Curry for Change

Changing the lives of families
who suffer from hunger.

Chicken Jalfrezi



Whole spices – 4 cardamon pods, 1 cinnamon stick (or cassia), 2 bay leaves

Ground spices – ½ tsp turmeric, 1½ tsp chilli powder, 1½ tsp sweet paprika, 1½ tsp coriander, 1½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp garam masala, 1 tsp salt


6 tbsp vegetable oil

2 onions, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, crushed

1½ inches ginger, finely chopped / grated

1 tbsp tomato purée

1 tsp sugar

200ml water

1 kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3-4 cm pieces

3 bell peppers green, red and yellow – cut into thick slices

2 courgettes – halved, then sliced thickly

2 red onions – halved and cut into thick slices

2-3 large mild red chillies cut into slices

100g baby plum or cherry tomatoes

1 tbsp rapeseed / sunflower oil

big pinch of sea salt

Big handful of fresh coriander, chopped


  1. Prepare all your spices in advance; ginger and garlic in one bowl, whole spices in another, ground spices in a third. It will stop things going wrong later! Heat the oil in a large saucepan, on a medium to high heat. When the oil is hot, add in the chopped onions. Cook the onions for at least 10-15 minutes until they are a bronzed brown. Tip: Be patient or the final result will be pale and pasty looking!
  2. Then add in the whole spices (tear the bay leaf) and fry for a further minute, until you can smell their fragrance. Add in the ground spices and fry for at least 30-40 seconds, stirring all the time to prevent burning.
  3. Now add in the garlic and ginger pastes, tomato puree and sugar and fry for at least another 90 seconds or so. Then add in approximately a cupful of water (200ml). At this point the spice-mix will bubble furiously. Keep cooking, stirring continuously, until most of the water has evaporated, and you are left with a shiny looking curry paste in the pan.
  4. Now, with the heat still high, add in the chicken pieces. Turn it over occasionally but keep the heat up for at least 5-6 minutes until the pieces are sealed all over. Wait until the pan is bubbling nicely before reducing the heat. Reduce the heat to a healthy simmer and cover. Cook for about 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Whilst the chicken is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Preheat an oven to 220°C (200°C for a fan oven). Place them all in a shallow baking tray, drizzle with the rapeseed oil and season with sea salt. Toss the vegetables until they are all covered with oil and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through and with browned edges.6
  6. Add the roasted vegetables to the chicken along with the chopped coriander and stir until well combined.

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Saira’s book 'Kitchen favourites with Saira: Chilli, Ginger and Garlic' is now available to buy on Amazon.

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