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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.

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 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.


  • 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


  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.


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:



Serving Size:


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!

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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.

Lynne Barrett-Lee

Saturday 28th of March 2020

This was sooooooo delicious! Didn’t have any mango chutney so used my home made jalapeño jam, and threw in some red pepper strips when frying the the chicken and onion, for extra veg. Your recipes are always so tasty and reliable, Brian! Slowly working my way through them.... ?

Brian Jones

Sunday 29th of March 2020

Thank you so much Lynne, I have been very honest about this being my favourite curry recipe! Love the idea of a jalapeño jam in this, in fact I just love the idea of a jalapeño jam!

Helen cole

Thursday 30th of January 2020

Cant wait to try this out!!! Sound yummy!!

Brian Jones

Monday 3rd of February 2020

Thanks Helen... Of all the recipes on my site so far (nearly 500) this one is probably my favourite :o


Saturday 11th of January 2020

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?

Brian Jones

Sunday 12th of January 2020

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 :)


Friday 8th of June 2018

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.

Brian Jones

Friday 8th of June 2018

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 ;) 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!