This easy chicken curry recipe is a quick and delicious way to get the taste of Indian food without a lot of work. The original recipe came from The New York Times (I think), but I had to put my own spin on it. It only requires a few ingredients and a small skillet and you can put the whole thing together in fifteen minutes. Just perfect when you’re hungry and in a hurry!
If you don’t have Greek yogurt, you can use sour cream instead. As a bonus, sour cream is more heat-resistant than yogurt so you can add it directly to the pan, rather than dirtying a separate bowl. I use the yogurt because I prefer the flavor. Also, it seems more authentic to use yogurt instead of sour cream.
Garam masala is a spice mixture (kind of like curry, every mixture and every manufacturer is a bit different). It adds warmth and savor to the dish (not spiciness).
Fast Chicken Curry for One
1 T canola oil
1 small onion, peeled and sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp curry powder
generous pinch cumin
generous pinch garam masala (optional)
1/4 jalapeño pepper, sliced
1 boneless chicken breast or chicken thigh, cut up
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
Heat oil in small skillet on medium high heat. After a minute or two, add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook the onion, stirring, until it becomes clear. This should take about 5 minutes.
Turn down heat to medium. Add half the curry powder and cook for another minute or so.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper, plus the remaining curry powder, garam masala (if using) and the cumin. Push the onions to one side of the pan, away from the heat.
Add the chicken and cook about 2 minutes. Turn the meat on the other side and cook another two minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside on a plate.
Turn the heat down to very low, and wait a minute or two until the pan cools slightly. Measure the yogurt into a cup and add some of the pan drippings. Stir it around to blend (this will keep the yogurt from curdling when you add it to the pan). Add the yogurt mixture to the pan and stir it into the onions. Keep stirring until it gets hot again.
Put the chicken back in the pan, add the jalapeño pepper and cook another 2 minutes. Turn after halfway cooked.
Remove from pan and serve.
I served this over jasmine rice, along with a side dish of cabbage seasoned with ginger, garam masala, and red pepper flakes.
Chicken Curry Recipe Variations and Substitutions:
- If you don’t have jalapeño pepper, add a pinch of red pepper flakes along with the curry
- Add some ginger
- If you don’t have boneless chicken, cut up a bone-in thigh, or just start the chicken first, cook it for ten minutes, then add the onions, and follow the rest of the recipe (with the bone-in thighs, the recipe will take about 25 minutes total).
Recommended Books and Ingredients
Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking
I love Indian food, but I used to find it a bit intimidating, because it’s not as familiar to me as a home cook. However, this cookbook made that a lot easier (and I use it quite a bit).
My favorites are quick chicken korma, lamb with spinach, fish fillets in curry sauce, and curried tuna (the canned kind, not fresh). Most of the recipes take less than 30 minutes to prepare.
Indian Cooking Unfolded
Many Indian cookbooks use ingredients that can be hard to find if you don’t live in an area with a large Indian or Pakistani population. I have some excellent spice stores near me, but many don’t.
That’s one reason this cookbook caught my eye. He gives you the standard ingredients, and then tells you how to “cheat” if you don’t have them available. It makes the food much more accessible. The recipes are easy to follow and have 10 ingredients or less.
Rani Garam Masala
An essential mixture for Indian cooking. It’s a blend of 11 different spices, so it’s full of flavor. Great for chicken (like this recipe), or use it on eggs, lentils, or veggies. It’s got cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg so the flavor is “warm” and aromatic, rather than spicy or hot.
More Chicken Recipes for One Person
Peruvian Roast Chicken in Green Sauce Recipe
I just can’t stop eating this. Crispy chicken skin, juicy meat, and a lip-smackingly delicious sauce. Use it on the chicken, as a dip, or on fish.
Quick Chicken Mango Stir Fry
Sweet mango and bell peppers, with a little kick from green or red chile. Don’t have fresh peppers? No problem. A frozen stir fry mix is fine. So is frozen mango. Ready in about 20 minutes.
Honey Sticky Garlic Chicken
Crispy, sweet, spicy, and delicious. And all you need to make it is fresh chicken and pantry ingredients.
Jewish Chicken Curry Chitarnee
Not the Jewish food you were expecting! This is from India, so it’s fragrant with warm spices like ginger, onions, and cardamom.