Kashmiri chicken and prawn curry is a mild, fragrant curry, sweetened by the addition of fresh lychees. Yoghurt provides a hint of a tang, and flaked almonds add a delightful crunch. You won't believe how much flavour is packed into this dish until you try it for yourself!
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What is Kashmiri chicken curry?
A few years ago, I lived in a small village in Buckinghamshire in the UK, which had a delightful Indian restaurant called the Ganges Lounge, which prided itself on authentic Indian cuisine. The owners were super friendly and always more than willing to explain all the variations of curries on their menu.
Apparently, Kashmiri curry originated in the northern Indian region of Kashmir. It is a mildly spicy curry, normally made with chicken, various spices and fruit. The version on offer at the Ganges Lounge could be ordered with either chicken or king prawns. It was a mild, fragrant curry - not too spicy - and it was flavoured with almonds and yoghurt and sweetened with the addition of lychees and coconut milk.
Kashmiri chicken curry quickly became my go-to choice when visiting this restaurant. The sauce had enough chilli to provide a bit of a bite, without being so strong that you couldn't distinguish all the delicious flavours. The chicken and prawns (depending on which version I ordered on the day) were tender and juicy, having absorbed the spices from the sauce.
When I moved to another town and no longer had access to the Kashmiri curry, I just had to recreate it at home so I could get my 'Kashmiri fix' whenever I felt like it.
In recreating the dish I've taken a few liberties. The original dish could be ordered with either chicken or prawns - but my taste runs to both, so this is a Kashmiri chicken and prawn curry recipe. I've also omitted the coconut milk which was used to thin the sauce down a bit - I find the lychees provide sufficient sweetness, and I like the thicker sauce.
All you need by way of accompaniment is a slice of delicious buttery garlic naan, so I'm including my recipe for 2-ingredient naan bread (or 4 ingredients if you count the garlic and butter for frying). This is the most amazing naan bread - it's soft and chewy, made in minutes, and goes perfectly with the Kashmiri chicken and prawn curry.
So without further ado, let's see how to make this delicious Kashmiri curry for yourself.
Ingredients you will need
This Kashmiri chicken and prawn curry recipe is a generous one - I have allowed 5oz of protein (chicken and prawns) per person - and this will easily feed 4 very hungry adults.
Left to right from top in image 1 above:
- Garam masala
- Dried chilli flakes - this is where you can adjust the heat to suit your own taste. For a milder curry add less chilli - you could even leave it out altogether if you prefer.
- Cornflour (or cornstarch if you live in the US). Half of the cornflour will be used to coat the chicken before it is fried, and the remainder will be used to thicken the sauce.
- Ground coriander
- Garlic - you can use fresh garlic cloves if you prefer, or just use crushed garlic from a jar.
- Ground cumin
- Ginger - you can use fresh ginger, peeled and grated, or for convenience just use crushed ginger from a jar.
Left to right from top in image 2 above:
- Onions - chopped into 1cm or half-inch dice
- Prawns - (or shrimp if you live in the US) - I buy frozen shelled raw prawns. If you buy whole raw prawns you should devein them and remove the head and shell. You can use frozen cooked prawns if you prefer, but they will not be as juicy as using raw prawns.
- Skinless chicken breast fillets - these should be cut into bite-sized pieces. If you prefer you can use boneless chicken thighs instead.
- Ground and flaked almonds - these are optional, but I highly recommend using them, especially the flaked almonds, as they provide a crunchy texture to the dish.
- Fresh lychees - these provide the fruity element to Kashmiri curry. If you can't get hold of fresh lychees you can use a can, but make sure to drain off all the liquid. If you are using fresh lychees you should peel them and discard the large pip.
- Tomato passata - this is pureed tomatoes with the pips and seeds removed. It is available in cartons (as pictured above) or in bottles. Make sure you get plain passata, not the one with added herbs.
- Greek yoghurt - the tangy flavour of Greek yoghurt enhances the flavour of the curry. You can substitute this with thick natural yoghurt if you prefer.
- Freshly chopped coriander (not pictured) - this is optional, but highly recommended.
- Sunflower or canola oil (not pictured) for frying - you can use any neutral flavoured oil - but I wouldn't use olive oil, as the flavour is too strong.
How to make Kashmiri curry
Kashmiri chicken and prawn curry is very easy to make. There are only 3 steps:
- Brown the prawns and chicken
- Make the sauce
- Combine it all together.
Brown the prawns and chicken
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and coat in cornflour seasoned with a little salt (image 1 above). If you don't use salt, just coat the chicken in plain cornflour. Set aside while you fry the prawns.
- Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan and stir-fry the prawns gently until they turn pink (image 2 above). Transfer the prawns to a plate and set them aside. If you are using ready-cooked prawns you can omit this step.
- Now stir-fry the chicken pieces (in the same pan) until they are nicely browned on all sides (image 3 above). Do this slowly, to give the chicken pieces time to cook through. You may need to add additional oil.
- The chicken will be cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 74C/165F, or when a piece of chicken, cut in half, is no longer pink.
- Once the chicken has browned and is cooked through, add to the prawns on the plate and set aside while you make the sauce.
Make the sauce
- Heat another tablespoon of oil to the same frying pan (if needed), then add the onions and fry them gently until they are translucent. Don't allow them to brown, keep the heat quite low and stir them as you fry. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Add all the spices (including the remaining cornflour) and continue to stirfry until the onions are well coated and the spices start to release their aroma (image 1 above).
- Stir in the tomato passata, yoghurt and the ground and flaked almonds (image 2 above).
Combine it all together
- Add the cooked prawns and chicken and the lychees.
- Finally, stir in the finely chopped fresh coriander (image 3 above).
- Bring the sauce back to the boil.
- Serve Kashmiri chicken and prawn curry with white rice and homemade buttery garlic naan bread.
How to make buttery garlic naan bread
This homemade naan bread is such an easy recipe, it takes only minutes to throw together, and in my opinion, tastes far better than any shop-bought naan.
All you will need to make this delicious naan is self-raising flour and Greek yoghurt. You can make it plain, or if you want a garlic flavour, just add a teaspoon of crushed garlic. It's fried in butter instead of oil, to add the amazing buttery flavour.
How to make it
- **The quantities of the ingredients for naan bread will depend on how many naan breads you are making. I have found that 1 heaped tablespoon (about 15g) is sufficient for 1 naan.
- Start off by measuring self-raising flour into a bowl. It must be self-raising flour. If you don't have self-raising flour you can make your own by mixing one teaspoon of baking powder into each cup of plain flour.
- Add one pinch of salt for each tablespoon of flour.
- Add the crushed garlic, if you want a garlic naan, or leave out the garlic for plain naan.
- Now mix in sufficient Greek yoghurt to form a soft non-sticky dough. This will be around 1 level tablespoon of Greek yoghurt per heaped tablespoon of flour. Add ¾ of the yoghurt, then mix and check the consistency - you can add more yoghurt if required.
- Don't worry if you accidentally add too much yoghurt, just add more flour until the dough becomes easy to handle.
- Mix the dough thoroughly to combine into a soft ball (image 1 above).
- Divide the dough into the number of naans you are making (if you used 4 tablespoons of flour then divide into four pieces) and press out into rough oval shapes on a floured surface. The dough should be about one-quarter of an inch thick (image 2 above).
Fry gently until golden
- Melt the butter in a frying pan then add the naan and fry over a gentle heat until golden brown on both sides (images 3 and 4 above).
- Keep the heat quite low, or the butter will burn. Your naan should take between 3 and 4 minutes per side to get to the golden brown stage.
- Sprinkle with chopped fresh coriander and serve hot with the Kashmiri chicken and prawn curry.
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Can I freeze this curry?
Yes, you can freeze Kashmiri chicken and prawn curry. Just allow it to cool, then pack it into a rigid plastic container and freeze for up to three months. Because the frozen prawns have been cooked they are perfectly safe to freeze again.
To use, allow to defrost in the refrigerator then heat either in a pan on the stove or in the microwave. Eat immediately and do not refreeze.
The defrosted Kashmiri curry should be kept in the refrigerator and eaten within 24 hours of being defrosted.
You can make Kashmiri chicken curry ahead of time and store it in a covered dish in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Reheat either in a pan on the stove or in the microwave and eat immediately.
Save for later
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If you enjoyed this Kashmiri chicken and prawn curry, you may also like to try some of my other curry recipes:
- Easy fish curry in a tomato and onion sauce
- Chicken bhuna with Bombay potatoes
- Easy lamb curry
- Potato and onion bhajis
- Thai green chicken curry with jasmine rice
- Spicy ground beef curry and rice
- Easy butter chicken
Kashmiri chicken and prawn curry with lychees
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- 12 ounce / 340 grams skinless chicken breast fillets
- 8 ounce / 225 grams raw shelled frozen prawns (shrimp)
- 2 medium onions about 8 ounces or 225g
- 16 - 20 fresh lychees
- 2 cups tomato passata
- 1 cup Greek yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons ground almonds
- 2 tablespoons flaked almonds
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
- 1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch) seasoned with ½teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sunflower oil for frying
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ to 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes adjust according to your taste
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic or 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon crushed ginger or ½" piece fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
- salt to taste
Buttery garlic naan bread
- 4 heaped tablespoons self-raising flour
- salt to taste
- 4 level tablespoons Greek yoghurt
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic freshly minced cloves, or from a jar
- 2 ounce butter for frying
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and coat in the cornflour seasoned with ½teaspoon salt.12 ounce / 340 grams skinless chicken breast fillets, 1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
- Measure all the spices (including the cornflour) into a small bowl.2 teaspoons garam masala, 2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon turmeric, ½ to 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes, 1 teaspoon crushed garlic, ½ teaspoon crushed ginger, 1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch), salt
- Peel the onions and cut into ½-inch dice.2 medium onions
Fry the prawns and chicken
- Heat 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil in a frying pan on a gentle heat, and stirfry the prawns for about 4 minutes until they turn pink and are cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.3 tablespoons sunflower oil, 8 ounce / 225 grams raw shelled frozen prawns (shrimp)
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and stirfry the chicken until it is browned all over and cooked through. This should take about 5 minutes. Cut a piece in half to make sure it is completely white or test the temperature - it should have an internal temperature of 74°C/164°F once cooked.
- Transfer the chicken to the plate with the prawns.
Make the sauce
- Add the third tablespoon of oil to the pan (if necessary) and fry the onions until they start to turn translucent. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Remove the onions from the heat and stir in the spices, then return to the heat and stirfry for another 2 minutes. Keep the heat turned down low so that the spices do not burn.
- Now stir in the tomato passata, the yoghurt and the ground and flaked almonds and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat.2 cups tomato passata, 1 cup Greek yoghurt, 2 tablespoons ground almonds, 2 tablespoons flaked almonds
Assemble the dish
- Return the prawns and chicken to the pan and add the lychees.16 - 20 fresh lychees
- Finally, stir in the finely chopped fresh coriander, return the pan to the heat and bring back to the boil.2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
- Serve immediately with white rice and homemade buttery garlic naan bread.
Buttery garlic naan bread
- Measure the flour into a mixing bowl and add salt to taste4 heaped tablespoons self-raising flour, salt
- Add ¾ of the yoghurt (and the crushed garlic if using) and mix with a knife until the mixture comes together. Add as much of the remaining yoghurt as needed so that the mixture comes together in a soft, non-sticky ball.4 level tablespoons Greek yoghurt, 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 4. Using your fingers, press each piece out into an oval-shape, approximately ¼" thick.
- Heat half of the butter in a frying pan and once it has melted turn the heat down to low and fry two of the naan breads for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until they are golden brown. Repeat with the remaining 2 naans.2 ounce butter
- Sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander and serve hot with the Kashmiri chicken and prawn curry.
- When mixing the dough, do not add all the yoghurt at once, you may not need all of it. Start with ¾ of the yoghurt and add the rest if necessary. The dough should be soft and non-sticky.
- Do not allow the pan to get so hot that the butter burns. Keep the heat turned down low while you are frying the naan breads.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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