Imperial Chicken Curry

By Published On: October 3rd, 2019

Imperial curry is a rich, glossy dish from the North of India. A yoghurt based sauce creates a complex melding of flavours with the spices. The juicy chicken is just perfect alongside the decadent sauce. This curry is super-easy to make at home too. Get the recipe…

Imperial Chicken Curry

The Imperial Chicken Curry hails from India's capital, Delhi. As the name suggests it's fit for royalty! In fact, it's one of my 10 Best Chicken Curry Recipes - a curry that surprises on every level. Light on ingredients, yet huge on flavour. The glossy sauce is beautifully balanced and developed. It offers a rich and fragrant experience with a slight sour note from the yoghurt, and because it has so few ingredients, it's really easy to prepare too. One of the easiest chicken curry recipes you'll find.

A rich, fragrant curry from Pakistan

Like most Northern Indian curries the Imperial Chicken Curry is richer than those of the South, like my Keralan Chicken Curry - In the north, onions, when stewed and broken down, are used to great effect in giving curries a sweet richness and a lovely glossy sauce to counteract the fragrance and heat of the spices - a wonderful harmonious balance of flavour.

Pre-eating curries

I'm guilty of "checking" my curries for taste and doneness from about 10 minutes in. In essence, this is simply a combination of greed and erm... greed. I'll often eat an entire portion if nobody's looking. Am I the only one who does this?

If YOU haven't eaten every last drop before it's finished cooking then, like most curries, the Imperial Chicken Curry freezes very well, so portion it up and eat as sooner or later as you can bear! I would say that I think curry actually tastes better when it's been in the freezer for a while - the flavours are so much more developed.

I recently had a day of curry and cooked up 4 separate curries including the beautiful chicken saag, the lahore chicken curry and a batch of madras lamb curry and froze the lot. My freezer now looks like the ready-made meal section of a supermarket. Only 100% more authentic!

To tempt you even more, why not try one of my other amazing chicken curries that made the 10 Best Chicken Curry Recipes list. What's stopping you?

How to make my Imperial Chicken Curry

Imperial Chicken Curry

Imperial Chicken Curry

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Recipe by Lee
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time55 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 4
Calories (per serving) | 433



  • In a small dry frying pan, heat the cloves, cumin seeds, chillies, cardamom, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns and salt for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Tip the contents into a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind into a fine powder.
  • Mix the powder with the yoghurt and then pour over the chicken. Mix well to cover all the chicken pieces, cover then set aside while you prepare the onion paste.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan over a moderate heat and gently fry the onion, garlic and ginger for 10 minutes until very soft and golden. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool slightly before blending together in a food processor or with an stick blender until smooth. Return the onion paste back to the pan then mix in the chicken and marinade and cinnamon sticks. Bring this to a bubbling simmer then reduce the heat to very low and simmer gently for 40 minutes, partially covered until the chicken is tender and the sauce thickened. Remove from the heat and adjust salt levels if neccessary.
  • I garnish mine with tomatoes and coriander and sometimes a few toasted almonds and serve alongside Indian breads or fluffy basmati rice.


Calories: 433kcal (22%) | Carbohydrates: 22g (7%) | Protein: 57g (114%) | Fat: 13g (20%) | Saturated Fat: 3g (19%) | Cholesterol: 241mg (80%) | Sodium: 840mg (37%) | Potassium: 902mg (26%) | Fiber: 5g (21%) | Sugar: 8g (9%) | Vitamin A: 308IU (6%) | Vitamin C: 12mg (15%) | Calcium: 201mg (20%) | Iron: 4mg (22%)
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Imperial Chicken Curry

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