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.

Chicken pathia with boiled rice and lemon slice son a white plate with naan bread. Plate is on a dark background,
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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?

Overhead picture of ingredients for Chicken Pathia Curry on a wooden table.

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 1/2 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.

Green bowl filled with chicken pathia curry and topped with lemon slices and coriander.

🍽️ What to serve with this spicy curry

Chicken pathia in a green bowl on a dark background. Naan bread on a board just in shot at the top of the frame.

🍲 More fantastic Chicken Curries

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4.97 from 32 votes

Chicken Pathia

A lip-smacking tangy curry with plenty of heat. Almost like a curry version of sweet and sour but with a lusciously thick and spicy sauce.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: British-Indian, Persian


  • 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 (14 oz) passata
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree paste for US
  • 2 red chillies roughly chopped (I use fresno or serrano – which are relatively mild)
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) chicken stock

To Serve:

  • fresh chopped corriander
  • lemon slices
  • boiled rice
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  • Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to a mini food processor and blend to a paste.
    1 large onion, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 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.
    3 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • Add the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until sealed.
    3 chicken breasts
  • 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.
    ½ tsp ground cinnamon, 2 tbsp medium curry powder, 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder, 1 tsp paprika, ¼ tsp ground fenugreek, 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
  • Add in the lemon juice, sugar, salt, passata, tomato puree, chopped chillies, and chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
    1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp sugar, ¾ tsp salt, 400 ml (14 oz) passata, 2 tbsp tomato puree, 2 red chillies, 60 ml (1/4 cup) chicken stock
  • Serve with fresh coriander, a slice of lemon, and boiled rice.
    fresh chopped corriander, lemon slices, boiled rice



Can I make it ahead?
Yes, you can make the curry, then cool, cover and refrigerate.
Reheat in a pan over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until piping hot throughout.
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.
How to scale up and scale down this recipe
You can halve or double this recipe, sticking to the same ingredient ratios.
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.


Calories: 355kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Sodium: 868mg | Potassium: 1157mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 1156IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

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Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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  1. Jan says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely spot on. We made it with lamb (and lamb stock), rather than chicken. Delicious.

  2. D says:

    5 stars
    Never commented on a food recipe before – but after numerous (somewhat failed) attempts to make a decent pathia, this recipe was not only super clear and helpful, but also super tasty too! Bookmarked for next time 🙂 Thank you!