Main course

Murgh tariwala Atul Kochhar

Tariwala is a Punjabi dish that very rarely makes it on to restaurant menus. Its name comes from the ‘tari,’ which refers to the yummy ‘gravy’ in which the chicken is cooked. Reading other peoples’ articles on tariwala reveals that it is a firm favourite of Punjabi families – with many locals citing their mothers’ versions as among their most enduring childhood memories. It is intriguing, therefore, that the curry-mad Brits are not eating more of it.

This recipe comes from Atul Kochhar’s mother. Atul also describes it as a ‘family curry,’ and that is probably because it is simple and relatively quick to make – there is no marinade in Mrs Kochhar’s version, and the use of chicken makes it more suitable for quick home cooking than red meats or even some vegetables.

Atul recommends that tariwala is cooked with chicken leg pieces on the bone, but concedes that if bones are not present, then the best cut is boneless thighs. If lamb is used, then slow cooking is needed, and you end up with a tariwala gosht.

The Nosey Chef team cook with Atul Kochhar at Leith’s School of Food and Wine, March 2019

Murgh tariwala Atul Kochhar

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By Atul Kochhar Serves: 4
Cooking Time: 30 mins


  • 600g of chicken leg pieces on the bone (or boneless thigh fillets, cut into 1 inch dice)
  • 100ml vegetable oil (if you want less fat, you can reduce this volume, but take extreme care not to burn the spices)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 green cardamom
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 10 whole black pepper corns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 250g onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (see notes)
  • 0.5 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 0.75 tsp turmeric powder
  • 100g tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger



Heat the oil in a pan, add the whole spices and the bay leaf, and stir till spices crackle and change their colour.


Next add the chopped onions and sauté till golden brown.


Add the ginger-garlic paste, stir continuously and keep scraping the bottom of the pan to avoid the mix getting burnt.


Add chicken thighs and sauté for 5–7 minutes or until evenly coloured.


Next add the powdered spices except the garam masala. Mix quickly, don’t let the spices get burnt at the bottom, sauté for 1–2 minutes.


Add salt, chopped tomatoes and paste.


Cook on slow heat, stirring slowly for 12–15 minutes until chicken is cooked (or chuck it in a slow cooker for a while).


Sprinkle with the garam masala and simmer to finish cooking (or sprinkle with the garam masala 10 mins before stopping the slow cooker).


Add chopped coriander leaves and sprinkle chopped ginger for decoration.


Ginger-garlic paste can be made by blending equal amounts of peeled garlic and ginger in a blender with a touch of neutral oil and a splash of water. Or, you can cheat by blending equal quantities of garlic and ginger puree from tubes. Of you can cheat even more and get it pre-made from Aldi.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    18/04/2021 at 4:58 am

    Thanks For Sharing this amazing recipe. My family loved it. I will be sharing this recipe with my friends. Hope the will like it.

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