Recipe – Chicken Kalya


Fridays, in our family, are laced heavily in religious custom and tradition. Jummah salaah (Friday prayer) is an important semblance of our faith and is almost always followed by a traditional family lunch. It’s a day I try and go the extra mile when preparing our meals – one that mirrors the auspiciousness of the day – resulting in a combination of quraan recitations and food aromas billowing through the home. It’s something I loved doing for my family even before marriage; and then shied away from as I struggled to conform to marriage, parenting and finding my way around  family life that sometimes felt overly traditional. But as life has calmed and settled, and I have found a working rhythm for myself and my family; I find myself returning to the traditions that remind me of the feeling of home…partly in the hopes that I can pass it on to my children – because I’m starting to see now, that all these little things add up to create love and appreciation for both family and faith.

The weekday menus can be filled with  pastas, Thai food and salads; but our Friday meal will always be a traditional Indian meal! Curries, rice, roti – you name it, I make it. Sometimes I like to try something new, but ultimately, it’s  the one day I’m 100% invested in creating a feast! It’s kinda a big deal.

This Chicken Kalya is one of my favourite meals to prepare because it’s both exotic and flavourful, while also quite simple and easy to make. Here’s how I make it.


I marinate 1,5 – 2kg chicken with the following and leave in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight:

  • 2tsp chilli powder
  • 1tsp turmeric (borrie)
  • 1tsp cumin (jeera)
  • 3/4tsp garam masala
  • 2tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 – 2Tblsp garlic and gringer paste
  • some curry leaves
  • 250ml yoghurt (I use double cream)


Prepare the following while chicken marinates:

  • Liquidise 2 tomatoes
  • pre fry onions like for breyani  (*I buy mine so I save time on this step. If I do fry them myself, I usually do it in bulk and store it in the freezer to use in dishes like these)
  • cube abut 5-4 potatoes and pre fry as well (*To speed up the process I either microwave the potatoes to soften and the quick fry to brown OR I but it in the oven to roast while I do everything else and basically forget about it until I need it) 
  • soak 100gr of cashews in water (optional)
  • You will also need some cream to use in step 3


  • In your pot, add ghee, bay leaf and whole spices (stick cinnamon, elaichi, all spice, cloves) and heat together till it starts to sizzle
  • Add tomatoes to your chicken, mix, and then transfer to your pot.
  • Cook this on medium to high heat, stirring occasionally. This should take about 20 minutes.
  • The mixture will not thicken dramatically…don’t worry about this
  • When you feel like the chicken is nearing being fully cooked, add your fried onion. You will notice the consistency change and thicken. Cook for a further 10 -15 minutes. At this stage I like to add cashew nuts, but this is optional
  • Lastly, I stir in about half a cup of cream, depending on preference. At the very end, I add the fried potatoes, give it a stir, and the top with chopped coriander


It’s an exotic tasting meal that’s really simple to make with these easy steps and a little bit of prep. You can also easily replace the chicken with lamb by following these exact steps and just extending the cooking time. It’s as simple as that!


Thanks for reading!








  1. I tried this recipe yesterday tastes yummy but I think my colour looks too light more yellow ish
    Please let me know where I’m going wrong
    xx Shukran for sharing your recipe

    • Maybe you can reduce your quantity of turmeric and add a little extra chilli powder. Alternatively, use nice ripe tomatoes as this enhances flavour and colour of your food. But I think it could generally just be the quantity of spices you are using.

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