Indian Spiced Chicken Stew

Indian Spiced Stew with Chicken and Potatoes in a Creamy Tomato Sauce

A delicious Indian Spiced Chicken Stew, with potatoes, tomatoes and a blend of Indian spices slow cooked for a complete and comforting meal.

If you’re a fan of dishes like Tikka Masala or Butter chicken, you will love this one! I spied this Indian Spiced Chicken Stew in the latest Bon Apetit and immediately slotted it in for an upcoming meal. We enjoyed it for dinner last night and it was a big hit. It’s flavourful, hearty, warming and spicy and a great “throw everything in a pot and let it cook all afternoon” kind of dish. The spicy tomato and cream sauce was delicious and plentiful, great for sopping up with the naan bread. I also loved the addition of potatoes to this dish (and I wasn’t sure I would). All in all … everyone agreed it’s a keeper!

This stew has a great combination of spices that work beautifully together. Don’t be intimidated by the long list. They are pretty common spices, so if you’re spice rack is fairly well-stocked, you’ll be good. The cayenne pepper provides some nice warming heat in this dish. You may want to use the lesser amount of cayenne or leave out altogether if you’re not a fan of heat or if you’re feeding small kids.

Cook’s Notes for Indian-spiced Chicken Stew

Serve this stew with a big dollop of plain yogurt, some naan bread and a generous sprinkling of fresh mint (most traditional), cilantro or parsley. Alternately, this would be lovely spooned over warm basmati rice.

I made this dish on the stove-top in my Dutch oven, but you could very easily do it in your slow-cooker. I used a couple of bone-in/skin on chicken breasts and thighs and took the chicken off the bone before adding the potatoes.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs would also work. You’d save the step of taking the chicken off the bone, but I do think the bone and skin probably add nice flavour to this one.

Indian Spiced Stew with Chicken and Potatoes in a Creamy Tomato Sauce

Indian Spiced Chicken Stew

Indian Spiced Stew with Chicken and Potatoes

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 369 kcal
Author: Jennifer
You can make this dish ahead and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Perfect for entertaining. Simply re-heat in your Dutch oven, thinning with a bit of chicken broth, if necessary. A wonderfully hearty and Indian-spiced stew with chicken and potatoes in a tomato cream sauce. A perfect cold-weather dish for a lazy weekend meal or make it ahead (up to 3 days ahead!) for entertaining.


  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 large skin-on/bone-in chicken breasts (or can use boneless)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 - 3/4 tsp cayennne pepper (depending on how spicy like it or you can omit)
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (plus a bit more thinning, if necessary)
  • 3/4 cup tomato purée
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (can use a lighter cream)
  • 1/2 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes,sliced 1/4" thick (or small fingerlings, sliced in half lengthwise)


  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place skin side down in to the pan. Cook until golden brown without turning, about 8–10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
  2. To the same pot, add onion, garlic, and ginger to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and golden brown, about 8–10 minutes. Add tomato paste, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, coriander, cayenne and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste is beginning to darken, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add chicken pieces, chicken broth, tomato purée, and cream to pot. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is almost falling off the bone and liquid is slightly thickened, about 1 1/2 hours. If using bone-in chicken, remove chicken to a plate and carefully remove chicken from the bone and discard skin and bones. Cut or pull chicken into bite-sized pieces. Return chicken pieces to the pot.
  4. Add potatoes to the pot and cook, partially covered, until potatoes are fork-tender and sauce is thickened, 30-45 minutes. *Check and stir every so often to ensure the sauce hasn't thickened to much and potatoes aren't sticking to the bottom of the pot. If sauce is too thick, thin with a bit more chicken stock.
  5. To serve, spoon stew into a shallow bowl and place a large dollop of yogurt on one side. Sprinkle with some fresh chopped mint, cilantro or parsley and serve with naan bread on the side. Alternately, spoon stew over some warm basmati rice.
Adapted from Bon Apetit February 2014


  • Ah I bookmarked this one in the magazine, too! So glad to hear it got rave reviews in your house! Love all the flavors from such simple ingredients. Your naan looks amazing, too!

    • Thanks Sophie. Yes, highly recommend. My version has a lot less broth than the magazine version. Adjusted downward based on comments on the recipe on the BA website. Worked out perfectly. Also, I didn’t use the cardamom. I’m not a fan.

  • Wow, this looks so delicious! I absolutely love Indian food and was looking for more recipes to make in my new Dutch oven and this seems perfect. I’m just wondering – when the cream cooks for that long (nearly 2 hours total), it doesn’t get all.. “grainy”? I often (in Indian recipes), add the cream towards the very end. Will it stay smooth and not turn icky cooking for so long?

    • Hi Julia. I wondered the same thing as I poured it in knowing it was going to bubble away for several hours. Surprisingly, not icky and not grainy at the end of the cooking. Not sure why, but it was all good in the end.

    • It was very good. Had the leftovers tonight and just as nice 2nd day. Don’t know if you saw my comment to Sophie, but if you make from the magazine, I suggest a lot less broth than as printed. I used only 3 cups and it was perfect.

    • Hi Rosemarie, I think carrots would be nice in this. I’d just add when the potatoes are added. If you wanted more, maybe stir a bit of spinach in right at the end.

    • Sorry Wendy. Fixed that. I thought I used half butter/half oil, so I wrote that in the instructions. Should be just veg oil, though, as that’s what I used. I’ve fixed the instructions.

  • I’ve been meaning to make this too – glad you beat me to it! Perfect comfort food for the last of the frigid winter days – we are headed for record breaking cold this weekend. Eeep!

      • Hi Sherri, I suppose this dish could be made in a slow cooker. I would probably still brown the chicken and spices separately, then add it all into the slow cooker for the simmer part. Not sure what you mean by “all the dishes”. I’m not sure all dishes are suited for a slow cooker. It’s just a different method of cooking, that really only suits dishes that are meant for a covered, low and slow cook and of course, not all are.

  • I tried this tonight and the comment I got from my partner was that this was one of my top 10 dinners ever :-)
    I admit I’m a bit careless and sometimes I forget to buy some ingredients when I plan meals :-)
    I realised when I started that I had forgotten to buy potatoes but had sweet potatoes so I used them instead. I also didn’t have tomato paste so I used Umame Paste instead. And this was absolutely delicious. I’m already planning to use this recipe next time I invite people over for dinner!
    Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe…

    • So glad you and your husband enjoyed it, Ida. I would think the sweet potatoes would be very good with this dish!

  • Not listed in the ingredients, but listed in the directions is TOMATO PURÉE. I didn’t have any so I used Crushed Tomatoes. The dish was still good, though I used too much Crushed Tomatoes, Jennifer, could you please clarify?

    • Hi Laura. Just checked the recipe. Sorry. It was there, just a formatting error, so it was tacked on to the end of the chicken broth line. I’ve fixed it to display on it’s own line now, as it should. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Thank you for sharing this recipe. The flavors were so rich and wonderful. I added fresh green beans from my garden to get a bit of veg in the mix. My friends loved this. Thank you again!

    • Thanks for coming back and letting me know, Danielle. We really enjoy it, too. Love the addition of green beans, especially garden fresh ones!

  • This looks amazing – going to try it tonight! Just a quick question- do you have any tips for how to convert the recipe for a slow cooker? Thanks!

    • Hi Tristan, I’ve never tried it, but I would brown the chicken and veg separately and then put it all in to the slow cooker and allow to simmer away in there. Hope that helps!

        • Hi Bozena. I have never actually cooked this recipe in the slow cooker, but if I had to guess, I would suggest whatever setting maintains a steady simmer and then cook it for 2-3 hours. I’m afraid I’m not really slow-cooker savvy. To my way of thinking, it’s just as easy to simmer it on the stovetop :)

  • I originally made this dish back in March and had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed it. I was looking for something to prepare with drumsticks and thighs yesterday and this was a perfect choice for a chilly day and to welcome the new year.

    Such a delicious, fragrant dish and so easy to put together – this will definitely make another appearance or two over the winter months.

    Happy New Year, Jennifer.

    • Happy New Year to you as well, FoodElf! I love this dish for the exact reasons you do. Perfect comfort food for these winter months.

  • My husband loved this recipe. Said it was better than our local Indian restaurant. There was a lot of sauce so I added extra chicken. I had food in the panty that I thought would go nicely with the stew so I added that as well.

    I used 4 frozen skinless chicken breasts. (Was planning to use 2 potatoes but one was bad so only used one. It was right amount of potato.). I added slivered carrots at same time as potatoes. Added drained can of chickpeas and green peas at end along with some leftover cubed tofu. The sauce was spicy enough so I didn’t need to add extra spices even though I added a lot of extra ingredients. Thanks so much for posting.

  • Delicious! The spice combination was perfect. Using skin-on, bone-in chicken is a must for providing that special depth of flavor. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Claire. I think skin-on/bone-in is definitely the way to go with this one, too. A bit more work, but worth it.

  • This was dinner tonight, and will be again very soon. I had plenty of sauce left over, so will make a veggie version for lunch. We like cardamom, so added just a pinch. Perfect antidote to a single-digit winter night! Thanks for sharing.

  • This recipe is amazing. I look for Indian recipes that remind me of home, and none has ever quite hit the mark until this one. I have shared it with anyone who will care to listen and they have in turn made it and found it to be a smashing success. I don’t know what the magical twist is, because I’ve made a half dozen other curry recipes with the same basic list of ingredients, but somehow, this just sings. It is phenomenal.

    Thank you!

  • Made this last night, and oh my gosh it was SOOO good! It made the entire house smell absolutely mouth-watering while it was simmering and when it was done I practically inhaled my portion. I recently moved to a new area and there is a staggering lack of good Indian food around here, so this really hit the spot for me in a big way. Thank you SOOO much for sharing, it was absolutely delicious and I will definitely be making it again.

    • So glad you enjoyed it, Alice. I am in love with this combination of spices, too and yes, the aroma when it’s cooking :)

  • This was awesome! I didn’t follow directions, I just tossed it all into the crockpot for the day. This is by far the best Indian recipe I’ve tried to make. So yummy! Thank you!

  • Hi Jennifer, the best Indian food I ever cooked & ate! It was soooo delicious, that I add it to my favourite recipe book now :)
    Thank you for sharing!
    Kind regards from Hamburg, Germany

  • This was amazing, thank you very much :)
    Just like another commenter, I wondered about the cream. I ended up adding it when I added the potatoes and it was fine, so I’ll just throw it in right at the start in future. I also added some carrots, because I was lazy and didn’t want to cook any other vegetables.
    I have a question about Garam Masala. I’ve seen that in certain recipes they advise to add that one at the end and not in the beginning… do you have any knowledge on this issue?
    I’ve added it at the beginning like you said and it was amazing. Just wondering.

    • So glad you enjoyed it, Olivia! As for the Garam Masala, I’ve never heard that. My experience with Indian food is that the spices are often heated (toasted) in the beginning, but that said, maybe Garam Masala is an exception?

      • Sadly my knowledge of Indian cuisine is merely based on recipes I found online. And I’ve just noticed that some ask for the Garam Masala at the end. And some don’t. I was hoping you might have stumbled upon this as well. Thank you again for the recipe :)

  • I cannot tell you how often I have revisited this recipe since I discovered it. I LOVE THIS DISH. I make it with the chicken, but more recently I made a veggie version using eggplant and chickpeas. Just as good.. that sauce makes it.

    • Hi Kelly and yes, that sauce!! Love the idea of a veg version. My daughter is a recent vegetarian so I must try while she is home over Christmas. Happy holidays :)

    • Hi Diana, I’m not sure this recipe is ideally suited for a crockpot, but if you wanted to use it, I would brown chicken separately first, then do the simmer portion in the crockpot. As indicated in the recipe though, it simmers partially covered, not covered, so the results will be different if you cook it in a covered crockpot.

  • One of the best successes I’ve had while cooking — and my first time using a dutch oven. So great, I can’t wait to eat the leftovers. Thank you!

  • Unlike most reviewers I don’t care for Indian food. I made this for guests — and it was fabulous! Everyone loved it – including me! I cut the cayenne pepper in half (glad I did – it was plenty spicy) and I added the cream at the end. Also- I used the dark meat of the chicken. I am convinced it has more flavor and no one seemed to notice! This is a wonderful dish and I will prepare it often!

  • Just found your website and love the recipes. I’m very excited to explore them!
    Question about garam masala – isn’t it just a combination of the other spices you already have in the recipe? Or is there more to it than that?

    • Hi Kathryn and thanks very much :) And yes, there is a bit of overlap between garam masala and a few of the other ingredients, but garam masala has a few extra ones, that adds to the flavour profile in a nice way.

    • Hi Jane and thanks very much :) And yes, I do all my own photography. It’s always a challenge, but I like a challenge!

  • This looks amazing! I was browsing Pinterest looking for dinner ideas and this had to be it! I couldn’t commit to standing by the oven for hours so I’m using a slow cooker. Prepped according to instructions, dumped it into the slow cooker (minus the cream) I love the idea of adding spinach and will add the cream and spinach at the end. We eat a lot of Indian inspired dishes mostly because many are vegitarian. Hubby will enjoy his non-veg meal tonight :)

  • Jennifer … fabulous mixture of spices. I am making it in the crockpot with frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs and adding coconut milk and greens at the end. Delicious!! Thanks for sharing!

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