Nepalese Chicken Curry

This recipe comes from the Sainsbury's recipe website. We'd been in town and after wandering around the Christmas markets in the cold and rain wanted something warming for dinner.

The recipe is technically for 4. We made a couple of deviations (marked in bold) from it based on the ingredients we had in, so this is far from authentic but served as the basis for a decent Saturday night dinner.


  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic and ginger paste
  • 150g natural yogurt
  • 300g chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 100g red lentils
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp mace
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder, medium
  • 250ml chicken stock, made with ½ stock cube
  • 4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Crush the cardamom pods and remove the seeds, then dry fry them in a pan with the fennel seeds. Keep stirring them so they don't burn – you'll know when they're done because they'll start releasing a great fragrance.
  2.  Grind the dry spices in a pestle and mortar, then mix with the yoghurt, garlic and ginger paste and some salt. The official version of the recipe says to rub the chicken in this and leave for 2 hours... we were impatient and waited about 40 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and fry until browned, then set aside.
  4. Dry fry the cumin seeds, cloves and cinnamon stick for a couple of minutes. Then add the other spices and fry for a minute or two more – be careful not to burn them though.
  5. Add the chicken stock to the pan with the lentils and bring to a simmer. Let it cook for about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes and the yoghurt to this mix and stir well. Add the bay leaves, and then put the chicken on top. Put a lid on the dish and transfer to the oven and cook at 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4 for about 40 minutes.
  7. Serve with basmati rice.

This article was updated on 27 July 2021