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Chicken Jalfrezi from Scratch

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Try this chicken jalfrezi from scratch recipe for restaurant quality results.

Many readers of my blog and books have asked me for curry house style recipes that don’t require a base sauce. So I’ve been experimenting and think I have a good one for you here with this chicken chilli garlic from scratch.

You will also find links to popular side dishes to enjoy with your chicken jalfrezi.

Chicken Jalfrezi from Scratch

Chicken jalfrezi from scratch! This recipe will get your the results you’re looking for.

About this Chicken Jalfrezi from scratch recipe…

Jalfrezi curries aren’t as saucy as others. So for this jalfrezi you blend less sauce than with many of the other ‘from scratch’ recipes I recently published.

A Jalfrezi curry is essentially a quick stir fry. In authentic Indian cooking, you would not blend the sauce but this recipe will get you something much closer and perhaps even better than what you get at the best curry houses.

What do you serve chicken jalfrezi 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 jalfrezi 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.

Which cut of chicken…

For this recipe I used pre-cooked tandoori chicken. I have loads of tandoori chicken recipes here on the blog for you to try as well as in my cookbooks.

This time, I used thigh meat but you could also use chicken breast. I find chicken thighs have more flavour.

You could also cook the chicken from raw. It will take longer but will still work fine. You will need to add more water or stock though to help the chicken cook through.

Do I have to use chicken?

Absolutely not! Use the protein of your choice for this recipe. You might like to try beef or lamb and cook it in the way that I did with my beef Madras recipe. This achieves a delicious stock that you blend into the sauce.

You might also like to add more vegetables and/or cubed paneer. Prawns are also a popular option.


Step by step photos…

Ingredients for chicken jalfrezi from scratch

Get your ingredients together before you start cooking. It’s easier that way.

Frying onion, garlic and ginger

Fry the chopped onion in the oil until soft and translucent. Then stir in the garlic and ginger paste and fry for a further 30 seconds.

Adding tomatoes to the pan

Stir in half of the tomato puree and bring to a simmer.

Adding spices and stock to the pan

Then add the ground spices and about 125ml (1/2 cup) water or unsalted chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and then allow to cool some.

Blending jalfrezi sauce

Blend the cooled sauce until smooth. Set aside.

How is this ‘from scratch’ jalfrezi recipe different to curry house cooking?

This recipe can be cooked from start to finish in about 30 minutes. It offers a good way of making curry house style jalfrezi without the need for a base curry sauce.

At UK curry houses, a base sauce is used for everything from the mildest korma to the spiciest vindaloo. If you would like to make this jalfrezi as it would be made at a curry house, try this recipe instead.

Adding curry leaves and mustard seeds to the pan

Wipe the pan clean. No need to make it spotless. Add the remaining oil and fry the mustard seeds until they pop. Then stir in the curry leaves.

Stirring sliced onions and bell pepper to the pan

Add the sliced onions and bell peppers and fry until about 70% cooked. There should still be some crunch to them. Stir in the chillies.

Adding garlic and ginger paste and tomato puree to the pan

Add the garlic and ginger paste and the remaining tomato puree.

Adding the blended sauce.

Now pour in the blended sauce. It might be a bit too thick so add a little water or stock if necessary.

Adding chicken and tomatoes to the pan

Stir in the cooked meat and the fresh halved tomatoes. If using raw chicken, you will need to add a little more stock to cook it in.

Adding kasoori methi and chopped coriander

Season with salt to taste and add the kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) and chopped coriander (cilantro).

Getting the jalfrezi sauce just right…

Remember, you can always add a drop more water or stock if the curry is too thick. If you add too much, just cook it down until you are happy with the consistency.

Chicken jalfrezi from scratch

Chicken jalfrezi from scratch in under 30 minutes.

If you like this jalfrezi recipe, you might like to try some of these curry house classics…

Chicken Chasni from Scratch
Rogan Josh from Scratch
Chicken Vindaloo from Scratch
Beef Madras from Scratch
Chicken Chilli Garlic Curry From Scratch
Chicken Korma from Scratch

Yield: 4

Chicken Jalfrezi from Scratch

Chicken Jalfrezi from Scratch
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 3 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp Madras curry powder
  • 1 tsp each of paprika, Kashmiri chilli powder, ground cumin, ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste stirred with 6 tbsp water
  • 250ml (1 cup) water or unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 20 fresh or frozen curry leaves
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 green bird's eye chillies, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 each green, red and yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 700g (1 1.2 lbs) tandoori chicken tikka, cooked chicken or raw chicken
  • 3 tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 tbsp coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 limes quartered


  1. Heat half of the oil in a pan over medium high heat. When visibly hot, stir in the chopped onion and fry for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.
  2. Stir in the garlic and ginger paste and fry for another 30 seconds. Then add the ground spices and half of the tomato paste and water blend. Bring to a simmer and then add 125ml ()1/2 cup) water or unsalted chicken stock. Take off the heat and allow to cool some.
  3. Blend this sauce until smooth and set aside.
  4. Wipe the pan clean. No need to make it spotless! Then add the remaining oil over medium high heat. Stir in the mustard seeds and when they begin to crackle, add the curry leaves. Fry for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
  5. Now add the thinly sliced onion and bell peppers. Fry this all until the vegetables are about 70% cooked through. Then add the chicken tikka or raw chicken. Note that if you are using raw chicken, you might need to add more liquid to help it cook through.
  6. Stir in the blended sauce. It may be a bit too thick so add more water or stock if needed. Generally speaking, if your sauce is too thick, add more water or stock. If too runny, just cook it down until you are happy with the consistency.
  7. Pour in the tomatoes and push them right into the sauce.
  8. Once you are happy with how it all looks, sprinkle in the kasoori methi by rubbing it between your fingers. Then add the chopped coriander (cilantro) and season with salt to taste.
  9. Serve with the quartered limes which you can squeeze and drizzle over the curry to taste at the table.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 600Total Fat: 68gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 44gCholesterol: 368mgSodium: 669mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 6gSugar: 9gProtein: 83g

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


Sunday 28th of April 2024

I've tried Latifs, Als, Curry Kid, Misty Ricardo and most from the curry forums but this is hands down the best Jalfrezi recipe out there. Made this version maybe 15 times and cant get enough of it. Thanks Dan.

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 30th of April 2024

Great to hear, thanks very much. Dan


Wednesday 19th of July 2023

This does not match your earlier recipe. Did you have to modify so that people could find spices? If so, does this match the taste of the first one? Seems like madras curry powder has replaced a lot of the earlier spices. I am afraid to touch the first one, my husband says it is EXACTLY like a curry house. ;)

Dan Toombs

Monday 24th of July 2023

My recipes do sometimes change slightly over the years but if you have one you’re happy with, definitely stick with it. Thanks Dan


Sunday 18th of September 2022

Hi Dan, Made a few of the others from scratch & they're wonderful, but before I try this one I need to ask questions.

The 'by pictures' shows powdered spices going in at 2 different times and the video implies the first lot is garam masala , but this is not mentioned in the ingredients, by pictures or anywhere else.

it looks as though you use two lots of garlic & ginger paste but this isn't mentioned in the ingredients list. Is it half tbsp each both times or 1tbsp?

Dan Toombs

Friday 23rd of September 2022

Just sprinkle the garam masala on at the end.It is 1 tbsp total of garlic and ginger paste mixed together. I will try and get round to making the recipe clearer. Thanks Dan

Neal French

Saturday 6th of August 2022

Made this last night, really good 🙌

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 9th of August 2022

Really glad it worked, thanks for letting me know. Dan

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