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Chicken/ Hearty Dinners/ Spice

Chicken Curry in a Hurry

November 23, 2020 (Last Updated: January 16, 2024) by Chris Collins

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…

close up shot of black serving spoon digging into skillet of curry

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!

close up shot of flatbread scooping up curry in pan

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).

8 step by step photos showing how to make curry in a hurry

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?!

curry in a large white bowl with rice and flatbread and gold spoon digging in

How to make Curry in a Hurry (Full Recipe & Video)

curry in a large white bowl with rice and flatbread and gold spoon digging in

Chicken Curry in a Hurry

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!
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings (click & slide): 4
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Calories per serving: 440kcal
Cost per serving: £3 / $4

Equipment:

  • 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

Instructions:

  • 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!

Notes:

a) Chicken - I use chicken thigh because it's more fatty and flavoursome than breast, but it does take slightly longer to cook through. If you want to use thigh but still want speed, the smaller the chunks of chicken the quicker it'll cook. In all cases, I recommend bringing the chicken close to room temp if you have the time. Cold chicken straight from the fridge tends to release a lot of moisture and often seizes up more easily.
b) Curry Powder - I find 2 tbsp hot curry powder gives a great heat (medium-hot spice). You can use mild or medium curry powder if you'd prefer. If you go overboard with the spice serve the curry with a dollop of yoghurt to tone down the heat.
c) Flatbreads - I make mine from scratch (so easy!) and do it ahead of time, so they just need reheating when you serve. Check out my Flatbreads for the recipe!
d) Calories - Whole recipe divided by 4 with no sides and using 1 tbsp veg oil to fry.

Your Private Notes:

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Curry in a Hurry
Amount Per Serving
Calories 440 Calories from Fat 255
% Daily Value*
Fat 28.36g44%
Saturated Fat 20.79g104%
Trans Fat 0.03g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.867g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.436g
Cholesterol 139mg46%
Sodium 288mg12%
Potassium 1011mg29%
Carbohydrates 16.61g6%
Fiber 6.4g26%
Sugar 8.74g10%
Protein 33.33g67%
Vitamin A 674IU13%
Vitamin C 20.6mg25%
Calcium 86mg9%
Iron 4.56mg25%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
Tried this recipe?Show me how you got on by tagging @dontgobaconmyheart_ on IG and #dontgobaconmyheart
Looking for more?You'll find plenty more delicious comfort food like this in my Debut Cookbook 'Comfy'

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


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Recipe Rating




11 Comments

  • Reply
    Katherine Davies
    April 16, 2024 at 11:23 am

    5 stars
    The best curry I have ever made! I was so pleased with the result, My daughter loved it too. Im making it again today, thank you!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      April 16, 2024 at 2:27 pm

      So great to hear, Katherine! Thanks so much for the review 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    Alan
    January 17, 2024 at 6:05 pm

    5 stars
    My whole family loved it, they couldn’t get enough.
    It was really good
    Thank you

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      January 18, 2024 at 10:53 am

      Thanks for the review, Alan! C.

  • Reply
    Lisa
    November 9, 2022 at 11:34 am

    5 stars
    Delicious, and very quick and easy. Husband said it was the best curry I’ve ever made and even the kids enjoyed it.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      November 9, 2022 at 4:25 pm

      So great to hear, Lisa! Thanks for popping back for a review 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    Shelby O.
    September 5, 2021 at 1:33 am

    5 stars
    Pleasantly surprised with how this turned out! I was super skeptical, because of course, only delicious curry can be obtained by slaving for hours over a hot stove. Turns out, that’s not the case! We followed the recipe explicitly, except we did not have coriander, so we used equal parts garam masala. The ONLY change I want to make going forward is to substitute the 1 can of tomatoes for the same amount in soft baked pumpkin chunks!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      September 5, 2021 at 2:55 pm

      Glad it went down well, Shelby! I think the pumpkin will work great 🙂 Thanks for the review! C.x

  • Reply
    Sara Welch
    March 8, 2021 at 7:53 pm

    5 stars
    Enjoyed this for dinner last night and it did not disappoint! So quick and flavorful; easily, a new family favorite dish, indeed!

  • Reply
    Jill McOwen
    March 8, 2021 at 7:41 pm

    5 stars
    Sounds and looks delicious. Anything in a hurry is my kind of dinner!

  • Reply
    Michelle Boule
    March 8, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    5 stars
    This looks wonderful. I love a good curry especially with a large piece of naan. Can’t wait to try this asap!

  • 5 KNOCKOUT

    DINNERS

    YOU'LL NEVER STOP MAKING!

    A FREE EMAIL SERIES, FROM ONE FOODIE TO ANOTHER