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Garlic Chilli Chicken Indian Restaurant Style Curry

Garlic chilli chicken is a curry often found in British Indian curry restaurants and takeaways, my version is rich, thick & fragrantly spiced.

This delicious restaurant style chicken curry cooks in around 35 minutes, it is also perfect for preparing in advance and reheating.

Overhead garlic chilli chicken Indian style curry served with fresh chilli and coriander.

Curry Restaurant Style Chicken Curry

The almost ubiquitous garlic chilli chicken curry is an ever-popular dish on British Indian restaurant menus.

Possibly more than any other dish (in my experience) it varies from place to place.

I have done an awful lot of research since returning to the UK by ordering this a lot, it’s a hard life! I was surprised by how much variation there is in this recipe.

Sure dishes like lamb rogan josh, palak chicken, chicken Ceylon, chicken dopiaza, chicken chasni and even chicken tikka masala feature some variation from restaurant to restaurant. But nothing to the extent of this garlic and chilli curry.

This recipe, like all of my recipes, is my interpretation of a dish and not an ode to a particular iteration.

It majors in garlic and chilli, 10 cloves of garlic for two people ensures that the vampires stay away. Although that pales in comparison to the whole head of garlic used in my pork belly curry!

Plenty of chilli makes this dish pleasingly hot without being a challenge to eat.

I use three types of chilli, dried Kashmiri chillies add a mellow background heat and flavour. Green bird’s eye chillies offer a fierce punch of spice.

Fresh relatively mild chilli peppers offer a final fresh and vibrant source of heat.

Dried fenugreek (kashuri methi) and fresh curry leaves ensure that this recipe screams of the “curry house” experience.

Close up garlic chilli chicken Indian style curry served with fresh chilli and coriander.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I cook this in advance?

Yes, this is a great curry to prepare in advance. Like many dishes of this ilk the flavours develop well with a night in the fridge.

Stored properly in an airtight container this will store in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Where can I get fresh curry leaves?

You should be able to get them from any decent Indian stores.

They will typically come in a packet far too large for a single dish, but they freeze really well!

Can I use dried curry leaves?

I would not bother personally speaking because they have very little flavour.

Do I have to cook this in a wok?

No, you can cook this in either a frying pan or a medium saucepan (24cm).

I like to use a wok because it reduces the sauce to just the right level. Cooking this recipe in a frying pan will result in a dryer curry and a saucepan a wetter curry.

Garlic chilli chicken Indian style curry served with fresh chilli and coriander.

Serving Suggestions

Like most of my curry recipes, I serve my garlic chilli chicken with either tandoori style naan bread or chapatis.

However, there are a host of other dishes that make an ideal side or even a garnish to this delicious curry.

I will often serve a pot of kachumber salad on the side of this recipe because the fresh crispness helps cool the fiery burn.

Potatoes are an often-overlooked side dish for a curry. When I first started eating Indian food back in the 80’s I would always order a curry with chips!

But now I am really very fond of serving a curry with either aloo methi or roasted Bombay potatoes.

Of course, you can just go with rice. I usually favour plain boiled rice but a good pilau rice is also a good option.

Garlic chilli chicken curry served with fresh chilli and coriander in an iron karai.

Equipment Used

I only mention specific brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • Wok, I use a large carbon steel wok.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Stirring and serving spoons.
Garlic chilli chicken curry served with fresh chilli and coriander in an iron karai.
Yield: 2 Servings

Garlic Chilli Chicken Curry Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Garlic chilli chicken, a curry house favourite and a recipe with a thousand variations. My version goes heavy with garlic and chilli but also fragrant with fennel, cumin and coriander wrapped in a thick rich gravy.


  • 350g (12oz) Chicken Thighs
  • 1 (150g) Onion
  • 10 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Large (150g) Tomato
  • 1 Tsp Corainder Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper Corns
  • ½ Tsp Fennel Seeds
  • ½ Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 3 Birds Eye Green Chilli Peppers
  • 2 Tbsp Ghee
  • 8 Curry Leaves
  • 6 Dried Kashmiri Chilli Peppers
  • 6 Cardamom Pods
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 2 Tsp Gram Flour
  • ½ Tsp Amchoor
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric
  • 250ml (1 Cup) Water
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek
  • 1 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 Medium Red Chilli Peppers


  1. Cut the chicken into 2-3cm (1-1.½") cubes.
  2. Top and tail the onion then cut it in half, remove the skin then slice it into 1cm thick slices top to bottom of the onion.
  3. Peel and slice the garlic cloves as finely as you can.
  4. Cut the tomato into a rough 1cm (½") dice.
  5. Heat a wok over a medium high heat and add the coriander, cumin, black pepper and fennel seeds.
  6. Toast for 2-3 minutes then grind in a pestle and mortar and set aside.
  7. Cut the green chilli peppers in half lengthways.
  8. Bruise the cardamom pods by pressing with the side of a knife.
  9. Return the wok to the pan over a high heat and add the ghee, curry leaves, slit green chillies, dried chillies and cardamom pods and cook for 30 seconds stirring continuously.
  10. Throw in the chopped onion and cook for 5-6 minutes.
  11. Add the sliced garlic and cook for another minute.
  12. Throw in the chicken and salt, then cook for 5 minutes.
  13. Add the tomato puree and gram flour, spice blend turmeric and amchoor, then cook for 1 minute.
  14. Pour in the water, add the diced tomato, brown sugar and dried fenugreek, then reduce the heat to medium-low, stir and cook for 20 minutes.
  15. Deseed the red chilli peppers and cut them into thin strips and sprinkle them over the curry before serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 680Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 257mgSodium: 915mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 7gSugar: 16gProtein: 49g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

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!


Saturday 27th of May 2023

Hi there, at which point do you use the ghee? It's not listed in the recipe steps. I'd hate to burn something, my work gets fiery hot!

Brian Jones

Sunday 28th of May 2023

Hey Tania, sorry about that, I have updated the recipe, the ghee gets used to fry the curry leaves and bits just before the onions go in.

You really do not want an fierce heat, just a high heat!


Saturday 29th of January 2022

Well that's a funny thing. We fancied garlic chilli chicken tonight, so I came to your site to see if I could adapt your chicken balti.

What's the second new recipe I see?

Brian Jones

Saturday 5th of February 2022

Perfect timing :)

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