This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Indian Spiced Chicken


As July draws to a close (yes, already – agh!) we’re saying farewell to Philip Messenger of The Meal Messenger.  We’ve loved having his hearty meal inspiration to carry us through winter. Today he leaves us with a fragrant Indian spiced chicken curry, and a fail-proof homemade curry paste.

As with all this month’s dishes, the best bit is, if you can’t be bothered tackling Philip’s menu at home, The Meal Messenger will make them for you! – order online here.

26th July, 2016
Philip Messenger
Tuesday 26th July 2016

This recipe may horrify purists, it’s more of a gentle nod to the Indian Raj than something worthy of tiffin, but it couldn’t be better for a midweek winter dinner. The flavours in this are fragrant, and even better when eaten for lunch the next day if leftovers from the night before remain.

My favourite thing about this dish is the simple curry paste, simply mix the ingredients together. It’s that easy. The leftover curry paste can be frozen. Cooking the rice in the broth also adds another flavoursome element, making a hearty statement on a winter’s night.

Tasty Tuesday shoots are generously supported by The Establishment Studios.


Curry Paste

  • 125ml white vinegar
  • 80ml vegetable oil
  • 2 long fresh red chillies, deseeded, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic gloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • ¼ cup ground cumin
  • ¼ cup ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the chicken (serves 4)

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 6 skinned and boned chicken thigh fillets
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • - 3 tbsp curry paste (I make my own however you could use bought to save time)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 200ml coconut cream
  • 1 ¼ cups basmati rice, rinsed
  • ¼ cup curry leaves
  • Steamed green beans to serve


For the curry paste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Excess can be frozen.

For the chicken

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat and brown the chicken thighs until golden and then place in a baking dish.

In the remaining oil fry the mustard seeds for a few moments before adding the onion. Cook for 3 minutes until onions start to colour. Stir in the curry paste and fry for a few minutes to release aromatics before stirring in turmeric, ground coriander, cumin and ginger and cook for 2 minutes.

Add 100ml of stock to the pan and allow it to bubble, scraping the base. Add coconut cream and heat before pouring over the chicken to coat. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 15 minutes before uncovering and baking for another 10 minutes. Slice the cooked chicken and return to dish, stirring to coat in the sauce.

Bring the remaining stock to the boil before adding rice and bringing back to the boil, reduce heat and cook, covered, for 5 minutes.

Top the rice with the chicken and a few curry leaves before covering and placing in the oven for 5 minutes.

Serve with coriander and steamed greens.

An assortment of spices used in this fragrant dish. Recipe by Philip Messenger of The Meal Messenger. Props: Plate by Sarah Schembri, spoon from Cibi. Surface from The Establishment Studio. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email