Railway Chicken Curry is one of those Anglo Indian dishes where an Indian dish has been adapted to suit British tastes.
There are many theories of the origins, but what’s clear is that it originates for the late 19th Century and the glory days of the Indian railway.
Food was cooked from scratch on the trains and mutton curry was a popular choice.
One theory is that an English gentleman was enticed by the smells emanating from the dining carriage. He asked for the mutton curry but found it to spicy so asked if the Chef could tame the dish slightly. They duly obliged and added some coconut milk to calm the spices a little.
True or not, what you have in a Railway Curry is a dish that is amazingly tasty and well worth trying.
I have adapted my version for chicken. Chicken thigh would be best but of course you could use breast. You may want to reduce the cooking time slightly if you do.
If you want to keep it traditional and use mutton or lamb then increase the cooking time. There’re some notes at the end of the recipe as a guide.
Railway Chicken Curry
- 1.2 kg chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp plain yoghurt
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or 2 tsp of garlic paste
- 1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped or 2 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tbsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 3 tbsp oil
- 2 large onions, diced
- 100 g cashew nuts
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped or 1 tsp paste
- 1 tsp chopped ginger or 1 tsp paste
- 3 tsp 'Ome Made Hotel Curry Masala or substitute with 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 400 g chopped tinned tomatoes
- 2 finger chillies, sliced
- coriander stalks chopped
- 400 ml water
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 handful fresh or frozen curry leaves
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp garlic/ginger paste
- 1 tbsp 'Ome Made Raj Curry Masala substitute with a medium curry powder if needed
- 200 ml coconut milk
- 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaf (kasoori Methi)
- 2 tbsp coriander, chopped
- 2 tsp salt, or to taste
Marinate the chicken
- Cut the chicken into roughly 1 inch pieces.
- Mix everything together in a bowl and leave in the fridge to marinate for at least an hour but preferably overnight.
- Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and cook on a lowish heat until the onions are starting to brown.
- Add the cashew nuts and fry gently for a couple of minutes.
- add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 – 40 seconds
- Add the hotel curry masala and cook gently for 30 seconds.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, chillies, coriander stalks and water, bring to a simmer and cook on a low heat for around 30 – 40 minutes.
- Let cool slightly and blend in a blender or use a stick blender. It should be reasonably thick.
Making The Curry
- Heat the oil in a pan.
- Add the curry leaves. Be careful they will splutter. Give a quick stir and add the onions. Cook gently until the onions start to brown.
- Add the garlic and ginger paste and cook for 30 – 40 seconds
- Add the Raj Curry Masala, cook gently, stirring for 30 – 40 seconds. Add a splash of water if it's sticking.
- Add the chicken and any excess marinade to the pan. Cook, stirring until the chicken is coated in all the spices and sealed. Again you may need to add a splash of water to stop the spices sticking.
- Add the curry gravy and stir in. Bring to a gentle simmer and cover. Cook on the lowest heat possible (I use a heat diffuser on a gas hob) for around 20 minutes.
- Take the lid off the pan and stir in the coconut milk, fenugreek and salt if it's needed. Stir in and bring back to a simmer.
- Stir through the coriander and the curry is ready to serve.