Chicken Jalfrezi

5 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Chicken Jalfrezi is a popular Indian restaurant dish that you can make at home! Warmly spiced tomato base chicken curry in about 30 minutes!

Chicken curries like Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala are popular recipes that are easy to recreate at home whenever you are craving Indian Food. This Chicken Jalfrezi is just as simple to make and is full of the warm spices that make Indian curry dishes so delicious!

Sabrina’s Chicken Jalfrezi Recipe

This Chicken Jalfrezi recipe is some of the easiest flavorful Indian food that anyone can make! It uses simple spices that you probably have on hand, there is no overnight marinating, and it only takes about 30 minutes for an easy and quick weeknight meal. Serve it with some naan bread and basmati rice, Chicken Jalfrezi for a tasty, filling dish that is as good as Indian takeaway!

One thing that sets this Chicken Jalfrezi recipe apart is that it is much milder than what you get from a restaurant or even most homemade versions. It is a mild, family-friendly Indian dinner recipe that the whole family can enjoy. But if you love spicy dishes, check out the Tips & Tricks section for ways to bring the fire!


  • Aromatics: The base of this curry starts with sauteed grated onions. You grate the onion so it cooks quickly and releases more of their savory, pungent flavor. Garlic and ginger are also added, but add them after the onions cook a bit so they don’t burn.
  • Chicken Thighs: Chicken thighs are great for stir fry and curry dishes because they a bit more natural fat so they are more tender, juicy, and flavorful. You can also use boneless chicken breast, but you may need to reduce the cook time because they cook quicker.
  • Spices: The curry spice base for this Chicken Jalfrezi recipe is a simple blend of cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chili powder. It has warm flavor without being too spicy.
  • Tomatoes: You want to use a whole can of diced tomatoes, including the liquid, because they break down and the juices add to the actual sauce. This gives the dish a fresher tomato flavor than using tomato sauce. However, you could swap in tomato sauce but you’ll need another ½ cup or so of water 
  • Ghee: The ghee at the end helps add a bit more flavor and bring the whole sauce together to make it more smooth and rich. You can buy clarified butter at most larger grocery stores or make your own. Regular butter or coconut milk would also work.
  • Cilantro: Cilantro adds a burst of freshness to help balance the warm spices and savory flavors. Chop a little extra to use as a garnish when you serve the jalfrezi.

Kitchen Tools & Equipment

Skillet: You’ll need a large skillet, preferably a heavy bottomed pan or cast iron skillet, that is big enough to hold all the chicken pieces without being too crowded. You will need to cover the curry while it’s cooking so make sure to use a pan with a well fitting lid.

How to Make

Time needed: 35 minutes.

  1. Saute the Onions

    Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions to the pan and saute until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.Chicken Jalfrezi ingredients separated and laid out in prep bowls

  2. Season the Chicken

    Add the chicken pieces to the onion mixture then add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, and salt to the pan. Stir well until the chicken and onions are evenly coated with the spices.

  3. Cook the Curry

    Add the can of diced tomatoes including the juices and stir. Reduce the heat and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook for 20 minutes.

  4. Finish and Serve

    Once the chicken is cooked through, add the ghee and cilantro. Cook another 5 minutes uncovered then serve over rice with more fresh cilantro.Chicken Jalfrezi cooked chicken and sauce in pan with wooden spatula, garnished with cilantro leaves plus cilantro bunch, bowl of rice around top of pan

Can this be made ahead of time?

Like most stir-fry recipes, this Chicken Jalfrezi curry is best the same day it is cooked. However you can marinate the chicken thigh pieces in the spices for up to 24 hours.

Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Jalfrezi
Amount Per Serving
Calories 388 Calories from Fat 279
% Daily Value*
Fat 31g48%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Trans Fat 0.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 126mg42%
Sodium 805mg35%
Potassium 524mg15%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 20g40%
Vitamin A 396IU8%
Vitamin C 13mg16%
Calcium 64mg6%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Tips & Tricks for Chicken Jalfrezi

Marinate the Chicken

Like a lot of traditional curry recipes, Chicken Jalfrezi usually calls to marinate the meat in the ground spices. While this recipe skips that step to make it quicker, marinating the chicken in the spice mix for even 10-15 minutes before cooking will give you a deeper flavor profile. 

Make it Spicy

This is a mild version of Chicken Jalfrezi but there are a few ways to turn up the heat if you love spicy food.

  • Cayenne pepper and red chili flakes are the easiest way to make it spicy. Start with a ¼ teaspoon with the spice mix, then add another ¼ teaspoon at a time at the end if you want more heat.
  • You can also add 1-2 small green chili peppers like serrano peppers or jalapenos. Dice them finely and cook them with the ginger and garlic. 
  • Finally, try some specialty spicy seasonings made with red chiles if they are available. Try Kashmiri chili powder, hot chili garlic paste, or hot chili oil will all add a bit more heat.

What to Pair With Chicken Jalfrezi

Chicken Jalfrezi is a thick curry dish that goes perfectly with a side of rice and naan bread to soak up the amazing sauce! A fresh batch of Coconut Rice or Saffron Rice would make your meal extra special. Be sure to try our homemade Garlic Naan or Roti recipes too!

How to Store

Store: Keep the Chicken Jalfrezi sealed in plastic wrap or in an airtight container, and it will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Always let the chicken cool down to room temperature before storing.

Reheat: You can reheat this curry dish on the stove top or in the microwave, stirring occasionally so it heats evenly without drying out.

Freeze: You can freeze the leftovers frozen for up to 4 months. After the chicken and sauce are cooled, put it into a sealed container before storing in the freezer.

Ideas to Serve Chicken Jalfrezi

Noodle Stir Fry: Saute some cooked spaghetti or angel hair pasta in oil until they are hot and just slightly toasted. Stir in the leftover Chicken Jalfrezi and a little sauce. Finally, toss in some warm steamed veggies and stir until everything is hot.

Wraps: Cut the chicken in smaller bite size pieces and serve it wrapped up in some warm naan or roti bread. Add toppings like Pickled Red Onions, quartered cherry tomatoes, or sliced green bell peppers for some fresh contrast.

Frequent Questions

What does a Jalfrezi taste like?

Chicken Jalfrezi has a curry spiced, tangy tomato base sauce that is usually medium or hot spicy level. There are notes of ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander, and of course warm red chile powder. 

Which country is Chicken Jalfrezi from?

Chicken Jalfrezi originated in India, specifically the Bengali region, but is most popular in Indian Restaurants in the United Kingdom. Because of this it is usually considered a British-Indian dish.

What is the difference between Jalfrezi and Tikka Masala?

Both Chicken Jalfrezi and Tikka Masala have similar origins because they were created to use up leftover chicken, are spiced more to appeal to Western tastes, and both have a tomato base sauce. However, Jalfrezi is usually spicer with a thicker sauce, where Masala includes coconut milk so it is creamier and a bit more mild.

Recipe Card

Chicken Jalfrezi

Chicken Jalfrezi is a popular Indian restaurant dish that you can make at home! Warmly spiced tomato base chicken curry in about 30 minutes!
Yield 5 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion , grated
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger , minced
  • 5 chicken thighs , boneless skinless
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes , do not drain
  • 2 tablespoons ghee , clarified butter
  • 1/4 cup cilantro , chopped


  • To a large skillet, on medium heat, add the oil and onions. Cook for 3-5 minutes until translucent.
  • Stir in the garlic and ginger. Cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  • Add in the chicken, cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder and salt and mix well until the chicken and onions are well coated with the seasonings.
  • Stir in the diced tomatoes and the canned juices. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cover the pan. Cook for 20 minutes.
  • Mix in the ghee and cilantro then cook uncovered for another 5 minutes before serving.


Calories: 388kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 126mg | Sodium: 805mg | Potassium: 524mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 396IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 3mg
Keyword: Chicken Jalfrezi

Pin this recipe now to remember it later

Pin Recipe


Seasonings: There are lots of spices and herbs to choose from to add more flavor to this dish. Try garam masala, curry powder, cardamom, fennel, or mustard seeds.

Meat: You can swap in pieces of pork, beef, lamb or boneless chicken breasts, just adjust the cooking time to cook the meat properly. For a vegetarian version, try it with baked tofu or canned chickpeas.

Veggies: Make this a heartier curry and one dish meal by adding vegetables like red and green bell peppers, green beans, or peas, or potatoes. Use canned or frozen veggies that have been thawed and drained to keep the cook time low.

More Indian Chicken Dishes

Chicken Jalfrezi cooked and plated over rice in bowl, recipe name across bottom

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


Leave a comment & rating

Have you checked the FAQ section above to see if your question has already been answered? View previous questions.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.