This quick chicken curry is easy to make and even more delicious to eat. It only takes 30mins to cook, making it perfect for a midweek dinner!
A chicken curry recipe can sometimes seem a little daunting to make at home, but in reality, it’s super simple! Follow me…
Quick Chicken Curry
Is this the most authentic chicken curry you’ll ever make? No. BUT, it is truly delicious and is bound to rival your favourite take away option – no false promises!!
So, what makes this a ‘quick’ chicken curry?
- No Long Simmering – A lot of curries require a minimum of 30mins simmering time, but here that’s cut in half and you still get the perfect consistency & flavour!
- No Marinating – A lot of curries often require you to marinate the chicken in yogurt and spices. Here the chicken goes straight into the pan.
- Under 30mins – You can make this curry in 30mins, which qualifies in the ‘quick’ category in my books. Just 😅
Can I use another meat rather than chicken?
I use chicken here because you get away without slow cooking it. It still comes out relatively tender after a quick fry. Something like beef or lamb, in my opinion, does need simmering over a longer period of time to really tenderize the meat. You could go for prawns for a super speedy curry, or even stir fry up some veg!
Making Curry in a Hurry
Because we’re skipping the long simmering, it’s important to make sure we keep the flavour on point. As such, here’s a few tips I recommend:
Brown the Chicken
It’s really important to brown the chicken and caramelize it on the pan. This adds a huge amount of flavour to the meat. To ensure you brown the meat properly it’s important to make sure the chicken has space to fry, otherwise, it’ll steam. Another thing to consider is bringing the chicken close to room temp (if you have time). Frying meat straight from the fridge causes it to seize up and release moisture, which prevents it from caramelizing on the pan.
Toast the Spices
Ideally, you’d want to do this in a dry pan, but after I’ve fried off the chicken & aromatics I like to fry the spices for a couple of minutes. This tickles a little more flavour out of the spices. Very subtle, but worth the one minute!
Fry the Tomato Paste
Something that makes much more of a difference is frying the tomato paste (tomato puree UK). Tomato paste has a fairly pungent taste when it’s uncooked. By frying it off you caramelize and sweeten it.
Process shots: fry chicken (photo 1), remove and leave fat (photo 2), fry onion (photo 3), fry garlic/ginger (photo 4), toast spices (photo 5), fry tomato paste (photo 6), add coconut milk, chopped tomatoes and chicken (photo 7), add oxo/bouillon and coriander/cilantro and simmer (photo 8).
Curry in a Hurry FAQ
How spicy is this curry?
I find 2 tbsp hot curry powder gives you a good kick of spice. Nothing too overwhelming though. If you’re at all wary of spice though you can start off with less and adjust as needed towards the end.
How can I make this curry even quicker?
- Chicken Breast – I use chicken thigh because it’s fattier and more flavoursome, but chicken breast will take less time to cook through.
- Bite Size Pieces – Ensure the chicken is diced into small bite-sized pieces to cut cooking time.
- Garlic/Ginger – Use pre-sliced garlic & ginger.
- Onion – I quarter the onions so they cook into ‘petals’, but you can finely dice the onions to cut cooking time.
- Cooked Chicken – You could even sub leftover rotisserie chicken! Around 3 cups added just before simmering will work great.
What to serve with curry in a hurry?
I usually go for the classic rice and flatbread, both of which I make ahead of time and just reheat whilst the curry simmers. For the easiest flatbreads in the world check out my Foolproof Flatbreads.
Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this chicken curry in a hurry shall we?!
How to make Curry in a Hurry (Full Recipe & Video)
Chicken Curry in a Hurry
- Large Frying Pan & Wooden Spoon
- Sharp Knife & Chopping Bowl
- Small Bowl (to store cooked chicken)
Ingredients (check list):
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1.3lb / 600g Boneless Skinless Chicken Thigh, diced into small bite size pieces & preferably close to room temp (see notes)
- 2 small Onions, peeled & quartered
- 2 tsp EACH: minced Garlic & Ginger (sub pre chopped for speedy option)
- 2 tbsp Hot Curry Powder (see notes)
- 1 tsp EACH: Turmeric, Ground Coriander, Cumin, Paprika
- 3 tbsp Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste in US)
- 1x 14oz/400g can of Full Fat Coconut Milk
- 1x 14oz/400g can of Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 Chicken OXO/Bouillon Cube
- 1 handful (approx 2-3tbsp finely diced) Fresh Coriander, (tear with hands for speedy option)
- Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
- Add the oil to a large pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper and add to the oil. Spread out and leave until golden on one side, then flip and fry until golden all around & just about cooked through the centre. Building a golden crust is important to develop flavour. Remove and place in a bowl to one side.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion to the leftover fat. Fry for a couple of minutes until it begins to soften and lightly colour, then add in the ginger & garlic and fry for 1-2mins longer. Add all of the spices and toast for 1 min, then add tomato puree and fry for 1-2 mins.
- Pour in the tomatoes then swill out the can with water (just under half the can). Add coconut milk and cooked chicken (with all the resting juices), then add coriander/cilantro, Oxo cube and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
- Give it a good stir then leave it on a medium simmer for 15 mins, or until the curry starts to thicken. If you have time, keep it on a low simmer for 30 mins to develop the flavours a little more. Check for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper (make sure it's well seasoned to bring out the best in the sauce). Serve with flatbread, rice and extra coriander/cilantro if you have it!
Quick 1 min demo!
Your Private Notes:
Want to slow things down? Why not check out my Slow Cooker Chicken Curry!
For more easy and delicious curry recipes check out these beauties:
Easy Curry Recipes
- Coronation Chicken Curry
- Sweet Potato Curry
- Leftover Turkey Thai Green Curry
- Chicken Thai Green Curry
- Halloumi Curry
- Butter Chicken