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Vij's Chicken Curry Recipe & Cookalong Review

It was with great pleasure that I participated in last week's first ever Live Online Cookalong with Vikram Vij. I had a blast cooking along with Vikram and found the opportunity to tweet questions to directly to him as I cooked during the broadcast was invaluable.

Lucky for everyone who missed it (as the broadcast aired at 3pm on the west coast) there is now a video available of the live stream. It's a great how-to video for cooking a perfect Indian chicken curry with cumin rice that can be watched and re-watched as you cook along while learning Vikram's tips and techniques. There is a currently a rough cut video available to watch (below), and a professional cut of the video will be uploaded to Vij's website soon.

I found the opportunity to cook one of Vikram's favourite family meals right 'alongside' this amazing chef so much fun, and the results spoke for themselves. My husband and son deemed Vij's Chicken Curry one of the best they have ever eaten, and we are a family who loves eating Indian cuisine both at home and when we travel.

I did have a few small frustrating moments with how the Live Cookalong was organized. The first was the lack of information about what kinds of pans and utensils required. A specific list of what kinds of pots, pans and kitchen implements we should have ready at cook time would save the headache of last minute cupboard switch-outs of dutch ovens, saucepans and rice pots once the live broadcast begins.

I also would have preferred to be provided with an actual shopping list for the cookalong rather than  having to decipher amounts from the ingredients list in the recipe. I am comfortable cooking curries and vindaloos and it wasn't difficult, but first timers to Indian cuisine might feel a little more confident at the grocery store armed with a specific shopping list straight from the chef himself.

The other issue I had was the lack of suggestions about any ingredients could be pre-prepped prior to the broadcast. During the live stream Vikram and his lovely assistant Rebecca were chopping multiple onions, garlic, ginger, cilantro and tomatoes working together and I was hard-pressed to keep up with the pace of four hands against my two (I'm also not a fan of having to rush my knife work). A list of ingredients that could have been pre-chopped, sliced or minced in the minutes before the live cookalong broadcast could help the home cook keep up with the chef's pace.

I really appreciated all of Vikram's live tips along the way, my favourite being that when you cut yourself in the kitchen, turmeric can stop the bleeding and act as an antiseptic. I know I'm going to be using that tip in the future!

There was also a great live moment when the chef was showed a tweeted picture of someone's in-progress curry and immediately said "Needs more turmeric!", as he could instantly tell just by seeing the colour in the picture.

He also encouraged everyone to add spices to their curries by feel, not measurement and offered a great tip about buying fresh tomatoes for curries - you should be seeking out the almost over-ripe and most  juicy you can find, which will bring the best flavour to the curry.

Vikram made a modified version of the Cumin Rice recipe live, slightly different than the recipe posted for the Cookalong, forgoing the onion and toasting of the spices. I really liked the sound of the original recipe (below) so I made that one and absolutely loved the results. The rice came out fragrant and fluffy, with pops of toasted cumin and caramelized onion flavour throughout and it was very easy to make.

Our family enjoyed both of these recipes so much that I've already made the entire dinner again, and it turned out even better when I had extra time to enjoy the cooking experience. I've tried it with whole chicken breasts on the bone, which gave it great flavour, and a second time yesterday with bite-sized chunks of chicken breast. Both came out perfectly, juicy and flavourful.


So bring your laptop into the kitchen and follow along with Vij to make this amazing chicken curry in your own home. You can also search the hashtag #vijcooklive on Twitter to see people's comments and questions from the live broadcast.

I'd love to hear your comments about how it works out if (nay, when!) you try this great curry from award-winning chef and proud Vancouver native Vikram Vij in your very own kitchen.


Vij Family’s Chicken Curry

(From Elegant & Inspired Indian Cuisine by Vikram Vij & Meeru Dhalwala)


½ cup canola oil
2 cups finely chopped onions (2 large)
3 inch stick of cinnamon
3 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 Tbsp chopped ginger
2 cups chopped tomatoes (2 large)
1 Tbsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp garam masala
½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
3 lbs chicken thighs, bone in
1 cup sour cream, stirred
2 cups water
½ cup chopped cilantro (including stems)

Serves 6


In a large pan, heat oil on medium heat for 1 minute. Add onions and cinnamon, and sauté for another 4 minutes. Add ginger, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala and cayenne. Cook this masala for 5 minutes, or until the oil separates from the masala.

Remove and discard skin from the chicken thighs. Wash thighs and add to the masala. Stir well. Cook chicken thighs for 10 minutes, until the chicken looks cooked on the outside. Add sour cream and water and stir well. Increase the heat to medium-high. When curry starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times, until chicken is completely cooked. Poke the thighs with a knife. If the meat is still pink, cook for 5 more minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Cool curry for at least half an hour.

Transfer cooled chicken to a mixing bowl. Wearing latex gloves, peel chicken meat off the bones. Discard bones and stir chicken back into the curry. Just before serving, heat curry on medium heat until it starts to boil lightly. Stir in cilantro.

To serve: Divide curry evenly among six bowls. Serve with naan or rice.


Cumin Basmati Rice

(From Elegant & Inspired Indian Cuisine by Vikram Vij & Meeru Dhalwala)

2 cups basmati rice
3 cups cold water for soaking
¼ cup canola oil
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 cup finely chopped onions (1 medium-large)
3 ¾ cups water for cooking

Serves 6

Wash basmati rice twice in cold water. Soak rice in the 3 cups of cold water for 15 minutes, or while you are sautéing the cumin seeds and onions.

Heat oil in a medium pot for 1 minute on medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds, stir and allow to sizzle for about 30 seconds. Add onions and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until just the edges are brown (for a sweeter onion flavour), or for 3 to 4 minutes more, until brown (for a stronger flavour). Turn off the heat.

Drain the rice as much as possible. Add rice and the 3 ¾ cups of water to onions, and stir well to combine. Turn on the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling vigorously, lower the heat to just a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 18 to 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the rice to sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Take off the lid, fluff the rice with a fork and serve.


Shopping List for Vij's Live Online Cookalong:(this is my shopping list, gleaned from the two recipes)

Canola Oil

3 large onions

2 inches of fresh ginger root

1 bulb of garlic

4 medium or 3 large tomatoes

3 lbs of chicken thighs, bone in (can substitute with 2 large bone-in chicken breasts, or 3 medium to large skinless boneless chicken breasts)

1 container of full fat sour cream

1 bunch of fresh cilantro

1 small bag of white Basmati rice

 From the Spice Aisle:

Whole cinnamon sticks


Ground Coriander

Garam Masala

Ground Cayenne Pepper

Ground Cumin

Whole Cumin seeds

Ground Black Pepper & Salt




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