Lemon Chicken Curry Recipe

Lemon Chicken Curry Recipe
Whenever I hear the words “Lemon Chicken”, I automatically think of the character - Debra Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond. If you are familiar with the show or a big fan like myself, then you know. For those of you that have never seen or heard about the show, in a nutshell – Debra is severely culinarily challenged to say the least & lemon chicken is actually the one decent dish that she makes all too often on the show.

Anyway, I have done an Indian curry version of “Debra’s Lemon Chicken” but I can at least guarantee that mine will taste much better!

Personally, I love that tart lemony flavor but feel free to reduce the amount of lemon juice in this recipe for a more subtle lemon flavor.



2 lbs boneless skinless chicken, cut into 1½” pieces
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
2-3 small green Thai chilies, split in half lengthwise, to taste
6-8 fresh curry leaves (or Thai kaffir lime leaves)
1 tbsp tomato paste
½ tsp turmeric (haldi)
1 tsp ground cumin powder
1 tsp ground coriander powder
¼ tsp red chili powder, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
juice of 1 lemon, to taste
2 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola, you can use ghee or butter as well)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
freshly chopped lemon chives for garnish
freshly grated lemon zest for garnish


In a deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the onions & sauté until softened. Add the ginger, garlic, green chilies & curry leaves. Stir for a few minutes until aromatic & fragrant. Now add the spices (turmeric, ground cumin powder, ground coriander powder, red chili powder, salt & pepper). Stir well & let the spices fry for a just minute or so before adding the tomato paste. Stir for an additional minute or two and then add the chicken pieces. Stir well to coat all the chicken pieces evenly in the spices. Now reduce the heat to low, add about ½ cup water, cover and let simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked through. The chicken pieces should be moist & tender but not overcooked. Lastly add the lemon juice along with a little water if needed. Let cook for another 4-5 minutes, transfer to a serving dish & garnish with the cilantro leaves, lemon chives & lemon zest. Serve with fresh chapatis & fragrant Basmati rice.


Feel free to cook this dish using shrimp instead, but don’t forget to reduce the cooking time to only 5-6 minutes instead. For a vegetarian version, add some lightly fried paneer or tofu cubes to the dish.

You can add cooked chickpeas to this dish, they work beautifully. You could also add your favorite vegetables such as green peas, chopped spinach, blanched asparagus, shredded carrots, diced red, green or yellow bell peppers, baby corn, mushrooms, edamame, pumpkin pieces, butternut squash pieces or acorn squash pieces…

You could also add some unsalted nuts to the dish like pistachios, cashews, pine nuts or almond pieces if you like.

For a creamier version, add a little cream or coconut milk at the end to finish the dish.

 photo Lemon Chicken Curry.jpg

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