Tamarind skillet chicken

Every time I hear the work tamarind, I always think puli curry or russim. That seems to be the only thing we use tamarind in.

That was until I discovered that you can use it in many other Indian dishes, take this dish for example, who would have thought.

I was always under the impression that tamarind is a sour component in the dish, because whenever my dad seems me using tamarind, he says smaller smaller piece.

My mum always tells me that if you know of anyone having a stroke or suffering from high blood pressure, they should suck a piece of tamarind.

Me on the other hand, I am the person that keeps getting in confused for pitted dates, because my mum keeps the dates and the tamarind together on the same shelve in the fridge and they both look the same. So if you come to my house and I offer you date muffins, but they taste sour. Just eat them. You have fair warning I tend to get the two confused if I don’t look properly.

I recently discovered tamarind paste, which is like the next best thing to sliced bread. It is soo much easy to work with and there is no need for soaking and pushing the tamarind through the sieve to remove all the strands…nope no more.

But my parents are old school and they hate the paste, because firstly the tamarind block comes either black or brown and we use black to give it that rich colour, but the paste only comes in brown so when I used the pulp to make say puli rice and it comes out brown instead of black, they have a fat lot to say .

I tried making puli curry with tamarind paste and I gave it to my uncle to try out, he drove straight up to tell me, it tasted funny and when I informed him what I had down by swopping out the block and using the paste he told me to stop making him a guinea pig.

The recipe itself is pretty easy, just I really should learn to read the recipe before starting out. I originally planned to make this for Saturday lunch, but then the second step of the recipe said marinade for 24 hours so it got pushed and became Sunday lunch.

Another fun thing about this recipe, I finally got to use my cleaver to chop right through the chicken meat and bone. Any recipe that requires my cleaver is a recipe that I have to try.

My dad took the left overs to work for lunch and his work buddy enjoyed it… at least it wasn’t too strong for him. His buddy is known to drink an entire bottle of milk whenever there is curry on the lunch menu… but shhh you did not hear this from me.

Ingredients for the marinade:

  • ½ x cup yoghurt.
  • 2 x tbsp. ginger garlic paste.
  • 1 x tsp chilli powder.
  • ½ x tsp turmeric powder.
  • 2 x tbsp. olive oil.
  • 2 x tsp salt.
  • 9 x chicken thighs, skin slashed.

Ingredients for the curry:

  • ¼ x cup olive oil.
  • 2 x tbsp. coriander powder.
  • 1 x tbsp. cumin powder.
  • 1 x tsp pepper.
  • ½ x tsp methi seeds.
  • 1 x green chili, finely chopped.
  • 2 x tbsp. sesame seeds.
  • 2 x tsp tamarind paste.
  • 2 x onions, finely chopped.
  • 1 x tbsp. tomateo paste.
  • 1 x tsp salt.
  • A few curry leaves.
  • 3 x tomatoes, blitzed.
  • 3 x potatoes, peeled and quartered.


  • To make the marinade, mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Add the chicken pieces, toss to allow the marinade to coat the chicken.
  • Cover with cling film and pop into the fridge to chill over night.
  • Heat oil in a pot.
  • Add the onions, salt, methi seeds, sesame seeds and curry leaves and saute till the onions are soft.
  • Add the tomatoes, cover and cook till the tomatoes have released all their water.
  • Add the spices , tomato paste and tamarind paste and give it a good stir.
  • Add about a cup of water, stir and allow the mixture to come to the boil.
  • Add the chicken with the marinade, cover and cook till almost cooked through.
  • Add the potatoes and add more water if required.
  • Cover and cook till the potatoes are cooked through and the gravy has reduced and thickened.
  • Finally garnish with freshly chopped coriander before serving.

Tell me what you think of this recipe