Gurkha Chicken Curry Inspired by the Memories of Joanna Lumley


I will confess that this is not my recipe and have only made a couple of slight adjustments purely because that was the only ingredients I had at the time. It is actually one from Jamie Oliver but definitely worth a try

After being discarded from hospital I decided that I wanted something nice and comforting to cheer me up without hitting the takeaway. I saw this Gurkha curry on one of Jimmy and Jamie’s Friday night feasts so thought I’d give it a try. For a change I don’t think I have altered any of the ingredients here and it was not difficult. One of the main things I think with this kind of food is preparation and organisation. A great way of saving the spices so that you always have them to hand is to use the traditional spice tins for your ground and whole spices. (see below)

You can pick these up quite cheap at the Indian supermarkets. I would recommend one for whole spices and one for ground. You will soon see which ones are used most regularly and if you get the spices from these supermarkets they work out really good value.


8 large free-range skinless chicken thighs , with or without bone

1 large onion finely chopped

2 medium potatoes, I think I will probably use sweet potato or butternut squash next time. I actually think this would work equally well without the chicken and just using all sorts of veg.

Packet  (approz 250g} of good quality ripe cherry tomatoes, or any ripe tomatoes you have.

½ a bunch of fresh coriander

vegetable oil

1 stick of cinnamon

4 cloves

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

3 fresh bay leaves

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 fresh red chilli , (optional)



5 cm piece of ginger

1 bulb of garlic or heaped tbsp. pureed

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

5 cardamom pods

1 teaspoon hot chilli powder


To make the marinade, peel and roughly slice the ginger, break up and peel the garlic cloves, then add to a dry frying pan over a medium heat, along with the fennel seeds and whole cardamom pods.

  1. Heat for 1 minute to wake up all those lovely flavours, then transfer to a blender with the chilli powder and 1 pinch of sea salt, then blitz into a rough paste.
  2. Tip into a large bowl with the yoghurt, lemon zest and juice, and the chicken thighs. Stir to coat evenly, then cover and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5.

Peel and finely dice the onions. Peel the potatoes, then chop into rough chunks, along with the tomatoes. Pick the coriander leaves and set aside, then finally chop the stalks.

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, wide ovenproof pan over a medium heat, then add the cinnamon, cloves, cumin seeds and bay.
  2. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook for 5 minutes on one side, or until a lovely, golden crust develops.
  3. Stir in the ground spices, then add the onion, potatoes, tomatoes and coriander stalks. Turn the chicken over and cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes, or until browned all over.
  4. Pour over 350ml of cold water, then bring to the boil.

Place in the hot oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, uncovered, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender, stirring occasionally.

  1. At this stage I would remove the chicken and set aside and leave the source to cook further to reduce to required consistency, this will avoid over cooking the chicken.
  2. Pick out and discard the cinnamon and cardamom pods, then divide between your plates. Finely slice and sprinkle over the chilli (if using), then tear the coriander leaves on top. 2/2

250 ml fat-free yoghurt , plus extra to serve

1 lemon

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