Southern Indian Chicken Curry with Mustard Seeds

This dish was inspired by one of Madhur Jaffrey's lamb curries.

  • Servings: 4
Southern Indian Chicken Curry with Mustard Seeds

Photography: Antonis Achilleos

Source: Martha Stewart Living, January 2005


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 whole, dried, red hot chiles, each broken into 3 or 4 pieces
  • 2 teaspoons brown or yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick (3 inches)
  • 1/2 teaspoon urad dal or yellow split peas
  • 1 1/4 cups very thinly sliced shallots (about 4)
  • 10 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 10 fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped plum tomatoes (about 3)
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Coarse salt
  • Pooris, for serving (optional)
  • Carrot Raita


  1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add chiles, mustard seeds, cinnamon, and urad dal; cook, shaking pot, until seeds pop, about 45 seconds. Add shallots, garlic, and curry leaves; cook, stirring, until shallots are golden, about 4 minutes. Add ginger; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomatoes; cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

  2. Add chicken; sprinkle with turmeric and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Stir in 2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until chicken is very tender, about 30 minutes.

  3. Uncover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until sauce coats the meat, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Serve with raita and pooris, if desired.


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