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Pakistani Chicken Jalfrezi Curry

This chicken Jalfrezi recipe is a nod to the British Indian Curry I love greatly, hot and spicy with a thick tomato based sauce.

Portrait image of a chicken jalfrezi curry served in a tarnished copper covered karahi bowl

A Jalfrezi Curry.

This dish is an ever-present recipe on the British Indian Curry scene and has been as long as I remember.

Like many British Indian curries, this chicken jalfrezi is heavily influenced by Bengali and Pakistani cuisine.

Migration to places like Birmingham, East London and Manchester really defined the flavours of Indian food that the British know and love.

This recipe is most definitely leans on that heritage. Flavours like cumin, coriander, fenugreek and turmeric are all front and centre.

It is a delightful, warming and comforting curry that you can simply vary the heat levels of if you wish.

Just adjust the number or type of green chillies to your taste at the start.

Chicken jalfrezi recipes often include peppers, something I am not so keen on.

The thick sauce that is atypical of this curry, which is the real star of this dish, does not work pepper as far as I am concerned.

But feel free to add them if you like stir fry them with the onions before you add chicken.

Portrait overhead image of a chicken jalfrezi curry served in a tarnished copper covered karahi bowl

Recipe Hints and Tips!

This recipe uses a technique commonly found in British Indian restaurants. Essentially the jalfrezi sauce is made separately and added to the stir-fried chicken and then simmered.

Regular followers of my Indian recipes will be familiar with this technique. I use it in both my chicken balti recipe and my chicken pathia recipe.

In many ways, this is done for convenience in a restaurant setting because it allows for a very broad menu with minimal prep.

However, it does work really well at home and is an easy way to get great flavour.

But it also gives you an opportunity to prepare the sauce in advance.

I will often batch make my curry sauces and freeze them in portions.

Then if I want or need a quick curry I am ready to rock and roll.

This approach is much better than cooking to completion and freezing the meat. The sauce for this chicken jalfrezi will last for up to 3 months if frozen properly.

Portrait close up image of a chicken jalfrezi curry

Serving Suggestions?

My website is littered with British Indian Curries and they always prove popular with you guys.

I hope this recipe joins them amongst your favourites!

As with many of my chicken curry recipes, I recommend serving my chicken jalfrezi with a naan bread.

Mainly because I think all curries are better with a naan.

Spice wise it is a hot curry, as a result of this adding a kachumber salad or raita on the side can add a little refreshing and cooling relief.

However, it would also work well with plain basmati rice but if you want something out of left field then try Bombay Potatoes!

Square image of a chicken jalfrezi curry served in a tarnished copper covered karahi bowl
Yield: 2 Servings

Chicken Jalfrezi Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

There is no such thing as "just" a chicken curry! This Jalfrezi recipe has strong Gujurati and Pakistani influences and is often found hanging out at all the best British Indian curry houses.


  • 400 g (14 oz) Chicken Thighs
  • 1 Tsp Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Ground Fenugreek
  • 200 g (7 oz) Onion
  • 6 Green Chilli Peppers
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 250 g (8.75 oz) Canned Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Black Onion Seeds
  • 6 Cardamom Pods
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala
  • Salt to Taste


  1. Cut your chicken thighs into large chunks.
  2. Coat the chicken with the cumin, coriander, fenugreek and turmeric and allow to marinade whilst we make the sauce.
  3. Roughly chop half your onion, garlic and green chili, the size is unimportant here.
  4. Heat half of the cooking oil in a frying pan.
  5. Add the onion, green chilli and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add 200ml of water to the onion, garlic and chilli mix and reduce the temperature to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Whilst this is happening chop the second half of your onion into wedges and set aside.
  8. Place the onion mix in a blender with the canned tomatoes and tomato puree, then blend to a smooth sauce.
  9. Heat a dry pan over a medium-high heat and add the coriander seeds, mustard seeds, onion seeds and cardamom pods and toast for 60 seconds.
  10. When toasted pour in the tomato mix and add the tomato puree and allow to cook for 10 minutes. 
  11. Now is a good time to have a taste and add salt as required.
  12. In a separate pan add the remaining oil.
  13. Add the onion wedges and cook for 5 minutes.
  14. Throw in the chicken and cook for another 5 minutes.
  15. Add the tomato sauce to the onion and chicken mix and cook until the chicken is cooked through which should take around 15 minutes.
  16. Add the garam masala and stir in leaving to stand for 3-4 minutes before serving.


This chicken jalfrezi recipe is meant to be spicy but you can choose your chillies to vary the heat, jalapeno will result in something quite mild... Thai birds eye chillies will make you sweat!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 732Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 34gCholesterol: 256mgSodium: 670mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 8gSugar: 16gProtein: 55g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

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Tuesday 23rd of June 2020

This was delicious! The only thing I did differently was to add half a Tomato can of water towards the end, as I like a wetter curry. I didn’t have any fenugreek so I used fenugreek seeds, though I know they’re not quite the same flavour.

Brian Jones

Wednesday 24th of June 2020

Glad you like it Iqbal, that water trick is a great way to loosen up a curry... most of my curries err on the thicker side because it is just the way that I like to eat them. Fenugreek seeds may be a little different but I personally think that it is better than omitting fenugreek completely, it adds an earthy fragrance that I adore.

frugal hausfrau

Monday 23rd of September 2019

I saw this and fell in love at first site! My Dad's family came from Manchester area to the States; My great, great grandfather Barlow was born in Bolton in 1815! This is on my must make soon list! Thanks!


Brian Jones

Thursday 26th of September 2019

How cool is that... This is very much a British Indian Curry, enjoy :)

Simon charnley

Sunday 26th of May 2019

Hi I’m just making the jalfrezi Do you not have to blend the mustard seeds onion seeds and cardamon pods


Brian Jones

Monday 27th of May 2019

I don't blend these seeds no, although I do endeavour to pick out the cardamom pods when serving.

Khilna Samat

Thursday 9th of August 2018

Brian, what’s a good substitute for onion seeds?

Brian Jones

Friday 10th of August 2018

I would personally leave them out and not substitute, there really is nothing that springs to mind as an alternative... I did do some web searching for you and come up with suggestions like Sesame Seeds and Cumin which I personally think are way wide of the mark. Omitting them certainly will not ruin the dish so skip them it will be fine :)


Monday 4th of June 2018

Really loved this one, Brian. I’m a big fan of your balti recipe but this beats it!


Friday 17th of May 2019

Hi Brian Made this the other day and it was fantastic. In fact it’s that good that I’m cooking it for six people on Saturday. It’s sounds obvious but want to make sure would I just treble the ingredients.

Brian Jones

Tuesday 5th of June 2018

Cheers Matt, glad you like it.... It took a while to get the balance right on this one, seems it paid off!