Chicken Pathia: Sweet and Sour Indian Curry

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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.

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.

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.

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!

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.
5 from 6 votes
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.
Chicken Pathia: Sweet and Sour Indian Curry
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins

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.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 2
Calories: 575 kcal
Author: Brian Jones
  • 200g Onion
  • 4 Cloves Garlic.
  • 1 Tbsp Ghee. Sub for butter or neutral cooking oil.
  • 1/8 Tsp Asafoetida. AKA Hing
  • 1 Tsp Chili Flakes.
  • 2 Tsp Turmeric.
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin.
  • 100 ml Tamarind Pulp.
  • 3 Tbsp Tomato Paste.
  • 2 Tbsp Mango Chutney.
  • 4 Cardamom Pods.
  • 1 Bay Leaf.
  • 1 Tbsp Lime Juice.
  • 1 Tbsp Ghee. Sub for butter or neutral cooking oil.
  • 350 g Chicken. 2cm dice, I personally prefer thigh but breast would work too.
  • 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. Heat the ghee over a medium high heat and when warm add the asafoetida and chili flakes and cook for 30 seconds.
  4. Now add in the onion and garlic paste, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the turmeric and cumin, stir and cook for 60 seconds before adding the tamarind pulp, tomato paste and mango chutney.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Recipe Notes

Serve with Naan bread and basmati rice.

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.



  1. Shashi at RunninSrilankan December 16, 2016 at 6:17 am - Reply

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

    • Brian Jones December 16, 2016 at 6:48 am - Reply

      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 🙂

  2. Bintu - Recipes From A Pantry December 16, 2016 at 10:33 am - Reply

    Love all the spices, bet this tastes really authentic. It’s always worth using fresh spices for a curry

    • Brian Jones December 20, 2016 at 7:25 am - Reply

      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.

  3. Kate December 16, 2016 at 11:34 am - Reply

    This sounds so lovely and fragrant! I love a nice curry.

  4. Shumaila December 16, 2016 at 11:58 am - Reply

    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.

    • Brian Jones December 20, 2016 at 7:29 am - Reply

      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 🙂

  5. Mark, Compass & Fork December 16, 2016 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    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.

    • Brian Jones December 20, 2016 at 7:30 am - Reply

      Cheers Mark, the mango chutney adds such a rich shine and colour.

  6. Maha Khan / sooperchef.pk April 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    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

  7. Dan May 13, 2017 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    this is just great. Well done BJ

  8. Ash Curtis October 24, 2017 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    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!!

  9. Will November 12, 2017 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    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.

  10. Gail January 8, 2018 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    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.

    • Brian Jones January 11, 2018 at 8:49 am - Reply

      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 🙂

  11. Gail January 11, 2018 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    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

    • Brian Jones January 16, 2018 at 8:16 am - Reply

      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 🙂

  12. ash January 24, 2018 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    hi mate what do you do if your making it for 4 people I’m making it now. cheers

    • Brian Jones January 24, 2018 at 4:05 pm - Reply

      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!

  13. ash January 28, 2018 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    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

    • Brian Jones January 31, 2018 at 9:25 am - Reply

      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!

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