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Chicken Jalfrezi a Quick Curry

Chicken Jalfrezi is a curry that is exceptionally popular in British Indian restaurants, this delicious version is super quick and easy!

Rather than slowly stewing or braising it is a stir-fried dish that cooks in around 20-25 minutes. Bolt-on 10 minutes for prep and you have a gloriously quick curry night!

Overhead British Indian chicken jalfrezi curry with fresh coriander served in an iron karai.

Chicken Jelfrezi Curry

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

In fact, in the early 2010’s it overtook chicken tikka masala as the favourite curry of Brits!

Featuring quickly cooked chicken thighs, onion and peppers in a spicy gravy or sauce, it is one of the archetypal curries I grew up loving.

Like many British Indian curries, such as garlic chilli chicken, chicken balti and chicken rogan josh, 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 British Indian food.

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

It has its origins during the days of the British Raj and the name translates in some sources to “hot fry”. Which very much is an indication of the way that this dish is cooked.

It is likely to have been originally cooked with leftovers.

Clos up British Indian chicken jalfrezi curry with fresh coriander served in an iron karai.

Frequently Asked Questions

How hot is a chicken jalfrezi curry?

Generally speaking, it is a curry on the “hotter” end of the spectrum. It is not up there with a vindaloo or madras curry but it is up there.

However, it is your dinner and you can change that easily! Simply change the type of chillies used and scale back the chilli pepper.

Can I prepare this in advance?

Yup, like so many spicy dishes the flavour will improve too.

It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days and will freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat place in a medium (20cm or 8″) saucepan with a lid and heat gently. You may need to add a splash more water.

Do I have to use two different colours of bell pepper?

No, I only do it to add a splash of colour and I only do it if I have a use lined up for the other halves.

What is jaggery?

Jaggery is an unrefined brown sugar commonly used across much of the Indian sub-continent. It adds a wonderful caramel roundness to a dish.

You can replace this with brown sugar if you wish.

Can I cook this in a frying pan or skillet?

Yes, but a broader-based pan can result in the sauce reducing too quickly and as a result, you may need to add more water.

British Indian chicken jalfrezi curry being scooped up with a tandoori naan bread.

Serving Suggestions

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

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

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

Rice is always a solid side for a curry, I usually do plain rice, but a good pilau rice is a fab option too.

But if you want something out of left field then try Bombay Potatoes or aloo methi.

If you are looking for the true British Indian curry house experience, don’t forget the poppadoms!

British Indian chicken jalfrezi curry with fresh coriander served in an iron karai.

Equipment Used

I tend not to recommend specific brands of equipment and only do so if I think it makes a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to shout up in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Sharp kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Wok, I use a large carbon steel wok.
  • Stovetop.
British Indian chicken jalfrezi curry with peppers and fresh coriander served in an iron karai.
Yield: 2 Servings

Chicken Jalfrezi Curry Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

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

Ingredients

  • 400g (14oz) Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • ½ Tsp Kashmiri Chilli Pepper
  • ¼ Tsp Ground Turmeric
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • 3 Green Chilli Peppers
  • ½ Red Pepper
  • ½ Green Pepper
  • 150g (1 Cup) Onion
  • 6 Garlic Cloves
  • 4 Cardamom Pods
  • 1 Tbsp Ghee
  • 8 Curry Leaves
  • 1 Tsp Black Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 225g (8oz) Tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • 125ml (½ Cup) Water
  • 1 Tbsp White Vinegar
  • ½ Tsp Ground Cumin
  • ½ Tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 Tsp Dried Fenugreek
  • 10g (1 Tbsp) Jaggery
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken in a bowl, add the chilli pepper, turmeric, and salt, then mix and set aside.
  2. Cut the green chillis in half lengthways
  3. Peel the onion, then top and tail it and cut it into 8 wedges.
  4. Deseed the red and green pepper and cut it into 2.5cm (1") cubes.
  5. Peel and mash the garlic cloves to a paste.
  6. Crack the cardamom pods with the back of a knife.
  7. Heat a wok over a high heat and when it is hot add the ghee.
  8. Throw in the green chilli peppers, curry leaves, mustard seeds, cardamom pods and cook until the mustard seeds start to splutter.
  9. Add the onion wedges, red and green pepper and stir fry for around 2 minutes.
  10. Add the chicken, tomato puree, and garlic, then stir fry cook for 2-3 minutes.
  11. Sprinkle over the cumin, ground coriander, and fenugreek leaves, then fry for 30 seconds stirring continuously.
  12. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, water, vinegar and jaggery and cook for 10 minutes stirring regularly.
  13. Add the garam masala, have a taste and add more salt if required, then simmer on medium-low for 5-7 minutes to thicken the sauce.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 543Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 261mgSodium: 968mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 6gSugar: 18gProtein: 54g

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!

Ahmed Essa

Thursday 15th of July 2021

My son has been pestering me for chicken jalfrezi for a while now and since I don't have a clue how to cook it, decided to go to trusted Google for a recipe and ofcourse yours popped up. Followed the very detailed instructions with the only difference bieng that I added a couple teaspoons of red chilli powder for extra heat. Suffice it to say it was totally amazing and my son was propper impressed. This is for sure going to be my go to signature dish to impress my family and friends :) Thanks Brian

Brian Jones

Thursday 29th of July 2021

Excellent, so glad that you chose mine in a huge sea of recipes and even happier that you are chuffed with it. Glad it made your son happy, cooking is so often about impressing others, I make most of my food to impress my wife lol :)

Martha Lee

Friday 21st of August 2020

This looks really good but I cant figure out why it has a freakish amount of fat, cholesterol and sodium in it. Is that nutritional information correct?

Brian Jones

Saturday 29th of August 2020

Hi Martha... I have no idea I am afraid, I use a third party application to provide indicative nutritional data and it is just that, indicative. If this data is very important to you then you should always double check using an independent provider.

Iqbal

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!

Mollie

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

Simon

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.

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