Spicy Chicken Curry

with pickled mango

For those of you out there that want a taste of the exotic, this Spicy Chicken Curry is a simple recipe that serves as an easy introduction to Indian home cooking. The chicken is moist, tender and the aroma is a delight to the senses. I cannot get enough of this dish!

There are many variations to curry throughout the regions of India, but this recipe is probably my favorite that I have come across. The flavors are not over powering and I like how the curry spice blend recipe is provided, rather than using a basic spice blend bought from the store.

The original recipe did not include the pickled mango served alongside this dish, however, I am glad that I added it. It definitely gave an extra zing of yummy to the dish. I made my pickled mango not as spicy and used mangoes that were slightly more ripe than unripe, but it overall still tasted awesome.

This dish is best served alongside Naan bread or over jasmine rice. For all you weird vegetarians out there you can substitute the chicken with potatoes instead. Just remember to cut the cooking time down so they don’t get over cooked and soggy.

Pickled Mango

  • 1 large raw green mangoes (the more sour, the better)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 red Thai chili peppers, thinly sliced or dried red cayenne peppers (whole)
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves, freshly chopped
  • 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and julienned
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher sea salt

Raghavan’s Blend

  • 2 Tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp. black or yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. whole cloves
  • 12 to 15 dried red cayenne chiles (like chiles de arbol), stems discarded
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric


  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 medium-size cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 4 pieces fresh ginger (each about the size and thickness of a 25-cent coin; no need to peel the skin), coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp. Raghavan’s Blend (above) or store-bought Madras curry powder
  • 1/2 c. canned diced tomatoes with their juices
  • 1/2 c. half-and-half
  • 3lbs. pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 tsp. coarse kosher or sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

Pickled Mango Directions:

(I adjusted the recipe from it’s original to suit my “spice” tolerance. The original recipe can be found on food52.com by a Brown Table) 

  1. Trim the stem off the mango, cut in half, and remove and discard the pit. Leave the skin on the mango. There are two ways to shredding the mango. With a mandoline, adjust the blade to the finest shred setting, then shred the mango directly. Use the safety attachment to protect your hands. With a food processor, cut the mango lengthwise into large pieces, then shred using the blade attachment. You should get approximately 1-2 cups of shredded mango.
  2. In a large mason jar or mixing bowl, add the fresh lime juice, chili peppers, mint, ginger, cumin seeds, and salt. Seal the mason jar with a lid and shake to combine. Add the shredded mango to the mason jar, fix the lid, and shake vigorously several times to coat the mango shreds completely. Allow the pickle to sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.

Chicken Curry Directions:

(This recipe can be found on seriouseats.com from Kate Williams. The original recipe was created by Raghaven Lyer and can be found in his cookbook: Indian Cooking Unfolded: A Master Class in Indian Cooking, with 100 Easy Recipes Using 10 Ingredients or Less.) 

  1. To make the spice blend: Place the coriander, cumin, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, and chiles in a spice grinder (you can also use a coffee grinder) and grind them to the consistency of finely ground black pepper. Stir in the turmeric, which will yellow the spice blend with its characteristic sunny bright disposition. Store the spice blend in a tightly sealed container, away from excess light, heat, and humidity, for up to 3 months.
  2. To make the curry:Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil appears to shimmer, add the onion, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry until the onion is light caramel brown around the edges, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the spice blend into the skillet and stir to mix. Let the spices roast in the onion medley until the aromas dramatically change, 10 seconds. Pour in the tomatoes and stir once or twice. Lower the heat and simmer the chunky sauce, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomato pieces soften, the excess moisture evaporates, and some of the oils in the spices start to dot the edge of the sauce, 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Pour the half-and-half into the skillet and scrape the bottom once or twice to release any bits of onion, garlic, and ginger, effectively deglazing the skillet and releasing those flavors back into the sauce. Transfer the chunky curry to a blender. Holding the lid down, puree the curry until it is slightly curdled looking but smooth, and saffron orange-hued.
  5. Return the sauce to the skillet and stir in the chicken and salt. Simmer the curry, covered, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the chicken, when cut with a fork or knife, is cooked through, no longer pinkish-red, and its juices run clear, 12 to 15 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle the cilantro on top of the chicken curry and serve alongside the pickled mango.
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