Caramelized Onion Chicken Curry

Sweet caramelized onion is blended into a puree and then marinated with chicken pieces. It is then slow cooked with few other spices. It’s a spiced chicken curry with the sweet note from the caramelized onion. A treat when paired with Naan. This Caramelized Onion Chicken Curry could be your perfect weekend meal. 

I have not been cooking much since last Thursday. It’s been a busy festive week!
Durga Puja Celebration was going on in full swing and that also included a lot of eating out. It was a good break from the usual routine. Getting back in the kitchen after a gap is always a little challenging and I needed an easy comfort meal to start.
Few months back, my Mom had mentioned about this caramelized onion chicken curry that she had tried and everybody loved it. So, I gave it a go yesterday morning. The caramelized onion added a lovely rich vibrant shade along with mild sweetness, which we all loved!

Ingredients for Caramelized Onion Chicken Curry

  • red onions
  • chicken cubes, skinless, bones-in
  • garlic and ginger
  • tomato 
  • fresh green chili (optional)
  • And few other warm spices

Steps in a nutshell: 

Marinate the chicken with few warm spices. Keep it overnight for best flavor. 

When ready to prepare the curry, fry the onion until it’s caramelized nicely. Then puree it and mix with the marinated chicken. 

Finally add everything in a pot and slow cook for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. 


Caramelized Onion Chicken Curry | Playful Cooking #foodphotography #chicken #curry #recipe

Caramelized Onion Chicken Curry | Playful Cooking #foodphotography #chicken #curry #recipe

For me, cooking chicken is always comforting and I often look for different ways to prepare it. Because the kiddo can’t candle heat yet, I look for mellow flavored dishes that doesn’t involve too much spice yet gives a flavor bang.

The idea of caramelizing onion can sound like too much work but trust me, apart from that, it’s all easy one pot stirring activity. What I also loved about this curry is how creamy the gravy turns out without adding any cream. The caramelized onion paste does all the work.

The key note to remember is when you are caramelizing onion, make sure you give it your complete attention. You don’t have to gawk at it the entire time but just be around to stir the onion every now and then.

Caramelized Onion Chicken Curry | Playful Cooking #foodphotography #chicken #curry #recipe

If you are a vegetarian, try the same recipe with vegetables like cauliflower or potatoes, with tofu or paneer. It will work great! I love to pair this dish with Naan, but you could go with rice as well.

Caramelized Onion Chicken Curry

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Author: Kankana Saxena


  • 2 big red onions 7.40 oz/210 g each
  • 1 lb chicken cubes skinless, bones-in
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon fennel powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger-garlic
  • 1 to mato roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 3 fresh green chili
  • Lemon wedges and fresh cilantro optional


  • Marinate the chicken with ½ teaspoon salt, cumin powder, coriander powder, fennel powder and turmeric powder. Leave it aside for minimum 4 hours or overnight for best flavor.
  • When you are ready to prepare the curry, start by slicing the onion very thinly.
  • Place a heavy bottom pan on medium high heat and pour 1 tablespoon of oil. Scatter the sliced onion, sprinkle ½ teaspoon salt and the sugar. Sauté for about 30 minutes or until it changes to golden brown in color. Take it off the pan and let it cool before you blend it to into a paste.
  • Pour the caramelized onion paste in the marinated chicken and mix it around.
  • Place the same pan on medium heat and pour rest of the oil. Drop the cinnamon stick, cardamom and bay leaves along with the fresh ginger garlic. Sauté it around for a few seconds and then, drop the chopped tomato. Cook for 2 minutes and drop the marinated chicken. Stir it around to mix everything, let it sizzle for 5 minutes.
  • Give it a stir and pour 1 cup of water along with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Cover the pan and continue cooking for 10 minutes.
  • The chicken should be cooked by now, unless you have very large pieces. If the chicken is not cooked through, continue at simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Next, sprinkle the garam masala powder, stir around, check for salt and add any, if needed. Cook for 3 more minutes.
  • Sprinkle fresh lemon juice, scatter finely chopped fresh cilantro and serve it warm with your choice of bread!



Serving: 1Serves 4
Caramelized Onion Chicken Curry | Playful Cooking #foodphotography #chicken #curry #recipe Caramelized Onion Chicken Curry | Playful Cooking #foodphotography #chicken #curry #recipe

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Comments are closed.

  • Anindya Sundar Basu
    Anindya Sundar Basu
    November 12, 2018 at 7:59 AM

    5 stars
    Have never heard about this and as I will definitely try this, was just curious what is this called in Bengali ?

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      November 12, 2018 at 8:10 PM

      I don’t think it’s a typical recipe. Ma just tried one day and it turned out so good that she had to share with me 🙂

  • Faye
    October 26, 2018 at 5:45 AM

    5 stars
    I tried two of your recipes from your book! They are so good!. Thank you. That’s how I discovered your blog and I have to tell you that your photography and styling is outstanding!

    This recipe looks set to be my next try but I’m interested in using paneer instead of chicken for a change. Do I marinate the paneer and pan fry it before I use it in the recipe or should I simply marinate the paneer and cook it straight? Also about the quantity of paneer, am I to stick with 1 lb? Please advice.


    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      October 26, 2018 at 10:48 AM

      Thank you Faye so much! These kind words from you just made my day, am so glad you are trying recipes from my book 🙂 And yes paneer is a good substitute. 1 lb would probably serve 3 to 4!

      • Faye
        October 26, 2018 at 11:19 PM

        5 stars
        Hi Kankana! Sorry to ask you again but should I fry up my paneer before I cook it?

        • Kankana Saxena
          Kankana Saxena
          October 27, 2018 at 12:35 PM

          Typically paneer taste good in any curry, even without frying. So it’s more of a personal preference. For this particular one, I would suggest, marinate the paneer with the spices as I did here with the chicken and then cook it like the way I did here, instead of frying it separately. Hope this helps! And I am looking forward to see your creation 🙂

          • Faye
            October 28, 2018 at 12:47 AM

            5 stars
            I’ll give it a good shot! Tonight I’m going to cook your Tomato and Nigella fish.

          • Kankana Saxena
            Kankana Saxena
            October 28, 2018 at 9:27 PM

            Yay! So glad you are cooking from my book. It will be really nice if you could please leave a review in Amazon, it really helps the book 🙂

          • Faye
            October 28, 2018 at 9:35 PM

            5 stars
            Yesterday’s Nigella and Tomato fish was brilliant! Thank you so much. First time I got to use those Nigella seeds on my spice shelf and they are so amazing! Like where have they been all my life amazing. I adjusted it only one bit by throwing in curry leaves which I had sitting around and withering fast. Probably not something used in Bengali curries. But it worked fine. I am going to try it with Paneer. I think this is good with that. Sorry about my fixation with Paneer at the moment. I will leave a review on Amazon. I wondered how to post a photo of my dish. Thanks so much! You are a great cook and cook book writer! Thank you for not holding back your secrets!

  • Shantala
    October 24, 2018 at 8:53 AM

    5 stars
    I adore chicken and am constantly on the lookout for making different versions of curry. I make a similar caramelized version, but have never added sugar while sauteing onions. Will try that out now. Bookmarking this one.

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      October 24, 2018 at 2:38 PM

      Adding sugar gives a gorgeous shade to the caramelized onion 🙂

  • Arpita
    October 23, 2018 at 1:19 PM

    5 stars
    That is one delicious Chicken curry.. the addition of fennel powder and caramelised onion paste in this curry sounds devine.. 😍

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      October 24, 2018 at 2:37 PM

      The flavor comes out so beautifully and the caramelized onion adds the subtle sweetness that I love in Chicken curry.

  • angiesrecipes
    October 23, 2018 at 10:51 AM

    5 stars
    So yummy with homemade flatbread. Your everyday meals always look so tempting!

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      October 24, 2018 at 2:35 PM

      Thanks so much Angie 🙂