Chicken pasanda in bowls with rice

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It’s no surprise that the word ‘pasanda’ loosely translates to ‘favourite’ from its Urdu heritage. Bring this restaurant classic into your kitchen and it is sure to become one of the most prized staples on your meal rotation. Mild, creamy and enriched with the flavours of almond and coconut, chicken pasanda has a wide flavour appeal and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. 

What is it?

Unsurprisingly pasanda originates from the Indian subcontinent. More specifically it is traditionally found in Northern India and Pakistan, where it was originally prepared with lamb or goat meat. This is a British Indian restaurant style curry, so it may not be 100% true to the original recipe or preparation methods. However, if you are looking for a Brit-style pasanda this is the recipe for you.

Taste-wise, chicken pasanda is most similar to its more famous cousin, korma. It’s a mild and creamy curry but leans heavily on the flavour of almonds and coconut, giving a more fruity and nutty flavour. It uses a few earthy spices, without packing much heat, combined with a yogurt and cream sauce.

Chicken pasanda in a metal curry dish

What can I serve it with?

As with any classic curry, a side or two of carbohydrates is essential. Pair with some steaming rice or warm bread such as naan or chapati. You could also add a salad and a creamy yoghurt-based sauce for variety.

A few ideas to try include:

How do I stop the yogurt from curdling?

If you struggle when using yogurt in your curry sauce, then there are a few things you can do to keep your sauces free from unsightly splitting or lumpiness:

  1. Use full-fat yogurt. If you are trying to eat a low-fat diet, then sadly this will make your curry preparation a little more difficult for you (although not impossible). Whole yogurt is far less likely to split or curdle than low-fat varities. But if you are intent on using lighter yogurt then follow the instructions below. You can also check out this healthy chicken korma recipe for a light and creamy mild curry option.
  2. Make sure the curry sauce isn’t too hot when you add the yogurt – this is the main issue 90% of the time. Bring the sauce to a light simmer or below before adding the yogurt. Alternatively, you can spoon a few tablespoons of the sauce into a mug and cool for a few seconds before whisking in the yogurt. This will temper the two ingredients – increasing the temperature of the yogurt so when you add it into the sauce there isn’t a big gap in heat.
  3. Use room temperature yogurt. As mentioned in the above point, the greater the difference in temperature the more likely that the yogurt will curdle rather than integrate into the sauce.
  4. Whisk a little cornflour into the yogurt. You really don’t need to worry too much about doing this unless you are using a low-fat yogurt, but it will help the yogurt hold its consistency.
Chicken passanda in an iron pan

How long does it keep?

This curry is great for reheating from either chilled or frozen, so what better excuse is there than making a batch of it for those nights when you simply don’t have time to cook?

Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat on the hob/stove or in the microwave. Alternatively, you can freeze the curry for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before reheating. If the sauce appears to split a little when thawing, then reheat it gently and stir regularly to incorporate.

How do I thicken the sauce?

As far as curries go chicken pasanda is quite saucy. This makes it great for dipping a buttery naan into or for serving with some steaming rice to mop up the juices.

However, if you feel that the sauce is just too thin for your liking, there are a few things you can do:

  1. Reduce the sauce by increasing the heat. Let it simmer or lightly boil for a little longer which will evaporate some of the liquid and concentrate what juices remain.
  2. Use a cornflour (cornstarch) slurry. Use 1/2 tablespoon of cornflour per portion and mix with the same amount of water until you have a smooth white liquid. Slowly pour this into the curry and stir until it thickens. Cornflour requires heat to activate so you’ll need to make sure that the curry reaches a simmer for it to work properly.
  3. Arrowroot is an alternative to cornflour that you can also use. Use it in the same manner as cornflour but reduce the amount by a third (e.g. 1 tablespoon of cornflour would be equal to 2 teaspoons of arrowroot). If using arrowroot add it at the end of cooking and don’t leave it on the heat for more than 1-2 minutes as it may start to thin again.
  4. Add more yogurt. This is a simple way to add a little extra thickness to the curry.

Ingredients

For a full list of ingredients with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.

Chicken pasanda ingredients
  • Onion, finely diced
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric
  • Almond powder
  • Coconut milk powder
  • Chicken stock
  • Sugar
  • Single/whipping cream
  • Full-fat natural yogurt

How to make it

For more detailed steps, with recipe tips, jump to the printable recipe card.

Recipe steps
  1. Saute the onion and cinnamon stick until softened.
  2. Add the chicken and cook until sealed all over.
  3. Add the garlic for a further minute and then add the cumin, turmeric, almond powder and coconut powder and stir through for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the stock, sugar and cream along with the yogurt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 4-5 minutes until thickened.
  5. Serve with toasted almonds and chopped coriander.

Looking for more great curry recipes? Try:

Products that work well for this recipe:

Magnetic Spice Rack – Set of 12

Organise your spices with this magnetic rack! – Stick to the fridge or the provided plate – Rotating design with sift/pour holes

Cole & Mason Herb Keeper

It’ll keep what’s left of your bunch perky for longer – perfect for the fridge door!

Indian Karahi Curry Bowls

– Beautiful Indian Karahi bowls. – AUTHENTIC INDIAN SERVING DISHES Handcrafted by artisans of North India – Measures 5” | Holds 400ml
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Chicken pasanda in bowls with rice

Chicken Pasanda


  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

Mild, creamy and enriched with the flavours of almond and coconut, chicken pasanda has a wide flavour appeal and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. 

The default recipe serves 4.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 500g chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces (around 4 small, or 3 large, breasts)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4 tbsp almond powder
  • 4 tbsp coconut milk powder (see note 1)
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 125ml single/whipping cream
  • 125ml full-fat natural yogurt, room temperature (see note 2)

To garnish:

  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan/skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cinnamon stick and cook for 3-4 minutes until just starting to soften. 
  2. Add the chicken and continue to cook for a further 4-5 minutes the pieces are sealed all over. 
  3. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a further minute before adding the cumin, turmeric, almond powder and coconut powder and stirring through for a further 30 seconds. 
  4. Stir in the stock, sugar and cream. Add the yogurt and bring to a simmer. Cook for a further 4-5 minutes until the sauce has thickened. 
  5. Serve with toasted almonds and freshly chopped coriander scattered over the top.

Notes

  1. Make sure to buy coconut milk powder, which is sometimes labelled as coconut powder. However, desiccated coconut can also be labelled as coconut powder, and they are very different products. Desiccated coconut is typically shredded, rather than a fine powder, and will clump in a recipe such as this rather than dissolving into a creamy sauce.
  2. Ideally use full-fat yogurt, which is less likely to curdle. If you are intent on using low-fat yogurt then make sure the sauce isn’t too hot (not higher than a gentle simmer) when you add it. You can also whisk a teaspoon of cornflour into the yogurt first which will help it hold its consistency. If you are looking for a low-fat curry then check out this healthy chicken korma recipe
  3. While this is typically served mild if you want a bit of spice you can add some chopped chilli or chilli powder in step 3.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Hob / Stove
  • Cuisine: Curry

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 470
  • Fat: 21g
  • Carbohydrates: 22g
  • Protein: 35g

Keywords: curry, indian, chicken, dinner, easy, mild, creamy

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