Hyderabadi Chicken Curry

4 to 6 Servings

1 hour

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Salan-style curries, which originate in the south-central Indian city Hyderabad, combine peanuts, coconut and sesame seeds to create a thick, luxurious sauce. There are countless iterations, including murgh ka salan, which uses chicken. We learned an excellent version of it from chef Zuber Momin at his restaurant Hyderabadi Spice in London. The dish is deeply complex, thanks to a base of browned onion, garlic, ginger and oil-bloomed spices. The nuts, seeds and spices make for a lengthy ingredient list, but the knifework is minimal, the cooking is easy, and the finished dish is exceptionally delicious. Kashmiri chili powder is vibrantly colored with moderate heat; we found a mixture of sweet paprika and cayenne to be a good substitute. Curry leaves have a unique inimitable savoriness. While the dish is fantastic made with them, it does not suffer without, so don’t fret about leaving them out. Salan curries are usually eaten alongside biryani, a spiced meat and rice dish, but steamed basmati rice, naan or roti are all wonderful accompaniments.

4 to 6



Don’t let the ground spices cook for too long or they may burn and make the sauce bitter. They need just a quick toast before being blended with water.

1 hour


  • tablespoons tamarind pulp

  • ½

    cup boiling water


Melissa M.
March 1, 2023
Flavorful and rich
My husband and I loved this dish! I added some thinly sliced seeded jalapeño strips when I added the chicken, and it was the perfect amount of extra spice. Wonderful meal with rice, veggies, and a side of raita.
Beth R.
February 16, 2023
Delicious but uses lots of flavor ingredients
I had all the ingredients except for the tamarind pulp which I was able to find and will use for Filipino sinigang. However, not sure most people have some of the other ingredients such as curry leaves (and it did make a difference and made the kitchen smell wonderful), cumin seed, or mustard seed, while they may have the ground versions of those spices. I used Indian black sesame seeds. The blender didn’t handle making a smooth purée and the sesame seeds remained largely intact. I also used whole chicken thighs with the skin removed, and allowed them to cook for a few minutes in the purée before adding the tamarind liquid and water. Overall the flavor was terrific, and recipe was easy to follow. However, there quite a few spices and aromatics that required multiple steps (soaking the tamarind then extracting the liquid, grating ginger and garlic, warming the spices, making purée, etc) I would probably double the recipe and serve it for a larger group of folks instead of for 4.
Frank E.
February 12, 2023
Curry with a hint of satay
Don't know if its the best curry in the world but it is pretty darn good. The sauce reminds me of a Malaysian satay sauce so if you are expecting traditional Indian flavors you might be surprised. I'm wondering if you could make the sauce and then freeze it and when would be the best time to do that. After the puree or after you add the curry leaves and thicken it.
Lori P.
February 10, 2023
Substitution for Tamarind pulp
I have tamarind concentrate. How would I go about substituting for the pulp. Do I still need to use the water?
February 26, 2023
how many curry leaves?
If using curry leaves, is it best to use fresh or dried? Also, the recipe does indicated how many curry leaves you use.