Chicken Tomato Curry

Chicken Tomato Curry

On and off for the last few years I have tried to make Indian Food based purely on how I think it must be made when I eat it. I’ve failed abysmally. There was always something missing in my curry, some taste that should lie on the center of the tongue that I could never seem to bring out no matter how much curry powder, ginger, or tumeric I added in hopes that the flavor might bloom. None of it was horrible, but all of it was missing something integral.

Until now that is. The other night I was indecisive as usual, but Mr.S was clear, something spicy was in order. I wasn’t even really into cooking that night, but I pulled out my spices and started whipping things together. Before I knew it I had a pan full of chicken tomato curry simmering on the stove and was starting on some rice for Mr.S and some Quinoa for me. According to Mr. S it was better than any take out, even from our favorite place. He loved it, and asked me to make it again 5 days later after we’d exhausted our leftovers.
What was the secret? Two things:
1) Spices first. It’s essential that all of your spices  (with the exception of your chili flakes and cardamom pods) be toasted in oil for at least a few minutes before you do anything else. If you add them later, it doesn’t matter how many teaspoons you add, the flavor just won’t be there.
2) Cardamom pods. I add these before I let it sit an simmer. The flavor before and after is just incredibly different.
Chicken Tomato Curry: Cooking the Spices
Chicken Tomato Curry
Anyway, enough with that, onto the recipe.
Chicken Tomato Curry

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 2-4


  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 2 small onions
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne (more if you like it spicier)
  • 2 teaspoons chili flakes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 heaping tablespoons grated fresh ginger (I just grated a 3 inch long piece of ginger and threw it in)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil


  1. Dice your onion and garlic keeping both separate on your cutting board then grate your ginger, keeping that separate as well.
  2. Next dice your chicken into pieces, between 1/2 and 1 inch should be fine. If your chicken is frozen like mine, you'll want to make thawing it step 1. If you defrost it in the microwave you can take care of your onion, garlic, and ginger in between turning the breasts.
  3. Get your spices assembled, heat your pan, and then add 3 tablespoons of oil to it. Wait for it to warm a little, then add the curry, tumeric, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne to the pan along with the garlic and ginger. Turn the heat down to medium if it isn't there already (otherwise things are going to stick and the cayenne is going to make breathing a little difficult) and stir the spices around to keep them from sticking and to coat them evenly in oil. 3-4 minutes should be good.
  4. Then add the chicken, onions, chili flakes, and cardamom pods to the pan and lightly toss with the curry spices. Cover the pan and cook on medium for another 4-5 minutes. When the time's up, remove the cover and toss the ingredients again.
  5. Next add the coconut milk, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes, stirring well after each addition so that the color is homogeneous.
  6. Once combined, turn the heat down low-medium and let it simmer for 30 minutes. During the wait you can make your rice or quinoa if you're having it. Once the 30 minutes is up, it should be ready to serve.
That’s it! The whole process takes about an hour, less if your chicken is already thawed. I hope you enjoy it!