The kind of kid friendly, comforting, simple salan you want to make at the end of a long day. This easy White Chicken Curry is the perfect example of how humble ingredients can be transformed by how they are prepared.
Do you know that feeling you get when you eat that first bite of the perfect Chicken Pulao? How about the tingle when you hear a baghaar being poured over daal? Some foods are simultaneously comforting and exciting at the same time. This salan is up there for me.
The simple warming spices in this White Chicken Salan make it feel flavorful and wholesome, the chicken fortifies, and the bright cilantro and fiery chilies make it interesting.
Table of contents
If you are a desi parent, especially one not residing in South Asia, then you know the mirch struggles. On the one hand you have children who may not love them chilies just yet, while on the other you have the adults that most certainly do.
This salan is PERFECT for multi-mirch families (yes I made that phrase up, yes I like it)
It has no chilies in it's base which means you can pull some salan out for your little ones and then add green chilies to it to your hearts content. Your kiddos can get a little bit of desi flavour and the adults are happy too. My girls have loved this simple Pakistani salan at all ages and I hope yours do too.
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Ingredients in White Chicken Salan
I love that this dish needs the simplest ingredients.
- Chicken (read below for boneless subs)
- Onions - yellow cooking onions
- Ginger and Garlic Paste
- Whole Spices: Black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom
- Powdered Spices: Salt, Coriander Powder, Pepper, and Garam Masala
- Cilantro and Green Chilies
How to make a White Chicken Salan
Heat oil, add the spices. Once they sizzle, then add the onions
Saute your onions on medium high heat until the edges start to change colour and then add your garlic and ginger paste and give it a quick saute
Now add your spices, give it a quick stir and then add the chicken and saute till it changes colour
Add ¾-1 cup of water and let the chicken simmer covered until tender. Once the chicken is tender add your room temperature yoghurt and simmer on medium low till the oil rises to the top.
Tip: Bring the temperature of your whipped yoghurt down by mixing a little of the salan into it before adding it to the pot.
Now time for the fun stuff - check your seasoning, add your garam masala and pepper and then all the chilies you can handle and some fresh vibrant cilantro! dig in!
Chicken Salan FAQs
I will admit that I have and while it's decidedly not the same without the richness of bone broth and dark meat, it still feels satisfying.
As fine a dice as you feel comfortable with. Minced onions will break down faster, yielding a smoother curry.
So much yes. BUT. I would dice and add two green chilies to the base or a heaped spoonful of green chili paste and not red chilies.
A fine dice and a good dose of patience will do it, but in a pinch an immersion blender works. Simply add ½ a cup or so of water to your masala (before adding the chicken) and use an immersion blender to puree. Saute it to dry out excess water and add your chicken.
I am all about simplifying life (see the immersion blender hack above), but jarred garlic and ginger pastes are preserved with vinegar and there is an enormous difference in their flavour and that of fresh. Follow my quick way of making ginger paste and garlic paste to make sure you're always cooking your yummiest food.
What do I serve with my White Chicken Salan?
I really think this is so lovely on it's own with chapati or steaming basmati, but here are some other ideas.
Hope you love this salan as much as we do! Please rate below and happy cooking!
White Chicken Salan or White Chicken Curry
- 1- 1.25 lb chicken (use 1 lb or less for boneless, 1.25 for bone in)
- 2 onions finely diced
- 6-8 whole peppercorns
- 2-3 cloves
- ½ inch piece cinnamon
- 3 green cardamoms
- 1.5 inch piece of ginger grated or 1 rounded tbsp ginger paste
- 5-6 cloves garlic crushed or ¾ tbsp garlic paste
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp garam masala powder
- 2 tbsp yoghurt whipped and at room temp
- any neutral oil for cooking
- a handful of washed chopped cilantro
- finely diced chillies as many as you can handle
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pot
- Add the whole spices and cook until you can smell them (less than a minute)
- In go the diced onions, saute till they soften and the edges start to change colour.
- Stir in your ginger and garlic and cook for a minute.
- Now add in your salt and coriander powder, saute for a minute and add your chicken pieces to the pot
- Cook the chicken on medium high heat stirring every 30 seconds or so until the chicken looks completely white on the outside, then turn the heat down a little and cook for five more minutes.
- Add a cup of water to the chicken, bring to a boil and then simmer for 25-30 minutes or until tender. Add more water if needed to prevent sticking. (see notes for boneless chicken).
- Now in goes the yoghurt. Tip: Yoghurt splits because it's a different temperature than the curry. Add two tbsp of the curry into the yoghurt, mix well, and then add the yoghurt into the salan.
- Adjust the seasoning (salt) and add your garam masala and pepper.
- Generously add in chopped chillies and cilantro and give it a good stir to allow the chillies to combine with the curry.
- Boneless breast is a quirky thing, it cooks just as quickly as it overcooks. I often find myself simmering boneless breast meat for my Pakistani dishes for a longer period of time to allow the chicken to go past the point of rubber back to tender.
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