Vij’s Family Chicken Curry

This week’s recipe has been submitted by Food to Share volunteer Misu.  Thank you!


I tore this recipe out of the Georgia Straight magazine in Vancouver in the winter of 2007 and, more than 10 years later, it remains one of my very favourite tried and true recipes (the proof is in the curry stains). On a cool and rainy week like this one, all I want is a warm bowl of rice and curry.


If you don’t think you’re a curry fan or haven’t made a curry before, try this one! It is the perfect gateway curry to start you on a long path to affordable and healthy comfort food. This one is creamy, not too spicy, filling and very satisfying. I often double the recipe to feed a large group or to have leftovers or extra for the freezer. If you try it, I’d love to hear what you think!


Because some of the ingredients for this recipe may not be in your cupboard, I suggest that you go to Penny’s Pantry at 10 Elizabeth street to buy your spices. There, you will be able to get everything on this list in very small quantities. Penny very generously measured out all the spice ingredients in the recipe and priced out that it would cost around $3.00 to purchase all the spices needed, compared to about $50 if you were to buy them at grocery store amounts. If you do go to Penny’s she will not be able to measure everything out precisely, but this gives you a good idea of what you need to budget to give this curry a try.


“The Big Sale” is on this week at No Frills, with chicken legs on for 1$/lb. If you can buy extra, you will only need the thighs for this recipe. Chop them at the joint and then you can save the chicken legs to have on another night using an easy drumstick recipe like this one:


Sobey’s is the place to get the sour cream as Gay Lea Original and Gold are on sale for $2. Regular fat 14% sour cream works best with this recipe. I have made it with low fat sour cream but it doesn’t incorporate as smoothly or have the same rich, creamy taste.



1/2 cup canola oil

2 cups finely chopped onions

3 inch cinnamon stick

3 tbsp finely chopped garlic

2 tbsp chopped ginger

2 cups chopped tomatoes (I have used fresh or canned diced tomatoes)

1 tbsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tbsp garam masala

1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper

3 lbs chicken thighs, bone in

1 cup sour cream, stirred (pre-stirring is very important!)

2 cups water

1/2 cup chopped cilantro, including stems (if you are not a fan, just leave it out, but I love the freshness that the cilantro adds)


In a large pan, heat oil on medium heat for one minute. Add onions and cinnamon, and sauté for another four minutes. Add ginger, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala and cayenne. Cook this masala (the onion and spice mixture) for 5 minutes, or until the oil separates from the masala.


Remove and discard the skin from the chicken thighs. Wash thighs and add to the masala. Stir well and cook chicken thighs for 10 minutes, until the chicken looks cooked on the outside. Add sour cream and water and mix well. Increase the heat to medium-high. When curry starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for 15 minutes, while stirring two or three times until chicken is completely cooked. Poke the thighs with a knife. If the meat is still pink, cook for five more minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Cool curry for at least half an hour then transfer cooled chicken to a mixing bowl.


Wearing latex gloves, peel chicken meat off the bones. Discard bones and stir chicken back into the curry. Just before serving, heat curry on medium heat until it starts to boil lightly. Stir in cilantro.


To Serve: Divide curry evenly among six bowls. Serve with naan or rice.

This recipe is based on the recipe of the same name from the book Vij’s: Elegant & Inspired Indian Cuisine by Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala

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