This Chicken Salli is a beautiful and different curry. It is cooked with dried apricots and spices, then garnished with deep-fried potato straws, called Salli.
It is a Parsi chicken curry that is often served on special occasions. But it is so easy to make at home that you can serve it as a midweek meal.
The dried apricots give this curry a wonderful natural sweetness, while the marinade on the chicken adds a tartness. A truly delicious curry can be on the table in under an hour.
What is Chicken Salli?
Chicken Salli is also known as Murgh Salli or Jardaloo Salli Marghi.
Salli is the potato stick.
Marghi means chicken.
Jordaloo means apricot.
Chicken Salli is a delicious Parsi curry with some sweetness from the apricots and some bite from the vinegar used to marinate the chicken.
It is a delicious, well-balanced curry, perfect served with rice, roti, and kachumber.
- Chicken: Use chicken thighs to ensure you get juicy, tender meat.
- Ground Spices: Turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, sweet paprika, ground fennel, garam masala, and nutmeg. These can all be easily found in grocery stores.
- Whole spices: The cinnamon stick and cardamom pods are left whole, but you can use ground spices instead. See the recipe notes for how to substitute ground spices.
- Vinegar: You can use apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar.
- Ghee: You can find this in larger grocery stores, but you can easily substitute it with a neutral-flavored oil like canola.
- Onions: Standard brown onions are great here.
- Green chili: To add flavor without too much heat, stab it a few times with a knife and then leave it whole. If you want more spice, you can chop it up or leave it out altogether.
- Dried Apricots: These can be left out but add an exquisite taste to the curry.
- Brown Sugar: This gives the curry a hint of caramel. You can substitute it with white sugar.
How to make Chicken Salli
First, the chicken is marinated in a mixture of spices, salt, and vinegar. This is set aside while the curry base is made. You can leave the marinade on for several hours.
While the chicken is in the marinade, the curry base comes together.
Whole spices, onion, garlic, and ginger are cooked in ghee or oil. Then a can of pureed tomatoes is added along with some apricots, sugar, and chili. We leave it whole but stab it with a knife, so it releases some of its flavor and heat but doesn't make the curry too spicy. Feel free to chop it up and add it if you want a spicier curry.
Once this has been simmered, the chicken and marinade are added, and everything is cooked together for 20-25 minutes.
The final curry is topped with deep-fried potato sticks and garnished with fresh cilantro.
Marinating the chicken
The spices you need for the chicken can all be found in the grocery store.
- ground cumin
- ground coriander
- ground fennel
These get mixed with some vinegar and used to marinate the chicken.
Making Salli (Potato Straws)
You can buy fried matchstick potatoes in the grocery store or make your own.
The grocery store ones are super crispy. So if you want a real crisp crunch, grab a bag of those.
For homemade ones, first, you want to peel the potatoes and cut them into thin matchsticks.
Next, soak the potatoes in salted water while you make the curry. Then drain well and pat dry.
Fry them in neutral oil until crispy. Drain on kitchen paper and top the curry just before serving.
What to serve with Chicken Salli
Although this chicken curry has crispy potato straws on top, I think you still need some extra sides.
We like to serve it with rice, either simple basmati rice or an Indian Pilau.
And then a side of naan or roti is perfect as well. The curry's sweetness balances perfectly with a spicy bread like this Bullet naan. But sweet Peshwari naan is fantastic with it, as is a simple Garlic naan.
If you make this Chicken Salli, don't forget to come back and comment. You can also tag me on social media.
Any questions about the recipe? Use the comments section below.
For the chicken
- 1 lb chicken thighs - boneless skinless
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground fennel
- 2 teaspoon vinegar - see note 1
For the curry
- 1 tablespoon ghee/canola oil
- 1 cinnamon stick - see note 2
- 4 green cardamom pods - see note 3
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 onions - chopped into large chunks
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 cup pureed tomatoes
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- 1 green chili - see note 4
- ½ cup dried apricots
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar - see note 5
- 1 ½ teaspoon garam masala
- pinch nutmeg
For the potato straws
- 1 large potato
- ½ cup oil
- red onion
- Chop the chicken thighs into bite-sized chunks.
1 pound/450g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Mix the turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, sweet paprika, salt, ground fennel, and vinegar in a large non-metallic bowl.
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground fennel
2 teaspoons vinegar
- Add the chopped chicken to the marinade and set aside while you make the curry base or for up to 4 hours.
- Peel the potato and then slice them into thin matchsticks.
1 large potato
- Soak the sliced potatoes in salted water while everything else cooks.
For the curry base
- Add the ghee/oil to a heavy pan.
2 tablespoons ghee/canola oil
- Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, and bay leaves. Cook for 2 minutes.
1 cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
- Add the onion and cook for 10 minutes over medium-high heat until soft and colored on the edges.
2 peeled and chopped onions
- Add in the minced garlic and ginger. Stir for a minute, then pour in the tomatoes, broth, and green chili. (see note 4)
3 minced cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 cup pureed tomatoes
¼ cup chicken broth
1 green chili
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 6-8 minutes.
- Add the dried apricots, brown sugar, garam masala, and nutmeg. Stir to combine.
½ cup dried apricots
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1½ teaspoons Garam Masala
pinch of nutmeg
- Add the marinated chicken and scrape in any marinade or juice from the bowl.
- Cook over medium-low heat for 20-15 minutes until thick.
- Taste the curry and add salt if needed.
To prepare the Salli (potato straws)
- Drain the potatoes and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
- Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil.
½ cup oil
- Fry the potatoes until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil and drain them on kitchen paper.
- Season with a bit of salt. (as you would fries)
- Serve the curry topped with potato straws, thinly sliced red onion, and plenty of fresh cilantro.
- You can use apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar.
- If you want to substitute the cinnamon stick with ground cinnamon, use ½ a teaspoon and add it when you add the sugar to the curry.
- If you want to substitute the cardamon pods with ground cardamon, use ½ a teaspoon and add it when you add the sugar to the curry.
- To add flavor without too much heat, stab the chili a few times with a knife and then leave it whole. If you want more spice, you can chop it up or leave it out altogether. (You can substitute with red chili)
- You can substitute brown sugar with white sugar.