Easy Weeknight Chicken Curry

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Easy Weeknight Chicken Curry

Easy Weeknight Chicken Curry – A simple chicken curry recipe that you can make using fresh, leftover, or rotisserie chicken. Also a great make-ahead curry recipe.

If I am in a pub or anywhere that has a chicken curry on the menu, that is what I order. I love Indian food and there is something so comforting about a big bowl of chicken curry that just makes me so happy. A side of naan and mango chutney and I am swooning

Like many things, there is no one way to make a curry or can even decide on what a traditional curry recipe is. Everyone has their own favorite spice blend or way to make it. It varies from family to family, person to person.

I got into a lively debate with a commenter on my glogg recipe about this very notion. What is traditional to me might not be traditional to you, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t traditional, eh? 

Easy Weeknight Chicken Curry Recipe in a bowl with rice with lime wedges and peanuts

My mom makes a mean curry and I’ve never had another quite like it. Hers is more broth-y and she can make it the same each time, and has for years and years, but can’t write the recipe down. She makes it by taste. 

She’s kept a basket of spices in the cabinet just for her curry with a cut out from a magazine that is the framework for as long as I can remember.

She also has a really cool platter with little bowls for all of the condiments that she serves with it. Chutneys, pickles, chopped nuts, coconut, egg, raisin. The part that I loved the most was topping my bowl of curry. 

Hers takes a really long time to make, often days. Even if I could figure out how to make it, I don’t have the kind of time unless it is for a special occasion. This simple chicken curry recipe is designed for a weeknight. And for kids. It isn’t too spicy and you can add more spice if you like it hot. 

Chicken Curry Recipe in bowls with rice with coconut and peanuts

I am very lucky to live in an area with a large Indian community. We have a lot of Indian stores nearby and I have started buying all of my spices (and some of my produce) there. The spices are far less expensive than the grocery store and they are far superior. I now have my own spice basket in my cabinet.

I buy most spices whole, I bought a cheap coffee grinder that I only use for spices. For instance, in this recipe, I ground my own coriander. It makes such a difference after I grind my spices, I run some salt through the grinder and wipe it out. The flavor difference is night and day. 

I serve my weeknight chicken curry with basmati rice, naan, lime wedges, toasted coconut, chopped peanuts, mango chutney, and chopped cilantro. 

Pro tip – The best bite ever, a piece of chicken, a little mango chutney, a cilantro leaf, in a piece of naan. Think mini taco Indian-style.

curry recipe with naan in a bowl with a spoon

Ready to make some curry?

dry toasting cumin and mustard seeds in a pan

Add cumin and mustard seeds to a large saute pan over medium heat. I use the same pan to make the whole thing. #lazy

You will know that the spices are done when they start to pop and you can smell them. Don’t walk away though, they burn quickly.

spices in a coffee grinder

Transfer your spices to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind.

chopped onions and garlic

Chop one onion, ginger, and two cloves of garlic. I use a microplane for garlic and ginger. It’s the best tool for the job.

onions and garlic frying in pan

Saute the onions, garlic, and ginger until soft, about 4-5 minutes.

dry spices to fried onions

Add the dry spices, curry paste, and tomato paste. Cook for 1-2 minutes, making a thick paste.

curry paste in a pan

Cook for 1-2 minutes, making a thick paste.

chicken added to curry in pan

Add water, chicken, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer on medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes. If using fresh chicken, make sure your chicken is cooked through.

red peppers in chicken curry in pan

Add the red peppers, lime and cook for another 5 minutes. Check for seasoning, add more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve over rice.

easy weeknight chicken dinner

Tips for Making Chicken Curry

  • This chicken curry recipe uses a red curry paste. I bought mine at the grocery store in the international aisle, if you don’t have curry paste, you can use curry powder or garam masala. 
  • You can use fresh chicken, leftover chicken (any kind will work – grilled, baked), or a shredded rotisserie chicken. 
  • This can easily be made on a weeknight, but I also make it on a weekend while I am making something else and save it for another night. It just gets better and better as it sits in the fridge. Just gently reheat and dinner is served. 
  • If you like things spicier, feel free to add more heat.
  • You can also add any toppings you like. Peanuts, coconut, cilantro, lime, and chutney happen to be my favorite, but add anything you like.
bowl of chicken curry with limes

Other Weeknight Recipes You Might Like

Oven-Baked Fajitas – I still make these a few times a month

Buffalo Chicken Tacos – The buffalo sauce for these tacos is just about perfect.

Sour Cream Chicken – When I have chicken and have no idea what to make for dinner, I make this.

Honey Garlic Balsamic Chicken – This is so good and I don’t make it enough.

Kelly’s Overnight Chicken – So easy and everyone loves this.

bowl of chicken curry with limes

Easy Weeknight Chicken Curry

Easy Weeknight Chicken Curry – A simple chicken curry recipe that you can make using fresh, leftover, or rotisserie chicken. Also a great make-ahead curry recipe.
4 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course chicken
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 505 kcal


  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 chicken breasts cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 inch piece ginger peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • Squeeze of lime

For serving:

  • Basmati rice
  • Naan
  • Toasted coconut
  • Chopped peanut
  • Cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • Mango chutney


  • Dry fry the cumin and mustard seeds in a large sauté pan until the start to make a popping sound. Remove from heat and grind them in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. 
  • If you are using fresh chicken, season the chicken with salt, pepper, and curry powder. Add the oil to the pan and brown the chicken in batches, transfer to a plate. You don’t have to cook it all the way through as you will continue to cook it as it simmers. 
  • Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to the pan. Cook until they soften, about 4 minutes. 
  • Add the cumin, mustard seed, chili, curry paste, coriander, turmeric, and tomato paste. Cook, while stirring, for about 1 to 2 minutes. It will make a thick paste. 
  • Add pour in the water, scraping up the bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken (the browned chicken or your fully cooked chicken) and simmer on medium-low heat for 20 to 25 minutes longer. 
  • Add red peppers and squeeze of lime, cook for another 3 minutes. 
  • Serve over rice and top with desired condiments. 


Serving: 1gCalories: 505kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 43gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 1421mgFiber: 6gSugar: 14g
Keyword chicken curry recipe, easy weeknight chicken curry, how to make chicken curry, simple chicken curry recipe
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