Make your own takeaway: Chicken Jalfrezi

For our second anniversary, Kieran bought me a kind of joke present – Kenny McGovern’s ‘The Takeaway Secret: How To Cook Your Favourite Fast Food At Home. It’s actually turned out to be a complete bonafide gem, because the currys in it are bloody excellent and are about as close to authentic curry house recipes as I’ve been able to find so far. Here is the chicken jalfrezi:


Adapted from the lamb jalfrezi recipe.

First you need to make a batch of the ‘Basic Curry Sauce’, which is the basis of all the curries in the book.

Makes enough basic curry sauce for 7-8 curries.

  • 75ml/2.5 fl oz vegetable oil
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1.5 large spanish onions, chopped
  • half a green pepper, chopped
  • 2.5 litres/4.5 pints water
  • 2 tbsps tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 large handful chopped coriander leaves and stalks
  • 200g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 25g/1oz creamed coconut block
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Heat the oil in a large stock pot and add the vegetables. Stir-fry over a medium heat for 5-6 minutes.

Add the water, tomato puree, garlic and ginger paste, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric, garam masala, fresh coriander, tinned tomatoes, creamed coconut block and salt.

Bring the pan back to the boil on a high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer for 1 hour.

Using a hand blender, blitz the sauce. Continue blending for 2-3 minutes until no vegetable pieces remain and the sauce is completely smooth.

Return the pan to the heat and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Add a little more water if necessary. The finished sauce should have the consistency of a thin soup.

Allow the sauce to cool and pour into a freezer safe storage tubs. Freeze in 200-300ml/7-10 fl oz batches for upto 3 months. Each batch will provide enough basic curry sauce for 2 portions of curry.

Chicken Jalfrezi

  • 1 tsp mild madras curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • pinch of chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 300ml/10.5 fl oz basic curry sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper, sliced
  • 2 green ginger chilli peppers, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsps tomato puree, mixed with 4 tbsp water
  • 2 chopped chicken breasts
  • 1 handful chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tomato, cut in 8 pieces

In a small bowl, combine the curry powder, paprika, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric, chilli powder, salt and dried fenugreek leaves. Set aside.

In a small pan, bring the basic currysauce to boiling point. Stir well, switch off  the heat and set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan or wok over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sliced peppers. Stir fry for 5-6 minutes.

Add the chicken, the sliced chilli peppers, garlic and ginger paste and chopped garlic cloves. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic goes brown.

Add the tomato puree and water mixture. Mix well and stir for 30 seconds.

Add the bowl of spices. Stir fry for 2 minutes. Stir and scrape the pan often with a spatula or a spoon to ensure the spices don’t burn.

Add around half of the basic curry sauce, turn the heat to high and stir fry for another 1-2 minutes. Add the remaining curry sauce and stir for another few minutes.

Add the fresh coriander and chopped tomato. Mix well and stir fry for a further 2 minutes or until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.