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Chicken Pathia Sweet & Sour Curry

A chicken pathia or patia is a spicy, sweet & sour curry that has origins in Persia but it is now a favourite in British Indian restaurants.

A dish definitely on the spicier side of curries it features a wonderful balance of flavours too.

It is rare for food bloggers to declare favourites, but this is hands down my favourite recipe on my website, I love this dish!

Portrait image of a chicken pathia or patia curry served on a plate with rice, chilli slices and fresh coriander

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 didn’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, Chicken Rogan Josh or a Vindaloo.

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

Portrait overhead image of a chicken pathia or patia curry served on a plate with rice, chilli slices and fresh coriander

The Sweet & Sour Elements.

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

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. But I do add a little lime juice for good measure too!

I use tamarind 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 a simple job.

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.

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

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

Portrait close up image of a chicken pathia or patia curry served on a plate with rice, chilli slices and fresh coriander

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.

Square image of a chicken pathia or patia curry served on a plate with rice, chilli slices and fresh coriander
Yield: 2 Servings

Chicken Pathia Curry Recipe

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.

Ingredients

  • 350 g Chicken Thighs
  • 1 Large Onion (around 250g or 8-9oz)
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Ghee
  • 1/2 Tsp Asafoetida
  • 1 Tsp Chili Flakes
  • 2 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 65g (1.5" cube) Tamarind Pulp
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tbsp Mango Chutney
  • 6 Cardamom Pods
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves
  • 60-120ml (1/4-1/2 Cup) Water
  • Salt to Taste

Instructions

  1. Soak the tamarind cube in 60ml or 1/4 cup boiling water, mash occasionally.
  2. Peel the onion and cut it in half.
  3. Roughly chop half of the onion and place in a blender with the garlic cloves and blend to form a smooth paste.
  4. Take the second half of the onion and slice into 8 wedges and set aside.
  5. Push the tamarind through a fine mesh sieve you should end up with around 50-60ml or 1/4 cup of paste.
  6. Cut the chicken into a 2-3cm dice.
  7. Heat the ghee over a medium-high heat and when hot add the asafoetida and chilli flakes and cook for 30 seconds.
  8. Add in the onion and garlic paste, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, then onions should begin to colour and by fairly dry.
  9. Stir in the turmeric and cumin.
  10. Add the tomato paste, mango chutney and tamarind.
  11. Throw in the bay leaf, cardamom pods and the juice of the lime.
  12. Check the seasoning and add salt as required.
  13. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes over a low heat.
  14. Heat the remaining ghee in frying pan over a medium-high heat.
  15. Add the chicken and onion wedges and cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  16. Add the paste to the chicken and the dried fenugreek leaves.
  17. Pour in the water, stir to form a sauce and cover with a lid.
  18. Cook until the chicken is cooked through which will take a final 7-12 minutes.

Notes

IMPORTANT! If you are using tamarind from a jar or a bottle add half to a quarter of the amount and taste adding more to taste!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 702Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 198mgSodium: 465mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 6gSugar: 26gProtein: 48g

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!

Paul

Tuesday 5th of April 2022

Yes, this is very clever. The mango chutney versus the tamarind and lime works brilliantly. The portion I ate the day after making it was even better.

Brian Jones

Monday 11th of April 2022

Glad you enjoyed it Paul, the flavours do play so well nicely together, especially on ay 2... Sadly I rarely have leftovers ;)

marie

Tuesday 1st of February 2022

this was so nice, I had to substitute the tamarind paste as I could not find any (UK is having some supply issues right now). I used a lemon and Worcestershire sauce mix substitute I found online. I can't wait to make it with actual tamarind paste and taste the difference. Halfway through the cooking, I was thinking I had made a grave mistake as there was no way my kids were going to eat it, but we have clean plates all around. For anybody who is cooking for children and needs to be heat aware, without the added chillies on top I would say this hit at about the heat of a rogan josh, me and the teen were fine, the younger two needed to stretch it slightly further with the sides but weren't overwhelmed by it. It has gone on the list of our regular meals by unanimous vote.

Brian Jones

Saturday 5th of February 2022

Glad you enjoyed it Marie... The Worcestershire sauce and lemon mix is an interesting one. I moved back to the UK at the end of last year and I feel your pain on supply issues, it's all very frustrating/.

Paul

Thursday 6th of January 2022

Brilliant. Used a lot of other Pathia recipes that involve fewer ingredients but this was worth the extra effort. Only difference was I didn't add bay leaves and chucked in some coriander at the end. Just to be awkward, I used more tamarind than Raven down there and I loved it.

Brian Jones

Friday 14th of January 2022

Glad you enjoyed it Paul, I love this recipe, it is my favourite curry. I took all of the aspects of pathia that I loved and made it my own, I love seeing other people take that on and make their own dish!

Carmen

Friday 19th of March 2021

the only changes that I made was using homemade "wheat meat" some extra veg and a teaspoon of cane sugar.....but it tasted like the Pathia that I've had from the takeaway, delicious! Thank you x

Brian Jones

Saturday 20th of March 2021

Glad you enjoyed it :)

Raven

Tuesday 14th of April 2020

Tried this last night. May I just say that two teaspoons of my tamarind paste (store bought) was just too much for me and so too much indeed for most anyone else. I will make a note and adjust for next time .... that said, this is a repeater for sure. Thanks for the recipe.

Brian Jones

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

Hey Raven, glad this is a keeper... Sorry about the amarind can be a real pain, I will amend my recipe to encourage more "adding a little at a time" approach, I do mention it a little with regard to tamarind concentrate but not with ready to go jar stuff.

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