Curry chicken
Chicken preparation in Malvani style.jpg
A chicken curry from Maharashtra with rice flour chapatis
Place of originIndian subcontinent
Region or stateIndian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, British Isles, and Caribbean
Main ingredientsChicken, onions, ginger, garlic, chili peppers, spices (turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala)

Chicken curry is a dish originating from the Indian subcontinent. It is common in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Great Britain, Caribbean, and Japan. A typical curry from the Indian subcontinent consists of chicken stewed in an onion- and tomato-based sauce, flavoured with ginger, garlic, tomato puree, chilli peppers and a variety of spices, often including turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cardamom. Outside of South Asia, chicken curry is often made with a pre-made spice mixture known as curry powder.

Regional variations

See also: Curry

Indian subcontinent

Indian cuisine has a large amount of regional variation, with many variations on the basic chicken curry recipe. Indian chicken curry typically starts with whole spices, heated in oil. A sauce is then made with onions, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes, and powdered spices. Bone-in pieces of chicken are then added to the sauce, and simmered until cooked through.[1] In south India, coconut and curry leaves are also common ingredients.[2] Chicken curry is usually garnished with coriander leaves, and served with rice or roti.

In south India, chicken curry may be thickened using coconut milk.[3]


This dish was introduced to the Caribbean by indentured Indian girmitya workers. At that time, the dish was very similar to the chicken curry dish of India, consisting mostly of sauce with few chicken pieces. However, poultry in Trinidad and Tobago was so readily available, the dish began consisting of mainly chicken, flavored with curry spices. Typical preparation include washing and then seasoning and marinating the chicken meat in a green seasoning consisting of bandhania, dhania, pudina, thyme, scallion, onion, garlic, and peppers. Then the curry is prepared by first adding oil to the pot and then adding the phoran, which in the Caribbean consist of caripoulé, cut-up onions, peppers, and tomatoes, and garlic paste (some add ginger too). Some may also add saunf, jeera and meethi seeds along with the phoran. Then Madras curry powder (some also additionally add garam masala or any other masala they wish), mixed with water and green seasoning is added to the pot and fried up with the phoran in the oil, in a process known as bunjay or bujna. Then the marinated chicken is added to the pot and salt, black pepper, and sometimes roasted jeera powder is added. At this point aloo, pigeon peas, channa, or baigan is sometimes added. Then it is left to cook for 15–20 minutes on medium heat. Afterwards, water (some additionally add coconut milk) is added to make the soorwah or sauce/gravy and it is brought to a boil on lower to medium heat for 5–10 minutes. It is usually served with paratha or dalpuri roti or with dal bhat (dal and rice).[4] Curry chicken and its derivatives are also popular in Suriname, Guyana, Jamaica, and other Caribbean territories with Indian and South Asian influence.

Southeast Asia

Kaeng yot maphrao sai kai is a northern Thai curry of palm shoots and chicken.
Kaeng yot maphrao sai kai is a northern Thai curry of palm shoots and chicken.

In Southeast Asia, where coconuts, and different spices originated, various native dishes made with coconut milk or curry pastes and eaten with rice are often collectively referred to as "curries" in English.[5] Examples of these include Cambodian kari sach moan, Thai gaeng gai and Filipino ginataang manok. Chicken curries feature prominently in the repertoire of Burmese curries and in Burmese ohn no khao swè, a noodle soup of coconut milk and curried chicken.[6][7]

However, derivatives of Indian chicken curry may be distinguished because they are relatively modern and are made with curry powder, curry tree leaves, or other Indian spices, like the Filipino chicken curry and the Malaysian chicken curry, although they still use ingredients native to Southeast Asia.[8][9]

North America

Country captain chicken is a stewed chicken dish flavored with curry powder, popular in parts of the Southern United States. The Hobson-Jobson Dictionary states the following:

COUNTRY-CAPTAIN. This is in Bengal the name of a peculiar dry kind of curry, often served as a breakfast dish. We can only conjecture that it was a favourite dish at the table of the skippers of ‘country ships,’ who were themselves called ‘country captains,’ as in our first quotation. In Madras the term is applied to a spatchcock dressed with onions and curry stuff, which is probably the original form. [Riddell says: “Country-captain.—Cut a fowl in pieces; shred an onion small and fry it brown in butter; sprinkle the fowl with fine salt and curry powder and fry it brown; then put it into a stewpan with a pint of soup; stew it slowly down to a half and serve it with rice” (Ind. Dom. Econ. 176).]

1792.—"But now, Sir, a Country Captain is not to be known from an ordinary man, or a Christian, by any certain mark whatever." —Madras Courier, April 26.

c. 1825.—"The local name for their business was the 'Country Trade,' the ships were 'Country Ships,' and the masters of them 'Country Captains.' Some of my readers may recall a dish which was often placed before us when dining on board these vessels at Whampoa, viz. ‘Country Captain.'"—The Fankwae at Canton (1882), p. 33.[10]

This dish dates back to the early 1800s.[citation needed] A British sea captain stationed in Bengal, India, shared the recipe for this dish with some friends at the major shipping port in Savannah, Georgia.[citation needed]

In 1940, Mrs. W.L. Bullard from Warm Springs, Georgia served this dish under the name Country Captain to Franklin D. Roosevelt (the 32nd president of the United States of America) and to General George S. Patton (a distinguished U.S. Army General). Their warm praise and keen liking and love of this dish were factors in reforging the Southern United States classic status. Roosevelt was so fond of Warm Springs, Georgia, that he built his only self-owned home in Warm Springs. It was a medium-sized, six room cottage, that he liked to call "The Little White House".[11]

See also


  1. ^ Sanjeev Kapoor's Khazana. "Quick and Easy Chicken Curry". Archived from the original on 2021-12-15. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  2. ^ Sanjay Thumma. "Grandma's Curry chicken". Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  3. ^ J. S. Pruthi (1999). Quick Freezing Preservation of Foods: Foods of plant origin. ALLIED PUBLISHERS LIMITED. p. 178. ISBN 9788170239635.
  4. ^ Trinidad Curry Chicken - Cooking With Ria
  5. ^ Van Esterik, Penny (2008). Food Culture in Southeast Asia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 58–59. ISBN 9780313344206.
  6. ^ Marks, Copeland; Thein, Aung (1994-09-08). The Burmese Kitchen: Recipes from the Golden Land. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-59077-260-7.
  7. ^ Aye, MiMi (2019-06-13). Mandalay: Recipes and Tales from a Burmese Kitchen. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4729-5948-5.
  8. ^ "Filipino Style Chicken Curry". Panlasang Pinoy. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  9. ^ "Malaysian Curry Chicken". Nyonya Cooking. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  10. ^ The Hobson-Jobson Anglo-Indian dictionary: A glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms, etymological, historical, geographical and discursive. COUNTRY-CAPTAIN to COWLE. Ltd.
  11. ^ Bunning Stevens, Patricia (October 1998). Rare Bits: Unusual Origins of Popular Recipes. Athens, Ohio, USA: Ohio University Press. ISBN 0-8214-1232-9.