Balti Indian Main Dish Tamarind

Balti Chicken in Tamarind Sauce

chicken-in tamarind sauce

Chicken and tamarind, together they excite our taste buds…

I’ve never thought that I would combine chicken and tamarind paste together, now I am glad that I did it finally as that combination was delicious. One of the notions at least in my family was chicken wouldn’t get along with tamarind and so I didn’t bother to try it. However, while making fish curries tamarind is a must which actually make the fishy curries taste better.

When I told my mom how I combined chicken and tamarind together she went “ewww”, then I had to convince her that it wasn’t a bad combination instead it was a very delicious one. This is more like a dry dish in which the chicken marinated in the tamarind sauce is coked and then browned well. Not at all a complicated recipe and tastes unbelievably yummy.

This dish belongs to Balti cuisine which is popular in Birmingham, England. It is believed that Balti dishes were originated from Pakistan and Kashmir and then it was spread to Britain. That explains the use of a lot of Indian spices and ingredients in Balti cuisine.

Chicken in tamarind sauce

Preparation Pictures

Cooking Chicken

making-chicken-tamarind sauce

Cooked chicken with thickened gravy

making-chicken in tamarind sauce

After adding tomatoes

making chicken in tamarind sauce

Recipe courtesy: Rafi Fernandez

Balti Chicken in Tamarind Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Balti
Serves: 5 People
For making the tamarind sauce
  • Tomato ketchup- 4tbsp
  • Fresh tamarind- 3 inch slice soaked in 4 tbsp water
  • Chili powder- 1½ tsp
  • Salt- to taste
  • Grated ginger- 1½ tsp
  • Garlic, crushed- 1½ tsp
  • Grated coconut- 2 tbsp
  • Sesame seeds, black- 2 tbsp
  • Ground cumin- 1 tsp
  • Ground coriander- 1½ tsp
While cooking
  • Chicken pieces, bone-in- 8 pieces
  • Oil- 4 tbsp
  • Cury leaves- 1 sprig
  • Onion, minced- 1 small
  • Dried red chilies- 3
  • Fenugreek seeds- 1 tsp
  • Tomatoes, chopped- 1, large
  • Cilantro, chopped- 2 handfuls
  • Ground pepper- for spice if needed
  1. If using fresh tamarind, soak 3 inch slice in 4 tbsp warm water for a few minutes.
  2. Squeeze the tamarind in water to release all the juice from it, drain the juice and discard the skin.
  3. If using concentrated tamarind paste, use around 2 tsp or according to your needs.
  4. In a bowl, combine all the above mentioned ingredients to make the tamarind sauce.
  5. Add the sauce to the chicken pieces, spread it over chicken and let marinate for 15 minutes.
  6. Place a wok over medium heat, add oil.
  7. Add curry leaves, onion, dried red chilies and fenugreek seeds, stir fry for a few minutes.
  8. Add the marinated chicken along with the sauce, keep stirring as you add the chicken.
  9. Cover the pan with a lid and cook till the chicken has cooked well.
  10. Open the lid, cook over high heat and let the gravy thicken and chicken turns slightly browned. Oil will start to separate from the sauce.
  11. Add chopped tomatoes, stir fry for a couple of minutes. Don't over cook the tomatoes.
  12. Add chopped cilantro, stir fry for a minute.
  13. Taste and add more salt or ground pepper if needed.
  14. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer to a bowl.
  15. Serve with chapati, roti, naan, pita bread or even bread.
Use bone-in chicken for better taste.



Thas is the author of Cooking with Thas, a popular food blog with recipes from Indian, American and Fusion Cuisines. She has been blogging since 2009 and been featured in several magazines. Read more...