Dr Smiter’s Kickin’ Chicken Curry

I am lucky enough to live in a city that has a huge Indian population, and any number of opportunities to go get an actual takeaway curry.

chicken curry pic

However, on those days that I’m feeling too lazy to drive, or too broke to pay for a takeaway, this is an excellent go-to recipe that I’ve been using for years. It takes just over an hour to make, and won’t break the bank.

As always with Dr Smiter’s recipes, if there’s something you don’t have at hand or don’t like, just leave it out, or substitute something else.

Or go get a takeaway. πŸ™‚

All righty then, let’s get started.

Boy, I say, BOY, did Ah hear someone say CHICKEN?? .. oh, wait...

Boy, I say, BOY, did Ah hear someone say CHICKEN?? .. oh, wait…

You will need:

  • 3 lbs chicken pieces (I used legs and thighs because they were on sale); skin on is fine for now
  • 2 tbsp oil (olive or sunflower or whatever you have on hand)
  • 4 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 tbsp sliced fresh ginger root (I make big slices so I can see them in the finished meal & remove them)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 to 5 big cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes, or 4 big fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
  • salt to taste

Spices (assemble these in a bowl and put aside for later)

  • 1.5 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp turmeric (careful with this; it really stains!)
  • 1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes, or a couple of nice big dried hot chilis (spiciness is your own preference)

Second round of spices to add at end (prepare in separate bowl)

Turmeric: great in a curry, or for making yellow stains on everything you own!

Turmeric: great in a curry, or for making yellow stains on everything you own!

  • freshly ground pepper
  • seeds from 2 cardamom pods, ground or crushed
  • 2 cloves, ground (or a pinch of prepared clove powder)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg

Heat the oil in a big, deep cooking pot with a lid. Put the chicken pieces in and brown them on both sides; this will take a few minutes. You’re not cooking them thoroughly at this point but rather preparing the pot, taste-wise, for the rest of the stuff that goes in.

When they’re browned a bit, remove them with tongs or a spoon and put them aside in a big heat-proof bowl or on a plate.

Now throw in the onions and cook them for about 3 minutes until they’re tender; don’t let them brown or burn.

Next, add the ginger, water, garlic, and the first round of spices. Mix well and simmer the whole thing for about a minute. It’s at this point that your house will start to smell like an Indian restaurant and you will begin drooling.

Wipe your mouth on the front of your shirt (or apron if you’re the fancy sort), and add the tomatoes. Stir & simmer for another 2 minutes, and then add the yogurt.

While you’re doing all this, cut the chicken into biggish pieces, removing as much meat as you can from the bone without driving yourself crazy. Peel off any skin you don’t want and discard it. Add all the pieces, including the bones, back into the curry mixture. Give it all a stir, turn down the heat, put the lid on, and simmer the thing for at least 30 minutes. During this time, the remaining meat will cook right off the chicken bones.

Handy-dandy tasting spoon. Use once, put in sink. Or else. Don't make me come over there.

Handy-dandy tasting spoon. Use once, put in sink. Or else. Don’t make me come over there.

At the end of the 30 mins, take a CLEAN soup spoon and have a little taste of the broth to test for salt. Add whatever is necessary, or nothing, depending on your taste.

Now a slightly fussy bit: with tongs (or a fork), fish out each chicken bone, set it on a cutting board, and, using a knife and fork, remove the remaining bits of meat. Put those back into the pot and either discard the bones or set them aside for a chicken soup (they freeze well in a freezer bag).

Finally, add the second round of spices just before you serve your curry. Stir well and have one final taste with a CLEAN spoon (do you sense a theme here? Dr Smiter has seen too many cooks double-dipping and putting their fingers in the food… gross…)

Suggested sides:

  • rice
  • Naan bread (available at most grocers now)
  • Papadums (look in the Indian/ethnic food section of your grocery store)
  • chutney
  • lime pickle

Makes about 10 servings. Freezes really well.


  • Chicken: I paid about $7 for mine
  • Tomatoes: $1.49
  • Spices: maybe 30 cents
  • Onions and garlic: maybe 50 cents
  • Yogurt: approx $1.00


Grand total:Β $10.30 (approx), or $1.03 per serving, excluding any sides.

My Scottish forebears would be proud. πŸ™‚

A MacSmiter family tradition: piping in the curry.

A MacSmiter family tradition: piping in the curry.



  1. Sam

    So am I right in understanding there is no curry in your ‘curry’?!
    I want to try making curry for the first time, so I picked up curry while I was at the market, and now I don’t need it…so confused… Headed for takeaway πŸ˜‰

    • Lol! You have a point. πŸ™‚ No curry powder in this one… Maybe you could make a variant of it with the curry powder in & report back with your findings. πŸ˜€
      Dr. S.

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