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How to Make Chicken Curry and Dhal Curry

Updated on November 24, 2013

What's Curry

Curry is a gravy made with meat, fish or vegetables. Meat and fish curries are quite spicy whereas vegetables curries are mild. Curry originated from the Indian word Kari.

Best Pots to Make Curry

The secret in making a good curry is the ingredients and the pot used in making it.

Cooking pots made of clay are best for cooking curries since it seals in the spices and seasons the meats and vegetables better than pots made of metal.

But cooking in clay pots is more time consuming than in metal pots because the curries have to be cooked on slow heat. The clay pot can also crack if the curry is cooked on medium or high heat.

Benefits of cooking Curry in Metal Pans

If you choose to cook your curry in a metal pan choose a wok shaped one.

The curry cooks faster and the flavors of the seasonings and spices are not destroyed.

The curry also does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

In Sri Lanka such pans are referred to as a 'thatchi.'

Benefits of Using Coconut Milk When Making Curry

Coconut milk is an essential ingredient of curries.

Substituting it with cow’s milk will not bring out the dish’s true flavor. Only use it if coconut milk is hard to come by.

The following are 2 homemade curries which I frequently make. You can increase the amount of the chili powder if you feel you want it spicier.

Indian Curry Chicken


Chicken Curry - Kolkata


Chicken curry


  • Vegetable oil/coconut oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Garlic paste – 1 tablespoon
  • Ginger paste – 1 tablespoon
  • Green chilies – 2 deseeded and thinly sliced or ¼ bell pepper sliced
  • Onion – 1 large thinly sliced
  • Chicken thighs – 4 pieces (each cut into 2)
  • Vinegar – ½ teaspoon
  • Soy sauce – ½ teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon freshly made curry powder – recipe given below
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup thick coconut milk
  • Handful of freshly chopped coriander leaves

Chicken Curry



Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat.

Add the garlic paste, ginger paste, sliced chilies or bell pepper and onions. Saute for 1 -2 minutes.

Add the chicken and sauté for another minute or two. Then add the vinegar, soy sauce and curry powder to the chicken mixture. Saute for another 2 minutes.

Stir in the water and cook the chicken on medium low heat. When the water has reduced to ½ cup add the milk and let simmer on low heat until the curry has reduced in half and is thick.

Add the coriander leaves and remove from fire.

Serves 4.


Recipe for freshly made curry powder


  • Raw rice – 1 tablespoon
  • 5 curry leaves
  • Rampe – 1 inch piece
  • Cloves – 2
  • Cardamoms – remove the seeds and discard the shell
  • Cinnamon – ¼ inch piece
  • Mustard seeds – ¼ teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon
  • Coriander seeds – ½ teaspoon
  • Chili powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Salt – ½ teaspoon


Add all the ingredients into a deep shallow pan and saute on medium heat until slightly brown.

While still warm powder all the ingredients using a grinder.

Use a tablespoon of the powder for the chicken curry.

Chicken Curry (Sri Lanka)


How to Cook Dhal Curry with Spinach

Dhal curry has to be cooked in two stages.


First Stage

The first stage is by cooking it with the following ingredients:

  • Red lentils – 1 cup
  • Garlic – 4 cloves sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon un-roasted curry powder
  • ½ vegetable Bouillon cube
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 green chili sliced
  • 5 curry leaves
  • ¼ - inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups of light coconut milk


First soak the lentils in water for 2 -3 minutes. Wash, drain and add to deep shallow pan. Add the rest of the ingredients into the lentils and cook till all the milk has simmered.

Set aside.

Second Stage

For the second stage of cooking you need the following ingredients.

This method of cooking is called ‘tempering’ which is similar to sautéing.


  • Onion – 1 sliced thinly
  • Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Red chili flakes – 1 teaspoon
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • Handful of chopped spinach


Heat the oil in deep shallow pan on medium heat.

Saute the onions until slightly brown.

Add the mustard seeds and with the back of the spoon break the mustard seeds into pieces while it’s popping. To this add the chili flakes and then stir in the cooked lentils.

Mix the cooked lentils with the sauted ingredients and then add the coconut milk.

When the curry has reduced to half and thick remove from fire and add the chopped spinach.

Serves 4.


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    • Suranee1969 profile image

      Suranee Perera 5 years ago from Kandy, Sri Lanka

      Thank you Indanila! What I love about curries is that it can be made in different ways and still tastes delicious:)

    • indanila profile image

      Inda Blackwell 5 years ago

      Love it! Some of the most divine cuisine in the world!! Nice hub!!