Chicken Pathia in a bowl with rice and chapati

A favourite in British Indian restaurants, chicken pathia includes tender chicken breast encased in a sweet and sour sauce rich with earthy spices. Bring your favourite restaurant curry into your home kitchen – it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and is great for making in advance.

What is it?

Pathia (pronounced “pat-e-a”) originates from Persia and was brought over to India many years ago. While it is an authentic Asian curry, you are most likely now to see it in Indian restaurants and takeaways in the UK and it’s not actually a particularly popular curry in India these days.

Its popularity in the UK is totally justified, however. Its unique sweet and sour taste and the fact that it is bursting with flavour will make this a curry you are sure to come back to again and again.

Chicken pathia in bowls with rice and coriander

Is pathia hot?

Chicken pathia is typically served with medium heat. It’s unlikely to break out a sweat but packs enough spice to need a few glasses of water (or lassi) alongside. Of course, the great thing about making this at home is that you can control the amount of heat you add to the dish.

This recipe uses fresh chillies, so you can increase or decrease the amount that you use. There is also a huge variation in heat from one variety of chilli to another. Therefore, it is a good idea to add a little at a time and taste, so you can get the right amount based on your preferences. If you like things really hot, then you can also add a little chilli powder along with the chillies.

What can I serve it with?

Pathia goes with all the usual sides you would serve with a curry. Naan or rice are pretty much essential, and since it’s a little warming, some mint and cucumber raita is great to cool things down a little. This saffron rice makes it a little more special too.

If you’re looking to make your meal into more of a banquet, then you could add some side dishes like onion bhajis or this incredibly moreish chicken pakora.

Chicken pathia in a bowl on a tray with chillis and lime

Do I need to blend the curry?

Blending the curry gives it a smoother and more even texture, but it is not essential. If you want to make the sauce without blending it then I suggest dicing the onion as finely as you can and using smooth mango chutney to reduce the chunkiness of the final dish.

When blending you can use either a blender or a food processor. As food processors are made to chop ingredients rather than to puree them, the curry will be a little chunkier and more rustic than if you use a blender to blitz it into a smooth sauce.

How long does it keep?

This curry is perfect for making in advance. Once cooked it can be cooled and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before reheating on the hob/stove.

Ingredients

For a full list of ingredients for this chicken pathia jump to the printable recipe card

Chicken pathia ingredients

For the sauce

  • Onion, roughly sliced
  • Garlic, chopped
  • Ginger paste
  • Paprika
  • Tomato puree – aka tomato paste in the US (you want the thick stuff that comes in little jars or tubes)
  • Mango chutney
  • Lime juice

For the curry

  • Chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Red chillies, finely chopped
  • Ground cumin
  • Fenugreek seeds can be substituted for fennel seeds or mustard seeds or left out altogether if you can’t find a reasonable substitute.
  • Tamarind paste – if you can’t find tamarind then substitute with half and half lime juice and brown sugar.
  • Brown sugar

How to make it

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

Recipe steps
  1. Sauté the onion in a frying pan/skillet until soft.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger and paprika and cook for a further minute.
  3. Tip the onion mixture into a blender or food processor along with the tomato puree, mango chutney, lime juice and water. Blitz into a smooth texture.
  4. Return the pan to the heat and add the chicken breast and cook until browned all over.
  5. Add the chilli, cumin and fenugreek and cook for a further minute, until aromatic.
  6. Add the blended curry sauce and the tamarind and sugar to the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes.

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

2 in 1 Garlic Press

Can be used to mince, crush or slice garlic. Food Grade Stainless Steel with Non-Slip Handle

Herb Keepers

It’ll keep what’s left of your bunch perky for longer – perfect for the fridge door!
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Chicken Pathia in a bowl with rice and chapati

Chicken Pathia


  • Author: caroline
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This Chicken Pathia is a favourite in British Indian restaurants, Tender chicken breast simmered in a sweet and sour sauce rich with earthy spices.

The default recipe serves 4


Scale

Ingredients

For the sauce

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree (tomato paste in the US)
  • 2 tbsp mango chutney
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 500ml water

For the curry

  • 500g chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 24 small red chillis, finely chopped (see note 1)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds (see note 2)
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

Instructions

  1. First, make the sauce. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan/skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for around 5 minutes until softened.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger and paprika and cook for a further minute, constantly stirring, until fragrant.
  3. Tip the contents of the pan into a blender or food processor along with the tomato puree, mango chutney, lime juice and water (see note 3)
  4. Add the remaining oil to the pan and return to the heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned all over.
  5. Add the chilli, cumin and fenugreek seeds and cook for a further minute, constantly stirring
  6. Pour the blended curry sauce into the pan along with the tamarind and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Notes

  1. Increase or decrease the amount of chilli you use based on your heat preference. You can also add a little extra chilli powder if you want a very spicy curry.
  2. Fenugreek seeds can be substituted for fennel seeds or mustard seeds or left out altogether if you can’t find a reasonable substitute. 
  3. A blender will give a smoother more uniform sauce, whereas a food processor will give a little more ‘chunk’ and a rustic appeal.
  4. This recipe can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before reheating on the hob/stove.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Hob / Stove
  • Cuisine: Indian

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 337
  • Fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Protein: 40g

Keywords: curry, Indian, chicken, dinner, easy, medium hot, spicy

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