How to cook… Chicken Jalfrezi Stir-Fry


Serves 4 as a main dish

Jalfrezi means spicy stir-fry and originates from West Bengal (now in Bangladesh) dating back to the days of the Raj. The chefs of the day brought together meat and vegetables leftovers from the huge Raj banquets in a stir-fry added just a little spice and allowed the dish to cook in it’s own juices. Today the bright colours and varied tastes of the peppers, onions, tomatoes and coriander leaves has made this one of the most poplar dishes in Britain but inevitably it has morphed into something different and includes a healthy dose of Base Curry Sauce. This is the stir-fry version, quick, tasty and fresh. The British-Indian Restaurant version of Chicken Jalfrezi has sauce added.

What you need
• 4 Tablespoon ghee
• 800g chicken breast or thigh, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 0.5 green pepper, seeded and cut into thin slices
• 0.5 red pepper, seeded and cut into thin slices
• 1 onion, roughly chopped
• 4 chillies, chopped
• small handful fresh coriander (chop up the stems to add to the curry and set aside the leaves for garnish)
• Salt to taste
• 0.5 teaspoon garam masala
• 2 tomatoes, cut into segments
• Cracked black pepper to garnish

Spice Mix
• 1 Tablespoon curry powder
• 0.5 teaspoon coriander powder
• 0.5 chilli powder
• 0.5 teaspoon turmeric powder

How you make it
1. Heat 3 Tablespoons of ghee to a medium-hot heat and add the cumin seeds for 30 seconds.
2. Add the chicken pieces and fry until they are all sealed (about 3–4 minutes). Take out the chicken pieces and set aside.
3. Add the rest of the ghee and once hot add the red and green peppers and fry until they start to soften (about 3 minutes).
4. Add the Spice Mix, mix well and cook for 3 minutes.
5. Add the onion, chillies, coriander stems and salt, and cook for 2 minutes. Avoid the temptation to add water.
6. Add the chicken and cook for 2 minutes.
7. Add the garam masala and tomatoes, and cook gently until all the chicken pieces are cooked through (about 6–8 minutes). The tomato should be soft but not mushed.
8. Garnish with coriander leaves and a bit of cracked pepper serve immediately.

Serve this as soon as it is cooked to keep the delicious freshness of the ingredients.

If you like this you should try our
Medium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken BhoonaChicken Feet Curry (Africa)

Why did the tomato cross the road? …To tell the chicken they needed him in the pan.

Curry Guide… Jalfrezi

Curry Guide

Jalfrezi  has become one of the most popular dishes among British diners in Indian restaurants. It means a spicy food (jal or jhal) stir-fry (frezi) so should be dryish and served fresh from the pan, although in many restaurants it’s morphed into a dish with the generic curry house spicy tomato and onion sauce.

IMG_0935The dish was born in West Bengal (now part of Bangladesh) when the chefs, obviously without fridges in the Anglo-Indian days of the Raj, were forced to create dishes using leftover meats and other ingredients before they went to waste. With chicken being easy and quick to cook using the stir-fry method, it soon became the number one choice for Jalfezi.

A classic Jalfrezi uses few spices except cumin seeds, turmeric and sometimes chilli powder, but instead relies on frying up fresh ingredients such as garlic, ginger, chillies, onion, peppers and tomatoes and letting the flavours combine. The only sauce is from the ingredients themselves and the will be a golden colour from the turmeric.

The Spice Card offers savings on curries, including on takeaways at many venues. You can get your Spice Card here.

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