Monday, February 8, 2010

Tastey Boy’s Favourite Fiery 'Sukha' Chicken

Friday evening was freezing and a perfect night for staying in and puttering over the stove. Tastey Boy called me mid-day with a request for his favourite sukha chicken, so that’s what was on the menu along with some Chhola Daal with Daikon* left over from earlier in the week and a cucumber-tomato salad.

Sukha means dry in colloquial Hindi. An Indian curry is considered sukha when prepared without much water, and a thick, pliant gravy coats the meat or chicken. I generally make these drier, robust curries with a lot of extra heat in the cold winter months.

Johnny, Betts and Sunil decided to drop-in and we ended up having a lovely impromptu dinner party. I hadn’t planned for dessert so I whisked some yogurt with honey, rosewater, pistachios and pinenuts to end the meal.


6 tbsp Vegetable oil 
2 large Onions, chopped
1 tbsp whole Cumin 
2 tbsp whole Black Peppercorns 
3-4 Bay Leaves 
2 Tomatoes, chopped 
2 tsp ground Coriander 
4-6 tsp Chilli powder (adjust to your taste) 
2 tsp crushed Garlic 
1 tsp crushed Ginger 
4lbs bone-in Chicken pieces (combination of thigh, leg, and breast)
Salt (to taste)
½ cup plain Yogurt (whisked with ½ cup water)

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until smoking. Add onions, cumin, peppercorns and bay leaves, and fry until the onions are golden brown and well caramelized. 
  2. Add chopped tomatoes and stir well for 5 mins until they disintegrate into the onions. 
  3. Mix coriander and chilli powder in a little water to make into a paste and add to the pot. Stir briskly for about 5 mins and add garlic and ginger. Continue stirring, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pot, until the oil starts to separate from the spice mixture, about 5-7 mins. 
  4. Add chicken and stir well to coat the chicken pieces thoroughly in the spices. Add salt and yogurt, stir and bring to a boil. Then lower heat and simmer uncovered for 30-40 mins. Check the pot occasionally and stir to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. You know it is ready when most of the water has evaporated and the curry has reduced to a thick, glossy gravy coating the chicken pieces. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 mins before serving. 

* I'll include this Chhola Daal recipe when I publish a separate post of my favourite daal recipes soon.


  1. No pictures for this one? You must post pictures of food! I'm hungry!

  2. Sorry, we were all too busy eating to take pictures!

  3. Mmm...I could definitely use some of that curry to warm me up today.

  4. I am definitely going to cook this one!

  5. Very very good recipe! I tried it myself today and it came out finger-licking good!

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. I made this the other night. I love the whole peppercorns!

  7. This is a fabulous recipe. I just made it for dinner and it is perfect! The "kaai" is so tasty, one can just eat that with rice. And NP says "Thank You": he loved it.



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