Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Indian Takeaway - Chicken Pathia

Chicken Pathia

This is our reproduction of the chicken pathia that we got at our local Indian takeaway in Edinburgh. It is a sweet/sour/hot curry. If you already have our curry base sauce on hand, this dish is very quick and easy to make - so easy that we've even made it while camping.

The striking red color is actually a powdered food dye, traditional in other British-Indian dishes such as tandoori. Ours is from a company in the UK called Preema. We still have some from Scotland (a little goes a long way!) and so haven't tried to find it here yet.

Chicken Pathia

Starting with our curry base sauce, stirring just a little bit of the food coloring...



...changes the dish from a rusty orange color into a cherry red, almost matching our dutch oven's enamel.

Chicken Pathia

Pathia has a cinnamon note that may seem overly sweet when it's first added to the dish, but is tempered into a flavorful mellowness by the twang of vinegar and the aggressive use of fresh cilantro. This curry is a good one for winning over those eaters somewhat leery of unfamiliar foods.

For other curries be sure to check out our Indian Takeaway Recipes page.

Chicken Pathia

Serves four generously.

4 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1-2 teaspoons indian chilli powder
1 large bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped (coriander)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon red coloring
Approx. 1/3 recipe Ubiquitous Curry Base Sauce
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 pound total), cut into 1 inch pieces
Chicken stock concentrate or cube (enough for 1 cup)

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add cumin, ground coriander, garlic, ginger, and onion. Cook while stirring until onions are wilted.

Add “Base Sauce,” chicken stock concentrate, cinnamon, vinegar, sugar and red coloring. Stir to mix. Add salt to taste, and chilli powder to get the spice level you want.

Add the chicken and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add a large handful of the cilantro to the pot and mix it in. Simmer for another 20 minutes.

Add another small handful of cilantro a few minutes before serving.

Serve with rice (plain Basmati or Pulao Rice) and flat-bread or tortillas.

100 comments:

  1. I gave this a shot last night. it turned out pretty good. But I don't have Indian chili powder (A google search doesn't yield much either) So I used regular chili powder. I wasn't able to get the heat that yours has. So what the heck is Indian chili powder? I couldn't even find it on Penzeys.

    I have two more portions of curry base in the freeze now so I can give it another shot later.

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  2. The main key is to make sure you are using "powdered chili" and not "chili powder", which is often chili blended with cumin and other spices.

    For a while, we didn't have an Indian brand and found that cayenne is a pretty good substitute.

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  3. I too lived in Edinburgh for a while and my favourite dish by far was the chicken pathia from my local indian takeaway! I still remember the name of the place "Ujala - light out of darkness". I have tried to recreate a couple of times with limited success. I remember the dish was always deep red and glossy, but also spicy and sweet. Yours looks very similar so thank you I will give it a try.

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  4. Hi , need a recipe for basic curry base, any help gratefully recieved!

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  5. The Ubiquitous Curry Base Sauce that we mention in the pathia recipe above is our standard curry base.

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  6. Delicious recipe, not greasy like normal takeaway pathias. Cooked it tonight with ease and delight.
    The only change I made was the lack of food colouring and honey, not sugar. I prefer to use sugar because of the added texture and flavour. Worked really well for me.
    Thanks!

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  7. Notice the obvious mistake above!
    I meant I prefer to use honey.
    Apologies.

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  8. Glad you enjoyed the recipe. Honey sounds like an interesting twist - we'll have to give it a try.

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  9. Tried this last night & was very impressed. Easy to make & better than my locak takeaway's version. I also used the honey & it worked well. Thanks!

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  10. Hi Adam - thanks for letting us know how it turned out. We definitely need to try it using honey.

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  11. gonna try out the chicken pathia and rogan josh this week, how many people does this serve,, will let you know how it goes

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  12. I'd say each recipe serves four generously, maybe with a little left-over. Depends on how much rice and/or flat bread you eat with it. :-)

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  13. Made this on Thursday. It was amazing. Couldn't believe how close it tasted to a pathia in our local Indian. Easy to make and delicious!

    Emma

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  14. Hi Emma - glad the recipe worked well for you!

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  15. Can I ask which Indian inspired you to make the recipe? I went to Edinburgh recently and had a Pathia for the first time ever at Ignite.. it was incredible! So I will definitely try this recipe!
    Thanks!

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  16. Hi Pipp, I can't remember the exact place. It was over 10 years ago, and it probably isn't still there. It was either on Clerk/Newington or Causwayside.

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  17. Hi. I live in Edinburgh and love pathias. I use them to benchmark restuarants and take aways and also receipes. This is definitely the best receipe out there!!! Its great! Well done and thanks. I added the juice of half a lemon towards the end and was a subtle addition. Try it!! Thanks again. Will try the rogan josh next week!

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  18. Thanks Duncan - glad you liked it! Adding some lemon juice sounds nice - I'm looking forward to trying it.

    Definitely give the Rogan Josh a go. Coincidentally, we just had it for dinner tonight. Good stuff.

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  19. Excellent recipe, even my kids, (aged 15 & 17), loved it and they usually hate my cooking.
    Thanks.

    Haydn

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  20. Hi Haydyn - glad the kids liked it!

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  21. Made this last night and it was fantastic, probably the best home made curry ive made and ive made a few, cheers.

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  22. Hi I am from Edinburgh and am making this Pathia with lamb instead of chicken as I type (it's that easy!) It smells amazing and I can't wait until it's done!! It looks quite watery at the moment but still go 10 mins to simmer hopefully it'll be okay ;-) thanks for this fantastic recipe I'll let you know how I get on!!!

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  23. We've never tried it with lamb, but I can't imagine it wouldn't be good.

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  24. Me again! The Lamb Pathia was amazing! I've certainly up'ed the benckmark of my cooking abilities at home and my Boyfriend will now be expecting the same standards to be maintained! He even said it was better than his favorite takeaway! Looks like curry is on the dinner menu forever! :-)

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  25. Made the above last night using mutton from my local Halal butcher. What can I say PERFECT!! PERFECT!! PERFECT!! PERFECT!!
    This is as close to my local takeaway as I'm going to get. As I'm currently dieting I used significantly less oil with still good results.
    Only 4 weight watchers points per portion, as opposed to about 15 points from the take away.

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  26. Tom - glad it worked for you. We definitely need to try it with lamb since it is turning out so well for people.

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  27. Going to make chicken pathia this weekend using your recipe cant wait. Im addicted to the one from the shop hope it tastes the same.

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  28. Made this with beef this weekend, it was amazing. I substituted beef tock for chicken stock and I also added some garam masala and lemon juice to the base. Thank you for the receipe!

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  29. Thank you so much for putting this recipe out.Made this last night and it tasted absolutely superb and is the most realistic home curry I have made (after trying and failing many times over the last couple of years) .EXCELLENT!!!!!. scott.

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  30. Heya, i'm going to be giving this a shot in the next couple of days and i was wondering if you got your colouring from a specific specialist shop in edinburgh?

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  31. We purchased the coloring from an asian supermarket in Leith. That was over 10 years ago, though...

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  32. JUst like to say thanks for this great recipe it's one of my favs from the take away . it is so very easy to make and tastes better the next day . Thanks again.

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  33. Cooking it as we speak :)Im living in Brisbane Australia and find decent Indian takeaways near impossile to find so thought Id have a go and try your recipe. Will let you know how it goes.....Well I hope because its the one dish that we really miss from the UK

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  34. I never made curry anything before & am getting ready to give this a shot. However I was curious, can I use pork instead of beef or chicken? And if so what kind of stock should I use

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  35. Hi Danny - we've never made a curry with pork, but I bet it would be just fine. As for stock, chicken stock would still work - we use chicken stock with pork in other dishes.

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  36. I moved from Birmingham, England to Melbourne, Australia 2 years ago and the on thing I miss is a good curry, especially my fave the chicken pathia. My partner and I have just made this and she has just gone to the local curry house to pick up a couple of naan breads. I can't wait to get stuck in. Thanks so much for the recipe - we'll tell you how we get on...

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  37. how many does this serve please?

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  38. Depends on the people, but I would say that it should serve four generously. I've updated the recipe with this information since the question has come up before.

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  39. thanks mate so do i still only add 1/3 of base sauce even for 4 people thanks

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  40. Yes - the base sauce makes enough for 3 good-sized curries.

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  41. And the verdict.... Delicious and just like I remember them tasting in Birmingham if not better. Thank you so much for the recipe Mike :)

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  42. Thanks for reporting back - glad you liked it!

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  43. If you use balsamic instead of white wine vinegar then you get a lovely red colour without having to use food colouring.

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  44. Mike,

    Love the site - its nice to see someone who shares many of my foody loves.

    I've got to agree on the takeaway curries here in Edinburgh - though not the best in the UK (Glasgow or Manchester) they are, as you put it, their own "genre" of food.

    Love the Pathia recipe - it's almost identical to mine - only difference is I use a smooth Mango chutney to achieve the sweetness (a tip from the chef at my favourite Edinburgh Curry House - the Clay Oven)

    Wish I had the time and money (and space - you'll remember the lack of it in Edinburgh City Centre!) to do the home smoking - your smoked pork butt literally has me salivating!

    Cheers,
    Stevie,
    Edinburgh

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  45. Hi Stevie - glad you are enjoying the site. I like the idea of using mango as the sweetener.

    You may not be able to do barbecue, but I certainly envy the fact that you can grab a takeaway curry anytime you like...

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  46. Hi,
    Great site - here in Gibraltar there is no such thing as a good take away curry and as a curry lover we have had to start making them ourselves.

    I tried quite a few internet recipes before I stumbled across your site, but loved the chicken pathia and have now adopted your base sauce recipe as my 'reference' base sauce. I have also tried the lamb rogan josh recipe - this was also great but didn't quite hit the spot like the pathia did.

    Keep up the good work and feel free to reverse engineer a few more curries anytime!

    Steve.

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  47. Hi Steve - glad you enjoyed the curries!

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  48. Another Steve...this time in Canada.

    Originally from the UK, studied in Birmingham so a decent Curry is a necessity! Found a good spice store finally and made this tonight. Slightly differnt from another recipe that I used but turned out really nice, the chicken was very moist. Confusing thing - there was no chilli powder. After I made the base (I used cumin, corriander, turmeric, paprika and some cracked black pepper) it was already quite warm which I couldn't explain. Think it may have been a bit spicy for the Cannucks but they did well for their first time!

    Have a look at

    http://www.ecurry.com/blog/condiments-and-sauces/the-basic-gravies/

    Did you ever have butter chicken, would be interested to see your take on it.

    Thanks!!!

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  49. Hi Steve - I've heard of butter chicken, but we've never had it. Sounds like something we should try.

    Regarding the heat in the curry without chilli powder, it may have been the paprika. Some varieties are spicy.

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  50. respect due! i've been without british curry for 7 years, having moved to sweden, i've been experimenting for a while, but your method is perfect!Thank you Thank you!!!!

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  51. Very good really enjoyed it. Try adding a table spoon of tomato puree at the end and a little extra sugar

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  52. This recipe is absolutely fantastic! I live in Balti Central (Birmingham, UK) and this tops any curry I have had in an Indian restaurant or takeaway.

    Thank you for sharing it with us

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  53. I've just cooked the lamb rogan josh and it was absolutely fabulous! Look forward to seeing some more recipes - paneer, bombay potatoes etc.

    Thanks

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  54. I cooked this pathia last night for three of us and doubled the recipe to freeze some as well. Day two and there's none left :( Absolutely delicious, better than any pathia from any take away in Birmingham. And I should know, I've tried enough. Fabulous, absolutely wonderful.

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  55. Thanks, Claire - coming from a curry hotbed like Birmingham, that means a lot. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  56. This was really good thanks for the recipe could you clarify this for me though...

    Chicken stock concentrate or cube (enough for 1 cup)

    I have chicken stock cubes, do i need to add the water to the stock or just put the stock cube into the curry?

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  57. Hi Chris - you should just use the stock cube without adding water.

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  58. Thanks for the fast reply. My pathia wasn't as juicy as the one at the top looks, hence why I inquired about the water. Any ideas why this may be? I cooked it in an open wok.

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  59. Hi Chris - the consistency pretty much all comes from the curry base. Maybe your tomatoes were less juicy? Anyway, you can certainly add some water to loosen it up if you think it needs it.

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  60. This was great! I cooked this for the first time for my wife's birthday and it was a hit with my kids as well as the light of my life.

    I now have two more sauce portions waiting in the freezer, I don't think they will be there for too long!

    Thanks for a wonderful recipe, yum!

    Nigel in Belfast.

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  61. By the way, if you have trouble finding powdered chilli, why not use chilli flakes and smash the hell out of them in a mortar and pestle? It worked for me.

    Nigel in Belfast.

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  62. Hi Nigel - glad you liked it!

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  63. Hi Mike - just made this curry tonight - I'm from Birmingham, which a couple of people have mentioned is the curry capital of the UK, and the Pathia is by far my favourite. Your version is delicious! I've tried various curry recipes before and while they've come out okay, they've paled in comparison to my local takeaways.

    I made it with lamb rather than chicken and it tasted great. The sauce was a little runner than I usually like but i think I cheaped out on the tinned tomatoes - I bought the supermarket value brand and they were a little heavy on the juice, I'll get better quality ones next time.

    I made it without the red colouring as i couldn't find any powdered colouring. I'm thinking Tandoori seasoning might be a good alternative as it's a deep red colour and contains spices like turmeric and coriander.

    Thanks for the recipe, I think this will be a regular fixture on my dinner table in the future!

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  64. Hi Neil - glad you enjoyed the curry! A number of people have made it with lamb now, but we still haven't tried it. Need to do that soon!

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  65. Hi Mike, just had to give you some feedback on this -- fabulous is not the word! Made your Ubiquitous sauce (love that name by the way) two nights ago, then made the pathia last night. Absolutely wonderful, just the right mix of sweetness and tart from the vinegar, and the chicken goes a gorgeous red colour from the powdered food colouring. I can't wait to try your other recipes using the Ubiquitous sauce, and can I implore you to add more?!! Thanks again for sharing your awesome recipes.

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  66. Thanks, Jodi! Yes, we're overdue for a new recipe using our curry base. It is hard, since we now live in a place with no Indian takeaway food to draw inspiration from.

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  67. Hi Mike

    Just made the base sauce....whole house is smelling like our local indian :-)

    Cant wait to try making the pathia tomorrow....all is smelling brill so far....I'll let you know how I get on.

    Cheers,

    Brian.

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  68. Hi Brian - good luck with your pathia. I hope you like it!

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  69. WOW!!! Just had chicken pathia and it was SUPERB.... next time I will add a sliced green pepper and it will be 100% exactly like my local indian...not sure if others on here have it with peppers or it is a west of Scotland thing? That aside....this recipe is FANTASTIC! Had the dish with 29p garlic nans out of Asda along with their pilau rice.....great indian food at a fraction of the takeaway prices!!

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  70. Hi Brian - glad it turned out well! I've never tried it with green pepper, but it sounds good.

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  71. before you add the coriander.blend for 20 seconds
    first class.Carl

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  72. Hi,
    I've found a food colouring at http://www.healthysupplies.co.uk/beetroot-powder-50g-hampshire.html
    It's Beetroot Powder; any thoughts before I order it?
    Cheers, Dan.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Dan - the goal is color, and not flavor, so any fairly neutral red coloring should work. The one you found mentions that it adds sweetness, which is fine for pathia, but you may want to reduce the sugar if it seems quite sweet.

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  73. Hi,
    Please could you provide a link for the correct powdered chili or the details of which one I should get.
    Many thanks, Dan.

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    1. Hi Dan - you are looking for a powdered hot red chili that is not blended with any other spices. Cayenne is a typical example, but there are lots of varieties. The key is that you want brightness and heat, rather than earthiness, and you want pure chili and not a spice blend.

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  74. Hello,
    I DID IT! I don't usually cook but decided to have a go at my favourite Indian takeaway dish. WOW! Am I lucky I came across your website.
    After paying through the noise for years, on a gamble whether or not I'd get a 'descent Pathia tonight', I don't plan on buying a takeaway Pathia again.
    I can't wait to show this off to my friends.
    Many thanks, Dan x

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  75. Hi,
    I located some Preema Food Colouring I could buy in small quantities. I hope it's useful.
    http://www.swedishconnections.co.uk/preema-concentrated-food-colouring/9/red-food-colouring/
    Cheers, Dan.

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    1. Great find - that is the exact brand we use!

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    2. I found Preema food colouring in my local east indian grocery store here in Edmonton. Only a $1.99.

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  76. Just made the Paratha.... DELICIOUS!!!

    I emigrated to Canada in May. I've found decent beer, decent bangers, decent bacon and even a football team to support but a good curry has eluded me. Looks like I've now ticked the last 'reminders of home' item off the list. Thanks very much, you have no idea how much I've missed a good Ruby. Looking foward to trying the Rogan Josh.

    One comment I would make, as something of a heavy weight (6' 4", 250 lbs) I found I needed a smallish portion of rice, a small Naan and just under half the recipe to fill me up. I have a bigger than average appetite so with a bit if extra rice I could split the recipe into 3 portions, but I would struggle to make it stretch to 4 meals as you've suggested. Just thought that might be of use to any 'growing lads' thinking of giving it a try.

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    1. Hi Matt - duly noted. The number of servings this will make definitely varies based on who is being served :-)

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  77. Started cooking this last Autumn as a batch-dinner. Chuck an extra kilo of diced potatoes in and it'll do me for a week. Maybe £1 a serving and gorgeous stuff to boot. Just wanted to say thanks for keeping me well-fed.

    (I did it for a cast dinner a while back too, where it went down a treat. Don't know if you remember Bedlam Theatre, but we appreciate your recipes :j)

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    1. Hi Andy, I definitely remember Bedlam Theatre - I used to walk by there all the time. Glad you like the curry!

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  78. dont they have indian takeaway in america? surely a gap in the market. saying that i bet you can get get a good mexican,uk mexican not good

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    1. It is just a regional culture difference. I've got half a dozen places in easy walking distance where I can get tacos, but definitely no takeaway curry.

      When we were in the UK, Mexican options were definitely grim. We only just started seeing tortillas in the grocery store right when we left.

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  79. I want to make this for a friend but she's vegetarian, can anyone suggest a vegetable alternative to meat that works well in a curry?

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    1. You can substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock. As for a vegetable to use, maybe potato or chick peas?

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    2. Chick peas sounds good, thanks! I was thinking maybe some sort of squash or pumpkin but they're out of season now aren't they?

      I see you've put a prawn version up now, I'll have to try that one too!

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  80. This is quite possibly one of the best things I have ever eaten!! I did eschew the red coloring as I couldn't find an all natural red dye locally, but still this recipe is top notch. Thanks again!!!

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  81. This. Was. Awesome.

    Many thanks for posting this. Easily as good as anything I've had in a takeaway or restaurant in the UK. The key, I think, is in the "base sauce". I look forward to trying other variations.

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  82. have you got the nutritional values for chicken pathia. Also we put mango chutney in aswell and a bit less sugar, tastes amazing thanks

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    1. Sorry, no nutritional information. There are various websites out there, though, that will let you put in a recipe and calculate it for you.

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  83. I live outside Edinburgh, i make this recipe for my wife and son all the time, they love it, I have a stash of ubiquitous curry base sauce in the freezer for future, do you plan to add more Indian recipes anytime soon.

    Dave

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    Replies
    1. Hi Dave - glad you like the Pathia! We hope to add more recipes in the future - we'll see...

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  84. Hi, I'm thinking of trying this but does this really serve four people with only two chicken breasts?!

    If I make a curry for just me and my girlfriend I use a minimum of three breasts. We're not fat by the way.

    Maybe I'm just using small breasts?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Andy - two breasts work well for us. We usually serve it with rice, flatbread and some kind of saag. But it definitely makes sense to adjust the amount of protein to fit your needs and the size of the breasts you are using.

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  85. Hi

    Great recipe. I'm making it for a second time but have added too much sugar by mistake. I've added a bit more vinegar to try and balance but it's still too sweet, any suggestions?

    Thanks

    Ash

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    Replies
    1. Maybe add some more chicken stock? Or some more onion?

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  86. been cooking pathias for twenty years and have always added two teaspoons mint sauce ten minutes before serving everyone should try this

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