Baby's First Chicken Curry (Tomato-Poppy Seed Chicken Curry)

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 50 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Vegetable oil, for sauteing

1 1/4 cups finely chopped red onion

2 bay leaves

5 cloves garlic

4 chiles de arbol

1/2-inch piece peeled fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (no breasts, they will dry out)

1 teaspoon honey

1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes

1 tablespoon white poppy seeds,* blended in 1/4 cup milk or bypass the seeds and milk and just use 2 tablespoons yogurt

Serving suggestion: Cooked rice.


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large deep pot over medium heat. Add onions and bay leaves. Saute until pinkish-golden brown.
  2. Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, whiz together garlic, chiles, ginger, paprika, and turmeric with a little water until as smooth as possible.
  3. Once the onions are cooked, add the masala from the blender. Cook, stirring often, until deepened in colour, and oil droplets appear on the surface of the masala.
  4. Add the chicken and honey, coating the meat with the masala. Stirring often, cook about 5 minutes, until the masala sticks to the chicken.
  5. Pull tomatoes out of the can and squish into the pot, crushing them with your hands.
  6. Add a splash of the tomato juice, too. Stir, bring to a simmer, semi-cover and cook about 20 minutes, until chicken is tender and gravy has thickened.
  7. Turn heat down, add either poppy seed-milk mixture or yogurt and stir gently. Taste for seasonings. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve over rice.

Cook’s Note

*Can be found at specialty Indian markets You should have about 4 or 5 tomatoes in that can.