This jalfrezi curry is made with chunks of juicy curried chicken breast, beautiful tender-crisp bell peppers, and onions smothered in a thick and rich mouthwatering tomato sauce. Serve with a side of Naan bread or on a bed of basmati rice for an impressive restaurant-quality dish with robust flavors, that is simple enough to make at home!
If you’re a world traveler looking to replicate something you’ve eaten while on a South-Asian journey, or simply want to recreate a dish from one of your favorite local Indian restaurants or take-out spots, this recipe for chicken jalfrezi is for you. It’s so good and as near authentic, as you’re going to get this side of the Indian Ocean!
I personally love ALL Indian food but there is something about a really good curry, like this chickpea and potato curry or coconut curry, that I can’t get enough of! I encourage you to check out some of my most popular Indian recipes such as butter chicken or mushroom bhaji. Your family will love them all!
Curry is less about “heat” than it is about the blend of some of the world’s most incredible spices that ironically, you’ve probably already got in your pantry! Adjust the spice to your tastes and take your taste buds on a journey with my quick and easy recipe that is so good you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it!
Why You’ll Love Jalfrezi Chicken
- It’s curry! Curry dishes are something you either love or have never had the pleasure of eating before. There is no in-between. Trust me, it’s science!
- The ultimate taste experience. The rich seasonings, delicious curry flavor, and succulent pieces of chicken make this is a showstopper of a dish!
- Quick and easy. The intense flavors of this recipe come from the perfect blend of individual spices that are readily found in your grocery store or your cupboards! It comes together quickly, you’ll have a weeknight dinner ready in no time.
- Versatile. This dish can be customized to your preferences. Make it with different meat, or a vegetarian version.
- Kid-friendly. I know sometimes curry is associated with spicy food, but that’s not always the case. Adjust the heat or make it downright mild and your kids will be asking for seconds!
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Seasoning – Ground cumin, turmeric, chili powder, and coriander are blended to make what is known as curry.
- Garam masala – Another spice blend with a warmer note to it, including toasted spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Together, the curry and garam masala is magic. You can buy this at the store, or make my easy homemade version at home!
- Vegetable oil – I use vegetable oil for this recipe because its neutral flavor won’t interfere with the flavor explosion that is the rich seasoning. You can use olive oil if you’d prefer, for its health benefits, just be sure to use one with as mellow of flavor as possible.
- Chicken – Boneless, skinless chicken breasts diced into 1” inch pieces. Avoid butterflied breasts. To get the most bang for your buck and the juiciest pieces of chicken, you’ll want thick cuts of chicken breast.
- Salt – The added salt will bring out the flavors in this dish. If you’re worried about the amount of salt in the recipe look for low sodium diced tomatoes.
- Yellow onion – Sautéed with the bell peppers these yellow onion slices become so nice and caramelized and impart so much yummy flavor.
- Bell peppers – I use a combination of green and red for both a sweet and savory veggie addition. Cooked bell peppers are deliciously tender and depending on the color have a varied level of sweetness. So good!
- Chili peppers – I use jalapenos, but I make sure to take out the seeds as to not overwhelm the dish with heat. Of course, depending on how hot you like it, you can keep some or all of the seeds in, or completely switch up the type of chili you use.
- Garlic & ginger – Two very popular aromatics commonly found in many curried dishes around the world. Minced garlic and ginger add a depth of flavor and vibrancy that rounds out everything nicely.
- Water – I use water, some people prefer to use broth. You can do either or. It helps to thin out and dissolve the spices into the sauce.
- Diced tomatoes & tomato paste – It’s a tomato-based sauce that also gets infused with curry spices and garam masala, so it becomes one cohesive dish. Flavor for days!
- Sugar – A common ingredient in tomato sauce, all kinds of pasta sauce, and anything with a tomato base. It helps to cut down the acidity. Not a must, so it’s an optional ingredient.
- Cilantro – A fresh sprinkling of chopped cilantro is the herbaceous finishing touch that takes the dish over the top just before serving!
You can purchase a premade curry powder, but I prefer to blend the spices myself. Not all curry powders are created equal and made with the exact same ingredients. Using single spices to create a blend allows you to use the correct ones in the proper amount.
How to Make the Best Chicken Jalfrezi
- Prep the seasoning. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, turmeric, chili powder, coriander, and garam masala. Set aside.
- Sauté the chicken. In a large stainless steel skillet or nonstick frying pan, heat the oil. Add the chicken and half of the spice mix and salt. Cook while stirring occasionally for 7-8 minutes or until the chicken pieces are fully cooked. Transfer to a plate, and keep warm.
- Cook onion and peppers. In the same skillet, add the remaining oil, then add the onions and bell peppers. Fry the onions and peppers for 2 minutes while stirring.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and chili. Cook for 2 more minutes.
- Deglaze the pan. Add in the water, then add the diced tomatoes, sugar (if using), tomato paste, and the remaining spices. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to scrape off the brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Stir and simmer the sauce for about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the chicken back in to warm up. If the sauce is drying out, just add a splash of water and cook for 1 more minute. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and enjoy!
This dish has a Chinese influence in terms of cooking style. It is stir-fried which moves quickly so having your meat and veg prepped and ready to go helps to streamline the process.
What to Serve with Jalfrezi Curry Chicken
Enjoy on its own with a simple tossed green salad on the side or enjoy scooping it up with pieces of roti.
Finish off your meal with a refreshing glass of homemade mango lassi for dessert!
Tips & Variations
- Gluten-free. This recipe is naturally dairy-free and gluten-free as written, but gluten is a sneaky ingredient that can hide in many places. It’s always a good idea to double-check the packaging of each ingredient. When in doubt, look for a certified gluten-free symbol on the label.
- Adjust the spice. Add as much chili as you like, I used jalapenos but you can use milder chilis like green chiles, Anaheim, poblano, or hatch chili. If you like it a little more spicy, feel free to add more jalapenos, keep some of the seeds in them or swap for hotter chilis like Tabasco or cayenne.
- Use broth. Substitute chicken broth or stock for water for an additional layer of flavor. Additionally, you could use tomato sauce or tomato puree instead of the diced tomatoes and paste.
- Use a thermometer. To read the internal temperature of the chicken, use a kitchen thermometer. Once it has reached 165°F/74, you’ll know it’s done.
- Swap the vegetable oil. Replace the vegetable oil with olive oil, butter, or ghee, if preferred.
Of course, as with any dish, you’re going to find variations and tweaks to this dish. Overall, it’s made with pieces of chicken, onions, and bell peppers simmering in a tomato-based sauce loaded with all the delicious spices that make up a curry along with the warming spices of garam masala.
Although there are many different types of curries from many regions in the world from South Asia, to South East Asia all the way to the Caribbean and through the continent of Africa, each place has its own distinct way of making curried dishes and each one is TASTY!
This specific type of curry, jalfrezi, is unlike other Indian curries because It’s actually influenced by not only Indian cuisine but Chinese too! It was introduced, more recent than traditional curries, using a “stir fry” method of cooking chicken and veg as a way to not let food go to waste. Typical curries require long simmering times, but this short-cut version is much faster without skimping on any of the incredible seasoning and flavor.
You bet! Try lamb or goat instead of chicken. Speaking of, if you ever get a chance to try West Indian curried goat, go for it!
Make this completely vegetarian by adding zucchini and other veggies instead of chicken. Love paneer? Use paneer cheese in place of chicken for a delicious paneer jalfrezi!
Let me know in the comments if you’ve made this recipe. What did you think? Don’t forget to share it with others so they can have an easy curry in a hurry too!
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garam masala click for recipe
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
- 1 ½ pounds (650g) chicken breast boneless and skinless, diced into 1 inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 yellow onion sliced
- 1 red bell pepper diced into bite size pieces
- 1 green bell pepper diced into bite size pieces
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger root minced or grated
- 2 chilis I used jalapenos, deseeded and minced
- 1 cup (240 ml) water
- 1 14-ounce can (400g) diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar optional, to balance the acidity of the tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Cooked basmati rice
- Naan bread
- In a small bowl, combine the cumin, turmeric, chili powder, coriander, and garam masala. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the chicken, season with half of the spice mix and salt, and cook while stirring occasionally for 7-8 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked (reached 165°F/74. Transfer to a warm, and keep warm.
- In the same skillet, add the remaining oil, onion, and bell peppers. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and chilli. Cook for 2 more minutes.
- Deglaze the pan water, then add the diced tomatoes, sugar if using, tomato paste, and the remaining spices.
- Stir and simmer the sauce for 3-4 minutes, then add the chicken back in and warm it up. If you the sauce is drying out, just add a splash of water and cook for 1 more minute.
- Serve over basmati rice or turmeric rice, and fresh naan bread. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.
- To read the internal temperature of the chicken, use a kitchen thermometer. Once it has reached 165°F/74, you’ll know it’s done.
- Nutrition values are a rough estimate per portion without rice.
- Freeze in a sealed container for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight then reheat in a saucepan or in the microwave until warmed through.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen