Tariwala chicken or Indian Chicken Curry

My first memories of eating non-veg are of only one dish; Tariwala chicken or Indian Chicken Curry and we grew up eating only this. Punjabis are known for their tari , whether the chicken or rajma(kidney beans), chole (garbanzo) or lobiya(one eyed bean) curry. This is one of the Indian curries that is a rage all over the globe now.

My mom was a vegetarian but she cooked  Tariwala chicken, religiously once a week for my dad.  The gravy would never be thick and she would cook it once a week. I remember it was never Tuesday or Sunday as dad didn’t eat non-veg on both days.

Men were given the drumstick and breast pieces and we girls were usually given the smaller neck and other pieces (there was some logic behind that). Although mom never tasted what she cooked it was always delicious as she added a huge amount of love into it. Mom always cooked in ghee or clarified butter and the taste was enhanced a bit more. I would still recommend using cow ghee instead of oil. You can reduce the quantity of ghee and it is much healthier than any refined oil.

Tari actually means a thick flavoured gravy sauce but mom’s was traditionally thin. You can always thicken it up according to your taste by adding less water or. I learnt the recipe from my mom, who was so adept at making this weekly dish. I have some wonderful memories attached to this particular dish. I used to chew up the softened bones of the neck pieces and loved to soak up my rice or roti in the delicious gravy. If any of us had a cold we were asked to drink up a bowl of this awesome and nutritious chicken curry.It was a sure shot way of opening up all your nasal tubes if you suffered from a blocked nose.

The daughter is home and on some diet and asked me to cook boneless chicken for lunch. I remembered my mom’s recipe and incorporated the bone chicken to a boneless one.

Do give my Tariwala chicken curry a try – maybe you will start a tradition of your own.

Recipe for Tariwala chicken or Indian Chicken Curry


1 kg chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 tbsp ghee or clarified butter. Oil if you prefer.

1 one-inch cinnamon sticks

4 green cardamoms

4 cloves

2 black cardamoms

1 tbsp Kasuri methi

4 medium onions, thinly sliced, grated or a paste

1 cup fresh tomato puree

1 tbsp ginger paste

1 tbsp garlic paste

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp red chilli powder

2 tbsp coriander powder

1 tsp garam masala powder

4 green chillies slit in the middle

¼ cup chopped fresh coriander

4 cups water

Salt to taste


Heat the ghee in a large saucepan, and then add the dry spices; cinnamon, green and black cardamom, cloves.

Once you smell the heady aroma of the spices, add the ginger garlic paste and sauté till golden brown.

Add the onion and sauté, stirring continuously and now add the Kasuri methi. And you know what? My dad was from Kasur in Pakistan. The fibrous ginger tends to stick to the bottom of the pan but if you add it before the onion it doesn’t stick that much. The magic of this recipe lies in how you fry the onion, ginger-garlic paste. It has to be done well and the end result should be a dark brown paste. It needs a wee bit of patience.

Add the slit green chillies, coriander powder, chilli powder and turmeric while you keep stirring all the while. You need to let all the spices cook to release the ghee.

Add the tomato puree and saute the masala until you see the ghee float on the sides of the masala. You know your masala is done when the ghee floats on the sides.

Add the chicken pieces and sauté till they are smeared well with the masala. The masala has to coat all the pieces and seep in. The juices of the chicken and the masala combine to give this dish its unique taste.

Add four cups water and mix well. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes on medium heat.

Add the garam masala powder and mix well. Remove from fire and transfer to a serving bowl.

Garnish with fresh coriander. If you are eating this curry with rice then your gravy should be a little thick but if you are eating it with roti or bread then it needs to be thick.

Your scrumptious Tariwala Chicken or Indian Chicken curry is ready to be demolished with steamed rice, roti, bread or even have a big bowl of it just as it is. I can actually smell my

I can actually smell my mom’s cooking of this dish. I turned vegetarian by choice 20years ago and it is the first time that I wish I could once again taste my mom’s cooking.

Tariwala chicken or Chicken curry









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