Chicken Salli (Parsi-style Chicken Curry)

Close up of a chicken curry and rice in a black bowl.

As the ‘salli’ part of a Chicken Salli curry refers to the traditional topping of fried potato sticks this is not the most authentic Chicken Salli recipe you’ll find online as I’ve decided to switch out the potato for thin threads of sev – a popular Indian snack of crunchy baked chickpea flour noodles – to make this recipe no fuss and weeknight friendly, but I can promise you that otherwise it will taste just like the Chicken Sali you’re used to ordering from your local British Indian takeaway!

Chicken salli in a black bowl.

Just how I created my incredibly popular recipe for Garlic Chilli Chicken because I became slightly obsessed with the one we were getting from a takeaway place in Ashford we stopped going to because we found somewhere we preferred, this happened because of another curry I had at another local spot (Banjara in Tenderden, this time) I wanted to explore a bit more in my own kitchen.

You see, our typical Friday night takeaway setup is to drive to Tenterden, order the food, and then go to the pub for a drink whilst we wait for it, and then take it home. And then, obviously ordering Chicken Salli by the time we’d arrive home all the potato shreds on top of our new favourite curry would soften and dissolve into the sauce, meaning Chicken Sali to us is simply a really, really tasty chicken curry.

When I started researching this recipe to see if I could solve this problem by making it myself, I learned two things: first, that lots of Chicken Salli recipes contained dried and rehydrated apricots – missing from our takeaway version – but something I very much wanted to add back in, and second, that making those matchstick potatoes is something, like making a curry house base sauce, is something I’m never going to bother with myself. At least not on a Tuesday night.

Don’t be put off by the seemingly long list of ingredients in this recipe; it really is stupidly quick and simple to make.

Back of thin sev snack.

Hence my idea, once I’d mastered the curry part (by the way, J said the first time I made this that it was my best curry to date) to sub out the potato sticks for something easily accessible, but crunchy enough to get something closer to that ‘salli’ effect. Sev seemed like the obvious choice: still somewhat shreds, still crunchy, and happily easily available in the authentic Indian ingredient section of most supermarkets. If, though, you see bags of salli shreds on sale, do of course grab those instead, but they’re much harder to find than sev. Also, to make this a more authentic dish (well, as authentic as it can be with a Jewish woman trying to figure out how to make something from a British Indian restaurant at home!) and you’ve got a bit of extra time, I do urge you to try making them yourselves, to top my, and I hope your new favourite curry recipe!

Chicken sali, rice and sev in a black bowl on a stone background.

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Chicken sali, rice and sev in a black bowl on a stone background.

Chicken Salli

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Curry
  • Cuisine: Indian


This delicious style Parsi-style recipe for a Chicken Salli Curry pairs tender chicken thighs and apricots with a rice, spicy sauce, topped with either crispy, crunchy pieces of Indian sev snack, or ‘salli’ shredded fried potatoes for that classic crunch.


  • 1 1/2 tbsp light oil
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1/2 dried bay leaf
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • thumb size piece fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 4 x skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 200g (7 oz) fresh tomatoes
  • 100ml (scant 1/3 cup) water
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 55g (2 oz) dried apricots
  • 1 tsp soft brown sugar
  • handful fresh coriander
  • pre-made or homemade potato salli, or sev strands, to serve


  1. Heat the oil in the bottom of a medium to large non-stick frying pan or shallow casserole set over a medium high heat. Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods – bashed lightly to reveal the seeds – and the bay leaf. Cook until aromatic and sizzling.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and roughly chop the onion, garlic, and ginger, and blitz into a rough paste using a mini food processor or mini chopper. Add this to the pan and cook for 5 minutes or so until soft, fragrant and only just starting to colour.
  3. Stir in the spices and the salt, and cook for a further minute, toasting the spices until fragrant.
  4. Stir in the chicken thighs, cut into bite sized chunks until they’re coated in the thick onion spice mixture. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring a few times, until the chicken pieces have taken on a bit of colour.
  5. Chop the tomatoes and add them to the pan, cooking and stirring for another few minutes until they’ve started to break down into a sauce.
  6. Stir in the water and the vinegar, and turn up the heat to bring the sauce to the boil, before reducing it to low to simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
  7. Quarter the dried apricots and stir them into the sauce, along with the brown sugar. Cook for a further 5 minutes, before removing from the heat and stirring in the coriander, roughly chopped, and topping with the potato sali or sev before serving.

Keywords: chicken sali, chicken salli, chicken curry, curry, indian food, better than takeaway