A quick and easy homemade version of a takeaway favourite, my Easy Chicken Jalfrezi can be cooked from scratch in under 30 minutes. It’s dairy free, gluten free, nut free and pretty healthy too!
What is your go to order in an Indian restaurant? I have a few – but chicken jalfrezi is definitely one of them!! So creating a homemade version of this curry classic has been something I’ve been wanting to do for ages. Whilst I love going out to a curry restaurant every once in a while – it’s not exactly the cheapest or healthiest option and I want to be able to have my favourite curries more often!
Like all of my curry recipes, I wanted my chicken jalfrezi to be as authentic as I could, whilst being quick and simple enough to do on a busy weeknight.
So what makes for an authentic chicken jalfrezi? Actually I already did some research on jalfrezi sauce ingredients when creating my Easy Lamb Jalfrezi, and as I discovered then, there is definitely not one definitive jalfrezi sauce recipe – every cook has their own version. But the common elements seem to be a tomato based curry with onions and peppers and the most common spices in a jalfrezi seem to be cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric and garam masala…and of course chilli!
Most of the jalfrezi recipes I looked at were quite complicated in terms of the number of steps and pots and pans used…I wanted to simplify this right down to just one pot for the curry (plus a pot of rice, perhaps) as I really wanted to create a version of chicken jalfrezi that could be made quickly and with the minimum of faff, but without resorting to a ready-made curry paste. I like to make my curries from scratch!
One of the little tricks I use in almost all my curries to speed things up, cut down on steps and (most importantly) washing up is I make my jalfrezi curry paste in the pan, whilst the spices are frying, rather than making the curry paste first and then putting it in the pan to fry. It always seems like a whole load of extra faff to me to make a curry paste in a blender or food processor and then put it in the pan to fry, when you could just chuck all the spices in the pan and start cooking while you mix.
The only time I generally make the curry sauce first is when there are lots of big things that would spoil the texture of the curry – for example a Thai Green Curry – I wouldn’t want to be munching through big bits of lemongrass! …but this is rarely a problem in Indian style curries as you are either using things which are super small – like spices and crushed garlic or big enough to be hoicked out at the end – like a cinnamon stick.
I have chosen to use chicken breast fillets in this recipe, but you could absolutely use chicken thigh fillets if you prefer. Both work brilliantly. If you are making this with chicken breast, take care not to cook it more than the recipe states, but if you are making this with chicken thigh meat you could definitely cook it for a bit longer if you need or want to – the chicken will become more tender and the sauce more concentrated. However by using chicken breast, this chicken jalfrezi can be cooked in under 30 minutes!
It’s also great reheated, so if you want to get ahead, you could make it earlier in the day (or the night before) and reheat it when you need it – or else why not make double and freeze the rest for another day?
I have served my Easy Chicken Jalfrezi with plain basmati rice and naan breads for a speedy and easy peasy weeknight dinner, but if you want to be a bit more fancy, you could serve this with my Easy Peasy Pilau Rice or alternatively, if you are counting the carbs or calories, why not try my Pilau Cauliflower Rice? If you want to serve a salad with your chicken jalfrezi, I can really recommend my Kachumbar Salad.
I have used fresh chicken in this recipe, but this jalfrezi would be a great way to use up leftover roast chicken too. Simply follow the recipe as stated, except for the chicken, and then add in the shredded leftover roast chicken into the pan about 5 minutes before the end – so it has a chance to heat all the way through but doesn’t overcook.
Alternatively you could easily adapt this curry to use up leftover beef, lamb or pork – or why not add in some frozen prawns instead of the chicken and make a prawn jalfrezi? Add the prawns into the jalfrezi sauce about 5 minutes before the end and ensure the prawns are cooked all the way through before you serve up.
Easy Chicken Jalfrezi
- 2 tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil
- 2 onions sliced
- 3 garlic cloves grated or crushed
- 3 cm ginger grated
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes (or to taste, or use fresh chillies, if you prefer)
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds ground
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds ground
- 3 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons turmeric optional
- 600 g skinless chicken breast or thigh diced
- 1 red bell pepper sliced
- 1 green bell pepper sliced
- 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped finely, plus extra for garnish
- Pilau rice cauliflower rice, plain rice and / or naan breads to serve
- Pickles and/or chutneys to serve optional
- Put the oil into a deep, wide saucepan or sauté pan. Add the onion and cook on a gentle heat, with the lid on, for about 3 minutes, until the onions are softened but not brown.
- Add the garlic, ginger, chilli, cumin, coriander, garam masala and turmeric. Stir well and cook for 2 more minutes with the lid off. Add a splash of water if it gets too dry.
- Next add in the chicken. Stir well to coat the meat in the onions and spices and then add the sliced peppers, chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper.
- Bring the curry to the boil and then turn down the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes with the lid off, or until the chicken has cooked through and the sauce has reduced to your liking. Stir occasionally.
- Stir in the chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) and remove from the heat.
- Serve with plain boiled rice, pilau rice or cauliflower rice and/or naan breads. Garnish with more chopped coriander (cilantro)
I have only used one teaspoon of chilli flakes in my recipe – which results in a medium strength curry – as I like to make my food family friendly and this is about as hot as my kids can handle! However normally jalfrezi is a little hotter than this, so do put in more chilli if you like your jalfrezi hot!!
Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
Need more curry inspiration? Check out my collection of Easy Peasy Curry Recipes
Love chicken? Check out my collection of Easy Peasy Chicken Recipes…
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