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Chicken Pathia from Scratch

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Make this curry house style chicken pathia in one pan! Easy.

Curry house style curries like this chicken pathia from scratch recipe just plain get it! Usually, you need to prepare a curry house style curry base sauce to make British Indian restaurant (BIR) curries but I’ve found a way around that.

This chicken pathia tastes just like those at the best curry houses. I promise. You will also find links to popular side dishes to serve with your chicken pathia.

Chicken pathia from scratch

You can make this curry house classic in one pan in about 30 minutes.

What is the difference between this chicken pathia and those at restaurants?

You shouldn’t taste any difference in flavour at all. I’ve experimented and know this will get you the results you’re looking for.

At curry houses, a base sauce is used to make all the most popular curries. The restaurant base sauce was developed over decades for speed and economy. If you would like to try cooking a chicken pathia the restaurant way, try this recipe.

Once the base sauce is prepared, you can whip up a restaurant style chicken pathia in about 10 minutes.

This version is done in one pan. No base sauce is required but it will take about 30 minutes from start to finish to cook.

What do you serve chicken pathia 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 pathia 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.

What is a pathia?

Chicken pathia and for that matter all pathia curries were developed by Indian restaurant chefs to compete with Chinese restaurants.

At the time, sweet and sour chicken was a big favourite and people were swarming to Chinese takeaways to order the sweet and sour dish.

Pathia curries were developed right here in Britain and like the popular Chinese dish, they are sweet and sour as well as being mildly spicy.

Which Meat?

For this chicken pathia recipe I used tandoori style chicken thighs. You could use chicken breast too but thighs are less expensive and have more flavour.

So you can use pre-cooked tandoori chicken or you could even cook the chicken from raw in the sauce. This will of course take a few more minutes.

Just like when you order a pathia at a restaurant, you could also make this with the protein of your choice. Beef and lamb are both popular options. Prawns are also very popular.

If you would like to make this pathia curry veggie, try adding cubed paneer and/or vegetables to the simmering sauce.

Step by step photographs…

Ingredients for chicken pathia from scratch

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

Frying onions, garlic and ginger in the pan

Fry 2 of the chopped onions over medium high heat until soft and translucent. The stir in the garlic and ginger paste and fry for a further 30 seconds.

Adding ground spices and chopped tomatoes to the pan

Stir in the ground spices and coat the onions. Then add the chopped tomatoes.

Adding mango chutney and stock to the pan

Stir in the mango chutney and about 125ml (1/2 cup) water or unsalted chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and then allow to cool some.

Blending sauce

Blend the cooled sauce until smooth. Set aside.

Adding chopped onion to the pan.

Wipe the pan clean. No need to make it spotless! Then fry the remaining onion in a little oil for about 3 minutes.

Pouring blended sauce back into the pan

Pour the blended sauce back into the pan and bring to a simmer.

Adding chicken to the pan

Add the chicken. If already cooked, just heat it through. You can add raw chicken too. Just cook it through in the sauce.

Finishing off the curry

If the sauce is too thick, add more water. Too thin? Cook it down. Add lemon juice and tamarind concentrate. Season with salt to taste and enjoy!

If you like this one pan chicken pathia recipe, you might like to try some of these too…

Chicken Tikka Masala from Scratch
Chicken Dopiaza from Scratch
Beef Madras from Scratch
Chicken Vindaloo from Scratch
Rogan Josh from Scratch
Chicken Korma from Scratch
Chicken Chilli Garlic Curry From Scratch
Keralan Lamb Stir Fry

Yield: 4

Chicken Pathia from Scratch

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


  • 3 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp Madras curry powder
  • ½ tsp each of paprika, cumin, coriander and ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney
  • 200g chopped tinned (canned) tomatoes
  • 250ml (1 cup) water or unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato concentrate mixed with 3 tbsp water
  • 800g (1 ¾ lbs) Cooked or raw chicken
  • ½ tsp tamarind concentrate
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • Juice of one or two lemons
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro)
  • Salt to taste


  1. Pour two tablespoons oil into a pan over medium high heat and stir in about 1 ½ of the chopped onions. Fry for about 5 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent but not browning.
  2. Stir in the garlic and ginger paste and fry for a further 30 seconds. Then add the ground spices and chopped tomatoes, sugar and mango chutney. Add about 125ml (1/2 cup) unsalted chicken stock or water and bring to a simmer. Take off the heat and let cool a little.
  3. Transfer this sauce to a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Wipe your pan clean. No need to make it spotless! Add the remaining oil and chopped onion and fry for about 3 minutes or until turning soft.
  5. Stir in the tomato concentrate and water mixture and when it begins to bubble, pour in the blended sauce. Again, bring this to a simmer.
  6. Stir in the chicken. If using pre-cooked tandoori chicken, heat it through. If using raw chicken, be sure to cook it completely. Remember that if the sauce is too thick, add more water or stock. If too thin, cook it down only stirring if the sauce is sticking to the pan.
  7. If any sauce caramelises to the side of the pan, scrape it back in for more flavour.
  8. Once the chicken is cooked/heated through, stir in the tamarind concentrate and lemon juice. Sprinkle in the kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) by rubbing it between your fingers. Garnish with chopped coriander and season with salt to taste.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 600Total Fat: 62gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 40gCholesterol: 328mgSodium: 617mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 4gSugar: 20gProtein: 68g

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


Monday 18th of September 2023

Made this at the weekend. One of the best recipes I've used and the flavours are awesome.

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 20th of September 2023

Thanks very much for letting me know. Really good to hear. Dan

Liz Riley

Tuesday 15th of August 2023

Really good recipe. I don’t often eat Pathia but my husband has it all the time and we both really enjoyed it.

Dan Toombs

Monday 21st of August 2023

Great to hear, thanks very much. Dan


Monday 13th of March 2023

Dan, this was absolutely amazing, way better than my local Indian. to make larger quantities would I just double up ingredients? thanks Paddy

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 14th of March 2023

That’s great to hear, thanks for letting me know. Yes double up more or less but be a bit careful with any hot spices. Maybe add those to taste. Thanks Dan


Sunday 22nd of January 2023

Tried this last night and it was simply amazing. I just love these recipes! Keep them coming Dan.

Dan Toombs

Monday 23rd of January 2023

I’m really glad you enjoyed it. Thank you very much for your support. Dan

Thomas Callan

Friday 12th of August 2022

Hi Dan made this yesterday, amazing, I even think it's nicer without the base sauce. Can't wait for the new book. Regards Tommy

Dan Toombs

Monday 15th of August 2022

Great to hear, it is certainly a good alternative to the base sauce version. Thanks Dan

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