze well but your curry will still be delicious if you have to freeze it with the yoghurt in the sauce.
How do you reheat this curry?
If you are taking it out of the fridge, you could just microwave it until hot. Better would be to place it in a saucepan and heat it up slowly. If doing this, you might need to add a drop of water.
If reheating from frozen, let it defrost completely. Then reheat using one of the above mentioned methods.
- Be sure to follow the recipe exactly. It is important to toast the cumin seeds before grinding them.
- Make this jeera chicken a couple of days ahead of serving and it will be even better.
- Be careful not to burn the spices. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to the ground spices to ensure they don’t burn.
Step by step photos.
What does toasting the cumin seeds do?
By toasting the cumin seeds, you are bringing out their natural oils and in doing so, giving the cumin an amazing flavour. In the photo above, you see whole untoasted cumin seeds and the ground, toasted cumin seeds.
As you can see, just a few seconds of toasting also darkens the seeds and gives the curry a darker colour too.
Easy Cumin Chicken Curry
- 700g (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)
- Toast 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 into a powder and set aside.
- 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. 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. If you want, you can transfer the rest to a jar to use as seasoned oil in other recipes.
- 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. 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. Your pan will look quite dry from the spices so add a couple tablespoons of water so that they don't burn.
- Now stir in the chicken and fry for about five minutes to brown in the oil and spice mixture. Return all but a couple tablespoons of the fried onions to the pan and the remaining water to the pan and stir well. Cover the pan and simmer for another five minutes.
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. Season with salt to taste and garnish with fresh coriander and the remaining fried onions to serve.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 364Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 236mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 2g
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
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.
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.
Saturday 6th of June 2020
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.
Sunday 7th of June 2020
Hi Daniel Yes, add the coriander with the rest of the spices. Thanks Dan
Saturday 4th of April 2020
I will definitely be trying this!
Tuesday 7th of April 2020
Great! Hope you do. Thanks. Dan
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.
Tuesday 7th of April 2020
Thank you so much. I'm really happy you liked the recipes. Dan