A lip-smacking tangy curry with plenty of heat. The tanginess comes from the tamarind, lemon juice and tomato, but this is balanced out with a little sweetness too - almost like a curry version of sweet and sour but with a lusciously thick sauce.
Originating from Persia, and then adapted over time to become a British-Indian-restaurant favourite, Chicken Pathia is a medium-hot, sweet and sour curry.
It's a very popular dish with lots of flavour and a tomato-based (rather than creamy) curry sauce.
You can make it as hot as you like, or you can go milder if you prefer (use mild chillies and mild chilli powder or leave them out, or you can use hotter chillies and powder for more heat.).
I love the tang of this curry, with a little bit of sweetness coming from the addition of a little sugar.
📋 What do we need?
Passata: I'm using passata in this recipe for a smooth sauce. If you're in the USA, Passata is the same as tomato puree. It's a medium-thick sauce (about the consistency of double/heavy cream) made of 100% tomatoes. If you can't get hold of it you can replace with the same amount of finely chopped or crushed tinned/canned tomatoes - you will just need to simmer the sauce for a few minutes longer.
Tamarind Paste: Tamarind paste (also known as tamarind concentrate) is a thick, tangy paste made from tamarind fruit. It's usually available in the the international aisles at the supermarket with the Thai or Indian food. If you can't get hold of it, you can replace it with ½ tsp each of lime juice and light brown sugar.
Ghee: I love to use ghee in curries for a buttery flavour, but you can replace with sunflower oil or your favourite cooking oil.
Fenugreek: This is a great addition to curries. You only need to add a small amount for a slightly tangy, nutty flavour. If you can't find it, you can replace with ground mustard seeds.
📺 Watch how to make it
***Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.***
👩🍳PRO TIP If you want the sauce to be really thick, leave out the chicken stock. If you want to loosen it a little, add a splash more stock.
🍲 More fantastic Chicken Curries
- 1 large onion - peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic - peeled
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 3 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
- 3 chicken breasts - - chopped into bitesize chunks (this is about 525g or 18.5oz)
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp medium curry powder - (go with hot if you like your curry really hot)
- ½ tsp hot chilli powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp ground fenugreek
- ½ tsp tamarind paste
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp sugar
- ¾ tsp salt
- 400 ml (14oz) passata
- 2 tbsp tomato puree - (paste if you're in the US)
- 2 red chillies - ,roughly chopped (I use fresno or serrano – which are relatively mild)
- 60 ml (¼ cup) chicken stock
- Add the onion, garlic and ginger to a mini food processor and blend to a paste.
- Heat the ghee (or oil) in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the onion mixture and fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown at the edges.
- Add the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until sealed.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the cinnamon, curry powder, chilli powder, paprika, ground fenugreek and tamarind paste. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add in the lemon juice, sugar, salt, passata, tomato puree, chopped chillies and chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
- Serve with fresh coriander, a slice of lemon and boiled rice.
Or reheat in the oven (170C/325F) in a lidded, oven-proof dish, for around 30 minutes, until piping hot throughout. You may need to add a splash of water or stock to loosen up the curry when reheating. Can I freeze it? Yes, make the curry, then cool, cover and freeze. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and reheat as per the make-ahead instructions above. Ingredient swaps
- Swap chicken for prawns, or you can use leftover cooked lamb or beef, following the instructions in the same way (you need to use cooked lamb or beef, as they take a lot longer to cook and become tender).
- Go veggie - swapping out the chicken for chunks of courgette (zucchini), mushrooms, quorn/tofu or steamed sweet potato/squash.
- Add in veggies such as sliced bell peppers or mushrooms.
Cook for the same amount of time if you're halving the recipe to serve 2.
If doubling the recipe, it may take 5-10 minutes longer to cook altogether. Nutritional Information is per portion, WITHOUT the serving suggestion of rice.
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