Chicken Curry in a Hurry

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

We first encountered “Chicken Curry in a Hurry” in Mark Bittman’s Quick and Easy Recipes from the New York Times.

The concept is simple. You’re looking for maximum flavor in minimal time.

We’ve made a few small changes to Mark’s original recipe—cutting the chicken into easier to cook pieces, salting the chicken first to intensify its flavor, plumping the raisins, and doubling the amount of curry powder.

It’s an easy curry dish, with lots of flavor, that can be made in about 30 minutes!

Recipe updated May 27, 2014


Chicken Curry in a Hurry Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast cutlets*
  • Salt
  • 3 teaspoons your favorite yellow curry powder or combination of curry spices (such as garam masala)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, rice bran oil, or olive oil
  • 1 medium-large onion, thinly sliced crosswise (about 2 cups
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins (optional), placed in a bowl and covered with water to plump them
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream or a mixture of plain full-fat yogurt (or Greek yogurt) and whipping cream or sour cream
  • Minced fresh cilantro and toasted slivered almonds (optional) for garnish

*The cutlets should be about 1/2-inch thick. If you are starting with full chicken breasts, cut them in half horizontally, or pound them to 1/2-inch thickness with a meat hammer between two layers of wax paper.


1 Cut the chicken cutlets and rub them with curry powder: Cut the chicken breast cutlets in half or into thirds or quarters to make smaller serving pieces (they'll cook more quickly too). Sprinkle them on both sides lightly with salt (about 1/4 teaspoon). Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the curry powder, lightly rubbing the curry powder into the chicken on all sides.

2 Sauté the onions, with raisins and curry powder: Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Cook until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper while the onions are cooking.

Drain the raisins from the water and add them to the onions.

Lower the heat to medium and sprinkle the onions with the remaining 2 teaspoons of curry powder. Continue to cook for another minute or two.

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3 Sauté the chicken: Push the onions to one side of the skillet. Place the chicken pieces in the pan in a single layer. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and just cooked through. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate. (Bunch them together so they retain their heat.)

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4 Add sour cream or yogurt: Add the sour cream and/or yogurt mixture and stir over medium-low heat until the mixture has heated through. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a little water to thin it.

If you are using yogurt, or low-fat sour cream, be careful not to let the mixture simmer or it may curdle!

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Return the chicken to the skillet (and any juices from the plate the chicken has been resting on), turn over the pieces in the sauce. When all is heated through, it's ready to serve.

Garnish with cilantro and toasted slivered almonds and serve alone or over rice.

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Chicken Peanut Curry here on Simply Recipes

Chicken Curry Salad here on Simply Recipes

Chicken Curry in a Hurry

Showing 4 of 75 Comments

  • Ashley

    Made this recipe tonight for dinner! Me and my daughter loved it!!!

  • Kate

    Love, Love, Love it! My 3 boys all inhaled it. I served it with coconut rice. Thanks!

  • amanda

    thanks again, elise! loved this. i used some big bone-in breasts with skin on, so i did the onions and raisins first in the sautee pan, then removed them and seared the breasts that i had rubbed with garam masala and curry powder. put them in a 450 oven for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through, and while those were in, i put the onions and raisins back in the pan with 1.5 tsp garam masala and 1.5 tsp curry powder and sea salt. cooked together for a few, dumped in the sour cream, and then added in the finished breasts to warm through all together. topped with cilantro and chopped raw cashews and it was fantastic! great easy dinner that will be in heavy rotation in our house, for sure.

  • Hstan

    My mother made chicken curry for me often – it was my favorite “welcome home” dish. (she had lived with her professor’s family while doing her graduate in music – they had lived in India for many years) My chicken is in small chunks, uses some chicken broth. She simmered and softened cut apples in the sauce — and lately, I have added small cubes of eggplant. Raisins definitely. Chutney and banana on the side. Juicy sauce marries with underlying rice. Next day leftovers have flavors really melded and delicious. Freezes well for future lunch portions.

  • Shannon

    Thought this was a great recipe base. It is obviously meant to be tweaked according to personal tastes. After reading a few comments decided to cut sour cream with coconut milk. I did 16 ounces of sour cream (full fat) with about 6 ounces of coconut milk, but will do 1/1 next time. Doubled the sour cream as we like to have a lot of sauce. I also added quite a bit more curry powder than suggested and used black pepper. Re: the onions and raisins, OMG!, I was so leery about this part but it was so delicious. I cooked them exactly as the recipe suggested and could not believe the flavor! For the chicken I got chicken breast strips, as mentioned they do need to cook a bit longer than suggested, but by doubling the sour cream and adding the coconut milk, I was able to let the chicken do a medium boil in the sauce and cook thoroughly. Next time I will marinate the chicken in white wine as the chicken was a little bit tough. I am far from what anyone would call a “cook” but my husband raved about this. By the way, I used Mahatma’s premixed saffron rice on the side. So tasty together! Someone mentioned that they added peas to their rice, I will do that next time as well.

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