Chicken Jalfrezi is one of the most commonly found curries on the menu of most South Asian restaurants. I grew up eating this delicious, spicy curry, made with chunks of chicken and vegetables fried in a tangy tomato sauce. All these years I wondered about the unfamiliar name of this very familiar curry.

What could be the meaning of this word and the origin of this recipe?
Most sources agree that it was created during the British rule in the Indian subcontinent by Bengali chefs to use up the leftover meat. They added lots of spice and stir fried the cold cuts of left-over meat very quickly, and created a new curry out of it, which remains one of the most popular curries at curry houses throughout the UK.

How to make it healthier to suit our modern life style?
If we skip loads of oil and cream, this chicken jalfrezi can actually be a weight watcher’s dream come true. I add a lot if vegetables to mine to reduce the meat portion too.

A quick, one pot curry to suit all palates.
It takes minutes to cook, gets done in one pot and is served with plain steamed rice
or, whole wheat roti, or naan. Traditionally it is a medium to hot spicy curry but spice level can be adjusted according to individual taste.

Helpful Tips:
If making this recipe with left over, cooked meat, go easy on salt as most probably there shall be some salt in the meat already. Also skip the marination part. Instead, make a paste of ginger, garlic, tomato purée and vinegar. Add this to the pan after stir frying the cooked meat and vegetables quickly.


1/2 kg boneless chicken
2 green bell peppers/ capsicum, cut into cubes
2 medium onions, cut into cubes
4 tomatoes, cut into cubes
1 cup tomato purée
2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 green chilli peppers, chopped
2 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil
Julienned ginger and chopped fresh coriander for garnishing

This Is What You Do:

Prepare the vegetables and keep all the ingredients close because it is a very quick stir fry.

Cut boneless chicken fillet into bite size chunks, marinate them in ginger garlic paste, tomato purée and vinegar for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a deep frying pan on medium heat. Add the chicken pieces( without marinade) and fry till they are golden, add onions, bell peppers and tomato chunks. Continue to stir fry for another 2-3 minutes or till onions turn white.

Add the spices and continue to stir fry, add the marinade, sugar and tomato sauce. Cover the pan for 3-4 minute or till the bell peppers and tomatoes are tender but not mushy.

Traditionally it is a dry curry so don’t leave any liquids unless you want to have some sauce. Garnish with green chilli peppers, ginger and coriander leaves, serve hot.

Serves 2

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