Chicken Tarkari

Hopefully you are still staying healthy during this month. Those New Year’s resolutions are starting to fall to the wayside by now. I hope that all of you have learned to ditch those. If you want to know how I feel about New Year’s resolutions, I have talked about in more detail previously. In a nutshell, don’t bother with them and make smarter goals instead. I think it helps when you are working on eating healthier that the dishes have tons of flavor. That way it doesn’t feel like you are trying to eat healthier. If you want to go big bold flavor with a healthy spin, southeast Asian dishes are a good bet. The key is to make them at home. I am starting with a recipe for Chicken Tarkari from Nepal. I am the recipe from and making a few adjustments. Make no mistake, this has loads of flavor and, since you made it at home, will beat any takeout place hands down.

Here are the original stats:

Here’s what I changed:

  • I cut the amount of chicken in half to lower the calories.
  • I cut the oil in half to lower the calories.
  • I deleted the added salt to reduce the sodium.
  • I deleted the tomato and replaced with red bell pepper to increase the vitamin C.
  • I increased the servings from 3 to 6 to lower the calories.
  • I added in some rice to round out the dish.
  • I added in some spinach to increase the vitamin A.

Here are the final stats:

Here is the final recipe:

Chicken Tarkari

Serves 6

  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1-in . cubes
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 3 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 green cardamoms, bruised
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth or 1 cup water
  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon gingerroot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (to garnish)
  1. In a saucepan add water and rice.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, season chicken pieces pepper.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and brown chicken.
  4. Reserve brown chicken in a plate.
  5. Drain excess oil.
  6. In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil.
  7. To the hot oil, add whole red chilies and bay leaf; fry for 30 sec.
  8. Add turmeric and chopped onion and red bell pepper, and fry until brown.
  9. Put garlic and ginger into the onion mixture; fry for 30 sec.
  10. To this mixture, add cumin powder, curry powder, chili powder, bruised cardamom, salt and pepper; mix well for a minute or so.
  11. Transfer browned chicken pieces and pumpkin puree into the spice mixture; stir well.
  12. Add broth to the chicken mixture; set heat to low and let simmer until chicken pieces are tender, and the sauce has thickened up to a desired consistency, about 35-45 minute.
  13. When cooked, turn off the heat and add spinach and chopped cilantro to garnish.
  14. Serve hot with rice.


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