Hot & Sour Chicken Pathia Curry

A Chicken pathia is a hot, sweet and sour curry that finds itself very at home in the British Curry house and it is also MY personal favourite!

The usual habitat for a chicken pathia seems to be a British curry house. This fiery sweet and sour number with Gujarati leanings should be shown a lot more love.

A Sweet and Sour Indian Curry.

When I lived in the UK there was a phase when a pathia or patia curry was the only thing I ordered from an Indian menu.

Not because I didnโ€™t like or understand the other stuff. But purely and simply because it was my favourite thing on any menu!

As a result, it was only going to be so long before it ended up joining my long list of Indian Curry Recipes here on Krumpli!

As with all phases, they pass but a pathia curry remains one of my favourite dishes. Fabulously spicy and with a distinct sweet and sour vibe.

If you would prefer to avoid the sweet thing then you must check out my Acahri Chicken recipe!

The usual habitat for a pathia curry seems to be a British curry house. Although it is far less well known than the likes of Chicken Tikka Masala or a Vindaloo.

This fiery sweet and sour number with Gujarati leanings should be shown a lot more love.

The usual habitat for a chicken pathia seems to be a British curry house. This fiery sweet and sour number with Gujarati leanings should be shown a lot more love.

The Sour Element.

A traditional Pathia or Patia curry hails from Persia where the sweet element of this curry would have been jaggery and the sour element tamarind.

But this curry makes no pretence of being authentic. This is a curry inspired by the flavours of the curry I fell in love with in British Indian Curry Houses.

My version sticks with tamarind as the sour element because I love it! It is both sour and earthy, far more complex than lemon or lime juice.

I use it a lot in cooking but my favourite example that really sings of tamarind is the sauce for these slow roast duck legs.

I usually cook from a block of tamarind pulp, it is a messy business but simple job.

Soak a lump of tamarind pulp in the same weight of boiling water and let it sit for 15 minutes, giving it a mash every so often. 

Then pass it through a fine-mesh sieve.

The yield varies massively but generally speaking, your final yield will be half of the weight of the original “lump”.

You can also buy tamarind concentrate, it is anywhere between 4 and 10 times concentrated. So take a look at the jar if that is what you are using.

I always have some in my store cupboard as it lasts forever, but I find it has a metallic tone I am not keen on.

The usual habitat for a chicken pathia seems to be a British curry house. This fiery sweet and sour number with Gujarati leanings should be shown a lot more love.

The Sweet Element.

This is the bit where I am gonna get all controversial!

I tried all sorts of sweet elements from sugar of all colours, honey all the way through to jaggery to get to my final pathia recipe.

But nothing came close to being quite so good as mango chutney.

Yup, you read that right!

The combination of the sweet fruity flavour, the hint of acidity and complexity of spice worked perfectly.

I would often stir come of the chutney from the table through my curry when eating in a curry house. So it really is not that great a leap for me!

Naturally, the recipe will change flavour depending on your mango chutney but that is all part of the magic.

I do tend to stick to mild mango chutney, but you can use spicy. Just be sure to bear that in mind when adding chilli to the final dish.

If you wanna make your own give this mango chutney recipe by the ever wonderful Striped Spatula a spin!

I do on occasions make my own but we are not exactly overwhelmed by fresh mango here in central Europe.

The usual habitat for a chicken pathia seems to be a British curry house. This fiery sweet and sour number with Gujarati leanings should be shown a lot more love.

Serving Suggestions.

I almost always sprinkle this with extra chopped chilli peppers.

I like that raw chilli heat alongside the thick sweet and sour sauce. It also means you can increase or decrease the heat for those less in love with chilli heat!

The obvious suggestion for this fantastic sweet and sour curry is naan bread and rice.

However, the thick almost sticky sauce lends itself to be thinner flatbread like chapati or roti.

But it also makes the most incredible filling for a wrap!

Add some crisp lettuce and cucumber and you have the perfect lunch if you ask me. I will often make a little extra and set it aside just for this purpose.

Chicken Pathia Recipe

Chicken Pathia Recipe

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

The usual habitat for a chicken pathia seems to be a British curry house, I think this fiery sweet and sour number with Gujarati leanings should be shown a lot more love.


  • 200g Onion
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Ghee
  • 1/8 Tsp Asafoetida
  • 1 Tsp Chili Flakes
  • 2 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 100 ml Tamarind Pulp
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tbsp Mango Chutney
  • 4 Cardamom Pods
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Ghee
  • 350 g Chicken
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves
  • Salt to Taste


  1. Cut the onion in half and peel, roughly chop half and place in a blender with the garlic cloves and blitz, using just enough water to form a smooth paste.
  2. Take the second half of the onion and slice into 8 wedges and set aside.
  3. Cut the chicken into a 2cm dice.
  4. Heat the ghee over a medium high heat and when warm add the asafoetida and chili flakes and cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Now add in the onion and garlic paste, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the turmeric and cumin, stir and cook for 60 seconds before adding the tamarind pulp, tomato paste and mango chutney.
  7. Now throw in the bay leaf, cardamom pods and lime juice, check seasoning and add salt as required and allow to simmer for 15 minutes over a low heat.
  8. After the sauce has been simmering for 10 minutes, heat the second tablespoon of ghee in another pan over a medium high heat and when hot add the chicken and remaining onion from step 1 then cook moving occasionally for 3-4 minutes.
  9. Transfer to the sauce then add in the fenugreek leaves and cook for a further minute or so and then and simmer until cooked with a lid on, this should take a further 5-10 minutes.


Serve with Naan bread and basmati rice.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 702 Total Fat: 37g Saturated Fat: 15g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 19g Cholesterol: 198mg Sodium: 465mg Carbohydrates: 48g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 26g Protein: 48g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

38 thoughts on this Recipe:

  1. Really enjoyed following this recipe, and was delicious. I found the tamarin pulp tricky to get right. Do you have more detailed instructions on weights etc?

    • Hey Ian… Glad you enjoyed this I will rewrite the Tamarind section in the next couple of days and look at adding a new post on creating tamarind paste from a block of pulp in the coming weeks ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. My wife and I love experimenting with Indian dishes. We tried this for the first time tonight. Great dish and really enjoyed the sweet, sour, hot spiciness of the dish. I have a jar of ready to use tamarind paste that I bought for making Pad Tai (have yet to find a really good Pad Tai recipe) and two tablespoons of that concentration certainly gave it a nice sour kick. We always like to have some form of vegetable so we julienned a yellow bell pepper and sprinkled it on top for the final simmer. That worked out quite well. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for taking your time to write to me Bob! So glad you liked this recipe, I know I am probably not meant to say this but this is my favourite curry recipe, I think it is like admitting you have a favourite child or something ๐Ÿ˜‰ Cooking is most definitely all about the eater so the addition of peppers is great if it works for you!

      I’m totally with you on a pad thai recipe, I have been trying to work on something I am prepared to put my name to for 6 months and am certainly not there yet!

    • Hey Mrs Garner… That’s a tough one, Tamarind has an almost sweet and sour earthy flavour, you will never get it exactly the same without using tamarind but for this recipe I would suggest using lemon or lime juice.

      You should have plenty of sweetness from the mango chutney, you need to balance that out with your souring agent. So taste as you go until you get a balance you are happy with.

      If you can get it Mango powder which is also known as amchur will help with adding a bit more ‘sourness and earthiness’ to dish. Again you will need to do this to taste.

      Which ever you add throw them in at stage 6 on the list and test as it is cooking down for the 15 minutes.

      Enjoy and do let me know how you get on.


    • I used prunes and it was amazing, Iโ€™d use about 60g – 100g depending on how sweet and sour you want the curry. I used 100g and it was perfect for me, maybe a little rich so Iโ€™d probably use slightly less. I boiled the prunes to soften them and used some of the water to blitz them up into a paste and I guess you can just gradually add in each spoon until it tastes how you want

      • That is an ingenious idea that I am sure it tasted fantastic, you could soften them in all sort of interesting liquids too to change up the flavour profiles. Love it!

  3. thankyou Brian it’s one of the nicest currys. very tasty indeed. if I’m looking to make a curry this is where I come 1st. your butter chicken is on my to do list. Cheers

    • That’s wonderful to here, cheers ash… I am currently working on the take of a dhansak, still needs a bit of tweaking though, tweaking is my favourite part for obvious reasons!

    • Just double up the quantities, cooking time will remain pretty much the same although it may take a little longer to brown the chicken in step 7, enjoy!

  4. Thank you for your reply. I will order the block of tamarind pulp so I can follow your recipes more precisely. Like I said, the curry was delishous, both sweet and sour as yiou describe. I am getting better with metric measurements, thanks to your site. Best, Gail

    • You are welcome Gail, have fun… There are a couple of new Lamb curries thtat I have posted in the last week that are glorious, particularly the Keema matar that just went live ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. As an American and being unfamiliar with the metric system of measurement, could you explain the 100ml of tamarind pulp? I was making this recipe and got to the tamarind and realized that the 100ml was over 1/2 cup and that just didn’t seem right. I subbed a 1/2 cup water, making the sauce thin enough to simmer, then added tamarind concentrate to taste. It turned out great, but having never had pathia before, I wonder if I did it right. I served it with basmati rice and naan and it was a hit. Love your site.

    • Hey Gail, sorry I have been away so have not had chance to write the reply you deserve from my phone. Firstly I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe it really is a favourite of mine and you absolutely did the right thing in terms of making it taste right for you. It would seem that tamarind pulp means different things around the world (which is new to me so I am glad that you flagged it up), I’ll be doing some more research and updating all of my recipes that contain tamarind to reference exactly what I use.

      But in the interim and for your reference, tamarind in the main here in Europe is sold as a sticky large block which you cut a section off and soak in boiling water, the resulting mash needs to be passed through a sieve and forms the tamarind ‘pulp’. I will need to try and understand what other forms it comes in order to make a full comment. However the joy of foods like this is that you can taste as you go, also one of the greatest perks. In short a pathia should be intensly sweet and sour so you need a lot of tamarind to sit along side the mango chutney, hence the 100ml which is just under half a cup.

      I’m still looking for a solution that I can add for converting amounts from metric to imperial and cups but all of them end up being deeply disappointing in real use and I personally find googling a much more reliable result than relying on a website plugin.

      Thanks one again for taking the time to write and whilst this answer is not yet complete I hope it helps a little.

      Brian ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Brian.
      This is the first home cooked curry I’ve done that’s tastes as if it came out of a indian restaurant. ABSOLUTELY delish.
      Tried hundreds and none have tasted as good as this.
      For the tamarind I used 2 tsps of concentrate in 100ml of water and it was perfect and the mango chutney is ingenious!
      Looking forward to doing the balti next.
      Thanks, fantastic site.

      • Hey Laurence, I saw your review a couple of days ago and it made me very happy. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment as well, I cannot respond to reviews, but can to comments.

        So glad you enjoyed it, the Balti is p=one of my favourites but as a chap from Birmingham I am duty bound to have the balti as one of my favourite curries!

  6. One of my favourite restaurant curries. I do a lot of Gujarati cooking and have a few twists on the Pathia too, often add my home made spicy (really spicy – made with peach nagas) mango chutney which works so well with this dish.

  7. Can’t wait to try this. Mate just brought it in to work on nights shift in a slow cooker and it tastes amazing. Good job!!

  8. Wonderful recipe.I like this and I think this is very delicious. I am going to make this recipe for my family and husband Thanks for sharing

  9. Brian what a fabulous and rich looking curry this is. I love the golden glow in your photograph. It is very inviting and reminds us all how good curries are. They certainly play a big part in our diet.

  10. I am an Indian, but haven’t ever tried this. That first shot definitely drew my attention and I now need to try it. The addition of mango chutney sounds like a great discovery and something I will definitely experiment with when I next cook and Indian chicken curry.

    • The mango chutney idea came from an Indian friend mayn years ago when living in the UK, I love the complexity it adds to the dish and apparently it was her Indian way of playing around with way Brits add Marmalade to an orange chicken casserole ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It certainly tastes like an authentic ‘Anglo Indian’ Curry, although they do typically vary a little from the curries I tried when I visited India and Pakistan many years ago although the base flavours are very similar.

  11. I love Indian curries – grew up eating them – but this is my first time stumbling on a Pathia – I am fascinated by it’s origin. Your rendition looks marvelous, btw.

    • Thanks Shashi, its appearance in the UK also seems very focused on the Midlands as I rarely saw it during my time living in the south of the UK or when visiting the North… It’s fascinating how migrant populations bring very specific food with them, when they arrive on foreign shores, I know I have done the same with very specific British regional dishes now I live in Hungary ๐Ÿ™‚


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