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Malvani-Style Chicken Curry

A cast iron pan filled with chicken curry on a trivet, on a purple background with a linen napkin.
The many spices used here add aromatic warmth and heat to the chicken. I like this with very little sauce, so it’s ideal served with any flatbread but feel free to serve it with rice instead.
Chetna Makan

Prep 20 mins
Cook 25 mins
Total 45 mins
4 servings
129 kcal


For the masala

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • Seeds of 4 green cardamom pods
  • Seeds of 1 black cardamom pod
  • 1 cinnamon stick broken up into small pieces
  • 1 star anise
  • 6 dried red chiles such as arbol
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled
  • 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
  • Generous 3/4 cup water

For the curry

  • 3 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
  • 2 (14 oz) onions finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chile powder
  • 4 (2 pounds) boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) slices


Make the masala

  • In a small skillet over low heat, combine the spices, chiles, garlic, and coconut and dry-roast until you can smell their aroma and they start to color, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Pour into a spice blender and blitz to a powder or use a mortar and pestle to finely grind them. In a small bowl, combine the spice powder and the water and mix well to form a slurry.

Make the curry

  • In a medium skillet or Dutch oven with a lid over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and cook until lightly golden, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the spice mixture and cook for 1 minute more.
  • Add the salt, Kashmiri chile powder, and chicken, cover, and cook until the chicken is cooked through, stirring once, about 10 minutes. Uncover and increase the heat to high. Cook for 1 minute before removing from the heat and serving.