“Travelers in the late 19th century would stop by rest houses in India - known as "dak bungalows" - and would often get fresh chicken curry as their meal. This dish was known as "sudden death" - referring to the demise of the fowl. This is from the cookbook "Cuisines of India" by Smita Chandra, one I checked out from the library. According to the book, the classic recipe uses yogurt in the sauce, but you can substitute sour cream for half the yogurt (which is what this recipe does), making the sauce richer and creamier. This dish can also be made several days in advance.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Mince the onions, garlic, ginger, and chili in a food processor.
  2. Warm the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds. After a few seconds, when they begin to sputter, add the minced onion mixture.
  3. Saute, stirring occasionally for 5 to 10 minutes, until the onions are browned.
  4. Process the tomatoes in the food processor until smooth.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium under the skillet and add the tomatoes. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until all the liquid has evaporated and the oil appears around the edges.
  6. Add the sour cream and the yogurt and stir continuously for about 5 minutes, until the oil appears again.
  7. Add all the spices and salt and cook for one minute.
  8. Now add the chicken thighs, coating well with sauce. Cover and bring to a boil.
  9. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.
  10. Uncover and mix in the lemon juice and fresh coriander leaves.
  11. Transfer to a serving dish and serve alongside plain rice.

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