This Indian-inspired chicken curry is rich, creamy and saucy. Serve it with rice or naan bread so that you have something to pick up all of the creamy sauce. We do not recommend substituting the yogurt or cream in this recipe since they add richness and flavor to the sauce.
1 to 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breast
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional for heat, add an extra 1/4 teaspoon for medium-spicy
6 medium cloves garlic, peeled
A 1-inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or use ghee
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons full-fat plain unsweetened yogurt
1 teaspoon Garam Masala, see notes
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Handful cilantro leaves, chopped, optional for serving
Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces, and then add to a bowl. If you’d like to leave the chicken uncut or if you are using bone-in chicken pieces, the chicken can be left whole.
Scatter 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper over the chicken. Toss well and set aside to marinate for at least 20 minutes.
Make ahead: The chicken can be left to marinate up to 24 hours, keep it covered and stored in the refrigerator.
Add garlic, ginger, onion and 1/2 cup of water to a blender or food processor. Blend until mostly smooth. An immersion blender with cup attachment can also be used.
Heat the oil or ghee in a wide skillet (with lid) over medium-high heat. Arrange the marinated chicken into the pan so that it is in one layer and brown on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and place the skillet back onto the heat.
Add the onion-ginger mixture and cook, stirring often, until all of the water has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon coriander and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric over the onion-ginger mixture, and cook for about 20 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste, turn the heat down to medium-low and then cook another minute.
Add the yogurt, a tablespoon at a time, stirring it into the sauce before adding anymore.
Return the chicken pieces and any accumulated juices to the pan along with the remaining cup of water and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer, and then cover with a lid. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
Remove the lid and stir in the Garam Masala and cream. Taste the sauce and add the final 1/4 teaspoon of salt if you feel that it is needed (we almost always add it).
Turn the heat back up to medium-high and cook, stirring gently every now and them, until the sauce has reduced a bit and thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with fresh cilantro scattered on top.