There was a wee phase when I lived back in the UK many moons ago that a Chicken Pathia was the only thing I ordered from an Indian menu… Not because I didn’t like or understand the other stuff but purely and simply it was my favourite thing on any menu. As with all phases they pass but a chicken pathia remains one of my favourite dishes, fabulously spicy and with a distinct sweet and sour vibe. I started working this recipe after my first trip back to the UK a number of years ago, of course one of the first things we did was to go out for a curry and this was what I ordered, so when we returned to Hungary this was a dish I new I had to recreate. Naturally Google was my first port of call and low and behold every recipe I found was different and after trying a few new that I would be creating my own new recipe as well as none of what I found sounded or even tasted like what I know as a chicken pathia.
Apparently this dish is of Gujarati and Persian origin but as you know by now I am never driven by authenticity but by what make my belly smile, so I kinda took the basis of a pathia, a spicy, sweet and sour curry with at tomato based sauce and built it up from a experiments and memories. As I mentioned in my Chicken Balti recipe, Indian restaurants in the UK usually start with a base sauce and build from there, sure this is for convenience and I will always build a new sauce but the cooking method leads to a distinctive style in terms of texture so as ever this was my base point for this and most of my British Indian Restaurant style dishes. My Eureka moment with this chicken pathia recipe came with the addition of mango chutney as the sweet element and I have no idea where it came from. I tried all sorts of sweet elements from sugar and honey through to jaggery and never got anything quite so good as this, the combination of the sweetness and fruitiness is perfect, naturally the recipe will change flavour depending on your mango chutney but that is all part of the magic. I do on occasions make my own but we are not exactly overwhelmed by fresh mango here in central Europe so tend to go with shop bought but hell it is a great excuse for a taste test, stock up on poppadoms 😀