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Chicken Curry in a Hurry


This quick chicken curry is easy to make and even more delicious to eat. It only takes 30mins to cook, making it perfect for a midweek dinner!

Quick Chicken Curry

A chicken curry recipe can sometimes seem a little daunting to make at home, but in reality it’s super simple. Is this the most authentic curry you’ll ever make? No. BUT, it is truly delicious and is bound to rival your favourite take away option – no false promises!!

So, what makes this a ‘quick’ chicken curry?

  • No Long Simmering – A lot of curries require a minimum of 30mins simmering time, but here that’s cut in half and you still get the perfect consistency & flavour!
  • No Marinating – A lot of curries often require you to marinate the chicken in yogurt and spices. Here the chicken goes straight in the pan.
  • Under 30mins – You can make this curry in 30mins, which in my books qualifies it to be in the ‘quick’ category. Just 😅

Can I use another meat rather than chicken?

I use chicken here because you get away without slow cooking it. It still comes out relatively tender after a quick fry. Something like beef or lamb, in my opinion, does need simmering over a longer period of time in order to really tenderize the meat. You could go for prawns for a super speedy curry, or even stir fry up some veg!

Making Curry in a Hurry

Because we’re skipping the long simmering, it’s important to make sure we keep the flavour on point. As such, here’s a few tips I recommend:

Brown the Chicken

It’s really important to brown the chicken and caramelize it on the pan. This adds a huge amount of flavour to the meat. To ensure you brown the meat properly it’s important to make sure the chicken has space to fry, otherwise it’ll steam. Another thing to consider is bringing the chicken close to room temp (if you have time). Frying meat straight from the fridge causes it to seize up and release moisture, which prevents it from caramelizing on the pan.

Toast the Spices

Ideally you’d want to do this in a dry pan, but after I’ve fried off the chicken & aromatics I like to fry the spices for a couple of minutes. This tickles a little more flavour out of the spices. Very subtle, but worth the 1minute!

Fry the Tomato Paste

Something that makes much more of a difference is frying the tomato paste (tomato puree UK). Tomato paste has a fairly pungent taste when it’s uncooked. By frying it off you caramelize and sweeten it.

Process shots: fry chicken (photo 1), remove and leave fat (photo 2), fry onion (photo 3), fry garlic/ginger (photo 4), toast spices (photo 5), fry tomato paste (photo 6), add coconut milk, chopped tomatoes and chicken (photo 7), add oxo/bouillon and coriander/cilantro and simmer (photo 8).

How can I make this curry even quicker?

  • Chicken Breast – I use chicken thigh because it’s fattier and more flavoursome, but chicken breast will take less time to cook through.
  • Bite Size Pieces – Ensure the chicken is diced into small bite sized pieces to cut cooking time.
  • Garlic/Ginger – Use pre sliced garlic & ginger.
  • Onion – I quarter the onions so they cook into ‘petals’, but you can finely dice the onions to cut cooking time.
  • Cooked Chicken – You could even sub leftover rotisserie chicken! Around 3 cups added just before simmering will work great.

What to serve with Curry in a Hurry?

I usually go for the classic rice and flatbread, both of which I make ahead of time and just reheat whilst the curry simmers. For the easiest flatbreads check out my Flatbread Pizzas (and obviously leave off the toppings!).

For more easy and delicious curry recipes check out these beauties:

  • Slow Cooker Chicken Curry
  • Coronation Chicken Curry
  • Sweet Potato Curry
  • Leftover Turkey Thai Green Curry

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for the curry in a hurry shall we?!

How to make Curry in a Hurry (Full Recipe & Video)

Chicken Curry in a Hurry

This quick chicken curry is easy to make and even more delicious to eat. It only takes 30mins to cook, making it perfect for a midweek dinner!

5 from 3 votes


Servings (click & slide): 4
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Calories per serving: 440kcal
Author: Chris Collins
Cost per serving: £3 / $4


  • Large Skillet & Wooden Spoon
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Bowl
  • Small Bowl (to store cooked chicken)

Ingredients (check list):

  • 1.3lb / 600g Boneless Skinless Chicken Thigh, diced into small bite size pieces & preferably at room temp (can sub breast for speedy option – see notes)
  • 1x 14oz/400g can of Full Fat Coconut Milk
  • 1x 14oz/400g can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp Tomato Paste (Tomato Puree in UK)
  • 1-2 tbsp Hot Curry Powder
  • 2 small Onions, peeled & quartered (finely dice for speedy frying option)
  • 2 tsp EACH: minced Garlic & Ginger (sub pre chopped for speedy option)
  • 1 tsp EACH: Turmeric, Ground Coriander, Cumin, Paprika
  • 1 Chicken OXO/Bouillon Cube
  • 1 handful (approx 2-3tbsp finely diced) Fresh Coriander, (tear with hands for speedy option)
  • Vegetable Oil, as needed
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste


  • Add a good drizzle of oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat and add diced chicken. Spread out and season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Leave until golden on one side, then flip and fry until golden all round & just about cooked through the centre. Scrape into side bowl (leave fat in pan).
  • Turn heat down to medium and add onions. Fry for a couple of minutes until they begin to brown/soften then add in ginger & garlic and fry for 1-2mins longer. To the pan add 2 tbsp curry powder (if weary of spice add 1 and adjust later) and 1 tsp turmeric, ground coriander, cumin and paprika. Stir and fry for 1 min then add 3 tbsp tomato paste and fry for 1-2mins.
  • Pour in tomatoes then swill out the can with water (just under half the can). Add coconut milk and cooked chicken, then add coriander/cilantro, OXO/Bouillon cube (crumble in) and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Give it a good stir then leave on a medium simmer for 15mins, or until the curry starts to thicken. If you have time, keep on a low simmer for 30mins to develop the flavours a little more. Serve with flatbread (see notes), rice and extra coriander/cilantro if you have it!

Quick 1 min demo!


a) Chicken – I use chicken thigh because it’s more fatty and flavoursome than breast, but it does take slightly longer to cook through than breast. If you want to use thigh but still want speed, the smaller the chunks of chicken the quicker it’ll cook. In all cases I recommend bringing the chicken close to room temp if you have the time. Cold chicken straight from the fridge tends to release a lot of moisture and often seizes up easier.

b) Curry Powder – I find 2 tbsp hot curry powder gives a great heat (medium-hot spice). You can use mild curry powder if you’d prefer, just adjust later if you want it spicier. If you go overboard with the spice serve the curry with a dollop of yogurt to tone down the heat.

c) Flatbreads – I make mine from scratch (so easy!) and do it ahead of time, so they just need reheating when you serve. Check out my Flatbread Pizzas for the recipe!

d) Calories – Whole recipe divided by 4 with no sides and using 1 tbsp veg oil to fry.


Nutrition Facts
Chicken Curry in a Hurry
Amount Per Serving
Calories 440
Calories from Fat 255
% Daily Value*
Fat 28.36g44%
Saturated Fat 20.79g104%
Trans Fat 0.03g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.867g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.436g
Cholesterol 139mg46%
Sodium 288mg12%
Potassium 1011mg29%
Carbohydrates 16.61g6%
Fiber 6.4g26%
Sugar 8.74g10%
Protein 33.33g67%
Vitamin A 674IU13%
Vitamin C 20.6mg25%
Calcium 86mg9%
Iron 4.56mg25%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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