Pre-cooked stewed chicken

Pre-cooked stewed chicken

The Curry Guy
Enough for about 10 servings

Pre-cooking the chicken until it is just cooked through not only makes cooking in most Indian restaurants faster, but tastier too.

The cooking stock can be added to chicken curries and gives a fantastic flavour. Simply remove the chicken pieces from the liquid and then strain it. You could also throw in a chicken carcass or two while cooking the chicken. Remove the chicken pieces (tikka) when cooked but let the sauce simmer, adding a little water if necessary until you have a beautiful, rich stock. When time permits, I let mine simmer for a couple of hours. It tastes amazing. When your stock is ready, strain it and use it to thin curry sauces when necessary or simply to give the curry more depth of flavour.

Both the chicken and the stock can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. They can also be frozen for up to 2 months without much loss of flavour. Always defrost both and heat the stock before using.


Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons rapeseed oil
5 green cardamom pods, lightly bruised
10 black peppercorns
2.5cm piece of cinnamon stick or cassia bark
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
3 indian bay leaves (cassia leaves)
2 large onions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons Garlic and ginger paste
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2kg skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (tikka)
Spice stock
or water
1 teaspoon * garam masala [rid:37824]


  1. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium-high heat until small bubbles form. Add the whole spices and bay leaves, and stir continuously for about 30 seconds, to release their flavours into the oil.
  2. Add the onions and stir regularly for about 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Sprinkle the salt over the top; this will help release moisture from the onions.
  3. Now spoon in the garlic and ginger paste, followed by the turmeric; the pan will sizzle as the paste releases its moisture. When your kitchen becomes fragrant with the magnificent aroma of garlic and ginger, tip in the tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium and let the ingredients simmer and get to know each other for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and just enough spice stock or water to cover the chicken.
  4. Reduce the heat and let the stock softly bubble until the chicken is just cooked through; don’t overcook it. Stir in the garam masala and, using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken pieces for use in your curries, reserving the cooking stock. A little of this added to your chicken curries makes them even more delicious.


  • Chicken breast meat is used at most curry houses because it has a nice texture and looks good too. Chicken thigh meat isn’t as pretty but has a lot more flavour.


  • If freezer space is an issue but you want to have some stock on hand, reduce the finished stock by two thirds. Let the remaining stock cool, and freeze in ice-cube trays. Then simply toss one or two cubes into your sauces as required.
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