A simple and easy chicken curry that's very traditional and authentic to East Indian cooking. Pieces of chicken cooked with onions, tomatoes, coconut, and tamarind in traditional Frithad masala. Today we make it with chicken but mutton or beef is very popular too.
In our home frithad was usually a Sunday lunch with rice. Sometimes mom made it with mutton, beef, or pork. During the week she made using prawn frithad too.
I love having this with chapati or naan and my kids prefer it with rice. The masala makes that gravy so flavorful and rich with coconut, spices, and tamarind. You will be making this one often.
Ingredients and substitutes
- Chicken - you can use a whole chicken cut into 8 to 10 pieces or just thighs and legs. I highly recommend using chicken with bones as the bones give a wonderful taste to the spices.
- Onions - cooking the onions is the game-changer in this dish. If you don't cook down the onions until caramelized they will not give you that wonderful sweet flavor.
- Veggies - I do not add potatoes to my Frithad but you can add potatoes, yam, or sweet potato too.
- Tomatoes - use large ripe tomatoes which will get completely absorbed in the sauce.
- Ginger/garlic - you can use ginger garlic paste but I use fresh whole as they go into the blender.
- Coconut - if you look closely at the curry, apart from flavor the coconut also adds texture. A thick rich gravy that makes a huge difference. In fact, we take the coconut to the next level by dry roasting it in the pan before adding it to the blender.
- Tamarind - has a unique taste that is not similar to lemon or vinegar. And yet, if you must use 1 tablespoon of vinegar instead.
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- Saute Pan
- Wooden spoon
- Cutting Board
- Kitchen Knife
- 1 kg (2 lb) Chicken cut into pieces
- 2 large Onions sliced
- 2 large Tomatoes diced
- 50 grams Tamarind soaked in ½ cup of water
- 2 large Potatoes Optional
- 1 teaspoon Salt (to taste)
- 3 tbsp Cooking oil or ghee
- 8 whole Red chilles soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
- 8 large Garlic cloves
- 3 inch Ginger fresh
- 1 teaspoon Cumin seed Jeera
- 1 ½ teaspoon Coriander seed Dhania
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 6 whole Cloves
- 4 whole Cardamoms
- 6 whole Peppercorns
- 1 ½ tablespoon Sesame seeds Teel
- 1 ½ tablespoon Poppy seed khus khus
- 1 cup Coconut grated and roasted
- Masala paste - Add all the paste ingredients to a food processor or blender with a little and blend until smooth. Pro tip - add just enough water to blend into a paste. Too much water will cause the small pieces to stay whole.8 whole Red chilles, 8 large Garlic cloves, 3 inch Ginger, 1 teaspoon Cumin seed, 1 ½ teaspoon Coriander seed, ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, 6 whole Cloves, 4 whole Cardamoms, 6 whole Peppercorns, 1 ½ tablespoon Sesame seeds, 1 ½ tablespoon Poppy seed, 1 cup Coconut
- Onions - In a heavy-bottom pan, add the oil or ghee and saute the onions with a pinch of salt. Continue to saute until light brown and caramelizedPro tip - Cooking the onions on low will caramelize them, and on high heat will burn them. We want a sweet caramelized taste.2 large Onions, 3 tablespoon Cooking oil
- Saute - Once the onions are ready, add the ground masala and chopped tomatoes - saute for 2 to 3 minutes adding a few tablespoons of water if necessary to prevent it from burning. Pro tip - the tomatoes should have sufficient juices to cook the spices so add water only as much as necessary until you have a wonderful aroma coming from the spices.2 large Tomatoes
- Chicken - Next, add chicken pieces and saute for 2 minutes until no longer pink. This will sear the meat keeping it nice and juicy. If you are using potatoes add them now too. Season with salt.1 kg Chicken, 1 teaspoon Salt
- Simmer - Add one cup of water and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and cook on a low simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken and potatoes are cooked.2 large Potatoes
- Tamarind - Once the chicken is cooked, add tamarind water and bring to a boil again. Taste and adjust seasoning and consistency. Pro tip - add water to make gravy or boil uncovered to evaporate excess liquid. I served this thick without gravy so we could eat it with naan.50 grams Tamarind
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