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Authentic Chicken Curry in a dutch oven garnished with cilantro

Authentic Chicken Curry (Easy Chicken Salan)

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Here’s an Easy and Authentic Chicken Curry recipe made in the traditional Pakistani and North Indian style. This is a simple, approachable curry recipe that you can make at home in under an hour. Unfussy, easy-to-follow, and tested to perfection!
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Diet Gluten Free, Halal
Keyword Authentic Chicken Curry, Chicken Salan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 384


  • 1/3 cup neutral oil such as grapeseed or avocado
  • 2 small yellow onions quartered
  • 2 small tomatoes (I use Roma) quartered
  • 6-8 garlic cloves crushed or finely chopped
  • 1 inch ginger crushed or finely chopped
  • 2 lbs bone-in, cut up, skinless chicken cleaned and excess skin removed (See Note 1)
  • 2 1/4 tsp kosher salt divided
  • 1-2 small green chili peppers (such as Serrano or Thai chili) stems removed and thinly sliced

Whole spices

  • 1 tsp whole coriander seeds roughly crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5-6 whole black peppercorns
  • 3-4 whole cloves

Ground spices

  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes optional
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper



  • Place the onions in a food processor and use the pulse function to chop finely but not blend.
    Finely chopped onions in a food processor
  • Heat a heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven over medium-high or high heat (depending on your stove). Once hot, add the oil and chopped onions. Sauté until the onions turn golden brown(~12-15 min). Meanwhile, in the same food processor, add the tomatoes and pulse to chop into a rough purée. Deglaze the pan with 2 tbsp of water.
    Browned onions in a Dutch oven with a wooden spatula and pureed tomatoes in a food processor
  • Once the water dries up, add the garlic and ginger and sauté until the raw smell disappears and the onions deepen in color (~1 min). If needed, deglaze the pan again with 2 tbsp of water. Add the chicken and 1/4 tsp salt and fry it until it changes color, about 5 minutes.
    Sautéed chicken in a dutch oven.
  • Add the whole spices, ground spices, remaining salt (2 tsp), and green chili pepper. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Deglaze the pan if the bits start to stick to the bottom of the pan.
    Sautéed chicken in a dutch oven with ground spices and sliced green chillies.
  • Add the tomatoes and sauté for another 2-3 minutes, until you can see the oil separating from the curry. Add 1 3/4 – 2* (see Note 2) cups of water and stir to mix. Cover the pan to bring to a gentle boil.
    Sautéed chicken in a dutch oven with tomatoes on top and Authentic Chicken Curry in a dutch oven ready to be covered and cooked.
  • Once it begins to boil, lower the heat to a simmer (low or low-medium). Cover and allow the curry to cook for 25 minutes, stirring once in between. The chicken should be very tender. Taste and add salt, if needed. Uncover and continue to allow the chicken to simmer for 3-5 minutes, until the oil rises to the top.
  • Turn off the heat. Garnish with garam masala and cilantro. Serve with rice, roti, or naan.



Note 1: See post for how to make this with boneless chicken breast or thighs. 
Note 2: Adjust water amount according to how much curry/salan you prefer. Keep in mind the chicken and tomatoes will also release their moisture.


Calories: 384kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 961mg | Potassium: 527mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 145IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg