This homemade hot and Spicy Naga Chicken Curry is cooked from scratch and extremely delicious! One of the most popular Indian takeaway chicken curries in the UK and it has a unique heat and flavour. Serve with plain basmati rice or a choice of flatbread. Delicious curry dinner ready in 30 minutes!
We love to cook both homestyle and restaurant-style chicken curries at home. Hyderabadi Chicken, Chicken Handi and Murgh Masala ( Chicken Masala ) are our readers' favourite simple chicken curry recipes you might like to try out.
Why do we love this spicy curry
This curry is one of the raid-your-spice-cupboard recipes that you can cook with simple cupboard-friendly spices and one unique chilli pickle. You can prepare everything from scratch and do not need to add any pre-cooked curry base or curry paste. If you love spicy curries, this naga curry recipe is a must-try! When you make it at home, you can control the chilli intake according to your liking.
This hot chicken curry is definitely the spiciest curry that we've shared on our blog. If you love spicy dishes, I am sure that you will love this recipe!
What is Naga Curry?
Naga curry is a chicken, beef, lamb, fish, prawns, or choice of protein, cooked in aromatic spicy curry sauce. The curry sauce is made with onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, and one secret ingredient, Naga chilli pickle. This dish is also known as naga chicken tikka curry, as some UK Indian restaurants and takeaways cook the naga curry sauce with grilled tandoori chicken tikka.
I love to add mango or green chilli pickles to my chicken curries. One of our Bangladeshi friend introduced us to this Mr. Naga chilli pickle, as we both love spicy pickles. It is great to add in the curries or serve together with rice and other side dishes.
Ingredients you need
You will need chicken, onions, garlic, ginger, a handful of classic Indian dried spices, and one key ingredient. Naga chilli is the secret ingredient that makes this dish super hot and unique.
Chicken - You can add chicken thigh, breast, bone-in chicken pieces, pre-cooked chicken, chicken tikka, or leftover grilled chicken. Cooking time can vary and you might want to reduce the cooking time if you use pre-cooked meat.
Naga chilli pickle - Naga chilli paste is made from fresh hot naga chillies, vinegar, salt, oil, and spices. Extremely hot and spicy in flavour. Even though it is super hot and spicy, it has a unique taste and very addictive.
Where to buy it? - I used Mr. Naga chilli pickle, which is widely available in UK Indian grocery stores. Instead of Mr. Naga, you can use your choice of hot red chilli pickle like Carolina reaper chilli pickle.
Kashmiri chilli powder - has a unique smokey chilli flavour and vibrant colour. You can also add regular chilli powder or paprika powder to your preference.
Kasuri methi - is also known as dried fenugreek leaves, rub the methi leaves in your palm just right before using it. You can buy at Indian grocery stores or supermarket Asian aisles.
Onion and tomatoes - We usually add shallot onions or brown onions, which are great for cooking curry sauce.
Garlic paste and ginger paste - Add freshly grated garlic paste and ginger paste for the best flavour curry sauce.
Garam Masala - I used garam masala in this recipe, you can add your choice of meat masala or hot Madras curry powder.
How to make it
- Heat the pan to medium heat and add 3 tbsp of oil. Add cumin seeds, and cardamom and let it sizzle for a few seconds until fragrant.
- Then add the chopped onions and sautee for 1-2 minutes until soft and translucent. Then add the ginger garlic paste and stir it well until the onions are slightly brown.
- Then add the spices, chilli powder, turmeric, and garam masala. Follow with the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are soft and the oil starts to separate. Stir in tomato puree.
- Now add the chicken pieces and combine them well with the curry paste. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the warm water in, and add salt, Kasuri methi, and naga chilli paste. Close the lid and continue to cook with low-medium heat for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Finish with green chillies and chopped coriander. Transfer to a serving plate and serve with plain rice, naan, or chapati.
Variations and substitutes
- Coconut milk or cream - You can add half cup of coconut milk or double cream in the curry sauce if you love the rich creamy curry sauce. Adding cream can also balance the chilli heat.
- Sugar - We've never add sugar in our Indian style curries except in Thai curries. Adding a teaspoon of sugar brings a bit of sweetness and balance out the heat.
- Can I use fresh naga chillies? Do not recommend fresh naga chillis for this recipe. The flavour of the chilli pickle and fresh chillies might be different. If you cannot get Mr. Naga's chilli pickle you can add your choice of hot chilli pickle.
- Mr. Naga substitute - Instead of Mr. naga chilli, you can use Pran naga pickle, Carolina reaper pickle, or a choice of Indian/Bangladeshi hot chilli pickle.
- If you are new to hot curries, you might want to reduce the chilli amount used in this recipe. Start adding a teaspoon of chilli first then build up more to your taste. Do not add a big scoop at once.
- How to store it, once opened? Since the Indian chilli pickle is a fermented food, you need to close the lid tight and store it in the fridge or in a cool and dry place. Always scoop with a clean, dry spoon, and make sure to keep it in a cool place to keep it fresh and stop the fermentation process. It usually lasts in the fridge for up to 6 months or longer.
- Do not mistaken the chilli pickle with chilli jam. Chilli pickle has a unique aroma from Indian dried spices, fresh herbs, chilli, and peppers.
Frequently asked questions
Naga curry is one of the world's hottest curry that is made of 1,382,118 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) hot naga viper chilli pepper. However, you can customize the chilli heat by adding more or less chilli paste, when you cook it at home.
I would say yes, Naga curry contains one of the hottest chilli and is hotter than typical vindaloo curry.
Fresh naga chilli is also also known as naga morich or naga viper pepper and is one of the world's hottest chilli peppers, like Carolina reaper, Trinidad Scorpion Moruga, Ghost Pepper, etc. Widely available in India, Bangladesh, and Southeast Asian countries.
It is a chicken curry cooked with thick spicy masala gravy and hot naga chilli pickle.
I usually love to serve with plain basmati rice, pilau rice, plain naan, chapati, and Indian onion and tomato salad. You can also pair it with Indian vegetable side dishes, Vegetable Bhuna, or Brinjal Bhaji ( Aubergine Bhaji ).
Cooking for a crowd
If you want to cook a big batch or freeze it for later use, you can simply double or triple the ingredients. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge or freezer once cooled down. Defrost in the fridge overnight, reheat in the microwave or stovetop until piping hot just before serving.
More Delicious Curry Recipes
We love both homemade and restaurant-style curries and if you enjoy this spicy Naga Curry you will also love our following readers' favourite curry recipes.
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Spicy Naga Chicken Curry
- Large pot or pan
- 450 gram Chicken thigh About 15.8oz, Boneless chicken thigh or breast, cut into medium bite-size pieces
- 1 tbsp Garlic paste
- 1 1bsp Ginger paste
- 2-3 Onion Shallot onion or brown onions
- 1-2 Tomato Finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Tomato puree Or tomato concentrate
- 1 tbsp Naga chilli pickle Add more or less to your taste
- 1½ tsp Salt or salt to taste
- 1 tbsp Kasuri methi Dried fenugreek leaves
- 1½ cup Water About 350ml, add more water if needed
- 3 tbsp Vegetable oil Or ghee
- 2-3 Green chilli Cut thin slices
- handful Coriander Roughly chopped
- 1 tsp Chilli powder Kashmiri chilli powder or regular chilli powder hot or mild
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- 2 tsp Garam masala
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds Zeera seeds/Jeera seeds
- 5-6 pod Cardamom Green cardamom pods
- Heat the oil to medium heat, add cumin and cardamom pods. Let the spices sizzle for a few seconds, then add the chopped onions and saute for 1-2 minutes, until soft.
- Add garlic paste and ginger paste and continue stir until the onions are light brown. Then follow with the chilli powder, turmeric, and garam masala and stir for a few seconds.
- Next, add the chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are reduced and oil starts to separate. Then stir in tomato puree. Add the chicken pieces, combine well with the curry paste, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Now add the warm water and follow with Naga chilli pickle, Kasuri methi, and salt to taste.
- Close the lid and cook with low-medium for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Stir occasionally and add more water if needed.
- Finish with green chillies and chopped coriander. Serve with plain rice or choice of flatbread. Enjoy!
- Chicken - You can add chicken thigh, breast, bone-in chicken pieces, pre-cooked chicken, chicken tikka, or leftover grilled chicken. Cooking time can vary and you might want to reduce the cooking time if you use pre-cooked meat.
- Naga chilli pickle - I used Mr. Naga chilli pickle which is widely available in UK Indian grocery stores. Instead of Mr. Naga, you can use your choice of hot red chilli pickle like Carolina reaper chilli pickle.
- Can I use fresh Naga chilli instead of chilli pickle? - Do not recommend adding fresh chilli as a chilli pickle substitute, as the flavors are different.
- Adjust the chilli heat - If you haven't tried Naga chilli paste, start by adding 1 teaspoon and then build up to your desired heat. I usually add 1 tablespoon for 400-500 gram chicken.
- Masala - I used garam masala in this recipe, you can add your choice of meat masala or curry powder.
- Kashmiri chilli powder - has a distinct smokey chilli flavour and vibrant colour. You can also add regular chilli powder or paprika powder to your preference.
- Kasuri methi - is also known as dried fenugreek leaves, rub the methi leaves in your palm just right before using it. You can buy at Indian grocery stores or supermarket Asian aisles.
- Can I freeze it or reheat it? This curry is great for meal-prep and fridge and freezer friendly. Once it is completely cooled down, keep it in the air-tight container and store it in the fridge or freezer for later use. Reheat in the microwave or over a stovetop until piping hot just before serving. Add some water if the curry sauce is too thick.
I made this dish for my husband, it was a winner! Definitely trying out again with more Naga pickle! Thanks so much!
Wonderful! So glad that you enjoyed it, Tammy! Thanks for sharing feedback.