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Yes, I am one of those people with a go-to curry house order (black dal makhani, lamb biriyani and a peshwari naan in case you were wondering), but sometimes I like to mix it up again. Sometimes nothing but a good chicken tikka masala will do, but one curry I adore – but I also find can be a bit hit and miss – is a chicken pasanda.
Chicken pasanda is a mild, creamy curry flavoured and thickened with ground almonds, and while some British takeaway versions can veer on the too sweet side, when it is done properly it is rich, balanced and gloriously creamy. I’ve adapted my chicken pasanda after tweaking the version in Rick Stein’s wonderful book Rick Stein’s India(ad) – his is a bit more traditional, and I wanted mine to be more like a (good!) British takeaway version.
Can I use chicken breast instead of chicken thighs?
Yes, but keep an eye on it and remove the curry from the heat the moment the chicken pieces are cooked through – chicken breasts dry out a lot quicker than chicken thighs!
Can I make this chicken pasanda ahead?
Yes, but you’ll want to stir in a little more water as you gently reheat it – reheating it too quickly might cause the sauce to split!
A rich, creamy curry thickened with ground almonds – a real British curry house favourite – which is quick and easy enough to prepare on a busy weeknight.
1 1/2 tbsp ghee or light oil
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 green cardamom pods
1 small white onion
3 large garlic cloves
20g (3/4 oz) fresh ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp mild chilli powder
4 skinless boneless chicken thighs
150g (5 oz) full fat natural yogurt
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp water
3 tbsp ground almonds
small handful freshly chopped coriander, for garnish
small handful toasted almond flakes, for garnish
Heat a large, non-stick shallow casserole or frying pan over a medium high heat. If you’re serving the passanda with toasted almond flakes, toast these in the dry pan first, and set aside.
Heat the ghee or cooking oil until shimmering before toasting the cinnamon stick and the cardamom pods – bashed lightly with a rolling pin to reveal their seeds – for a minute or two until sizzling and fragrant.
Meanwhile, peel and roughly chop the onion, garlic and ginger, and blitz to a fine paste in a mini chopper or food processor. Add the mixture to the pan and gently fry for 5 minutes until translucent and starting to brown.
Add the ground coriander, tumeric and chilli powder, and fry for a further minute until aromatic.
Cube the chicken thighs and stir into the pan until the pieces are well coated in the onion mixture. Stir in the yogurt, salt, water and ground almonds.
Raise the heat until the mixture is bubbling before dropping it down to low. Allow the curry to simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes until the chicken has cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
I'm a food writer living in London and the English Countryside. Welcome to my online diary where I share easy, weeknight recipes, foodie travel diaries and some of the best places I've eaten out recently.
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