Chicken Varuval

Chicken varuval – the dry version of a chicken curry. Bite sized pieces coated in a deep masala flavour best enjoyed with rice or roti. It is a huge favourite here!

One of my favourites is this chicken varuval dish. We usually buy some back from a stall near our home and I relish every bite. When I made it at home using this recipe, I was SO happy that it closely resembled the stall bought version and have been making it at home since.

You want the chicken cut into bite sized pieces.

You don’t want to use any water when cooking the dish.

You want to marinate the raw chicken with some ingredients beforehand. 


Worth noting, most CV recipes involve pre-frying the marinated chicken pieces and adding them into the cooking process later. I did not want to do that and use up alot of oil.

So this is my version instead.

Start by marinating the chicken and leaving it for at least an hour on. The longer you allow it to marinate – the better. Allow the flavours to coat and combine into the chicken. While it’s marinating – get the sliced onions, spices, ginger & garlic paste, dried chilles and tomato ready.

Add some oil into a wok and then the spices, dried chillies and onions. Allow onions to soften and turn brown. In goes the ginger and garlic paste to be cooked off. 

Add in tomatoes and chicken.

Combine well and cook for about 25 – 30 mins until the chicken is dry. Be sure to scrap off all the yummy masala that has stuck to the wok and mix in with the chicken.

You may add in some dark soya sauce to get a darker coloured dish if you wish. Add in a small amount of salt towards end (as there was salt in the marinate also). Done. 

Trust the recipe will yield a dry dish. As you go further into the cooking process, the drier it gets.

I don’t cover the wok nor use any water, I use a medium heat and keep stirring the chicken till cooked. We usually enjoy this with rice, spinach dhall (or rasam) and a veggie dish.

Did you try this recipe?

Please do let me know if you've tried it, by leaving a comment or tagging me on IG @thesuddencook.

Chicken Varuval

The dry version of its cousin the Chicken Curry. These bite sized pieces are coated in a masala mix with virtually no gravy which is why it's best paired with rice and rasam (Indian pepper soup)!.


Marinate Together for 1 hour or longer

  • 1 chicken cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp meat curry powder
  • 2 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt


  • 2 tbsp ginger & garlic paste Just pound together or blend a small piece ginger with 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 big tomato chopped small
  • 1/2 tsp dark soya sauce (optional) for colour

For Tempering

  • 1 big onion finely sliced
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 pieces cloves
  • 5 dried chilli cut into halves
  • 2 stalks curry leaves use only leaves, discard stalk
  • 5 tbsp oil


  • Heat oil in a wok. Add in all the tempering ingredients and fry until onion turns nice and soft and starts to brown about 5 mins. Be patient and allow onions to soften well and brown.
  • Add in ginger and garlic paste and keep frying for 2 mins. Add in tomatoes and chicken. Give everything a goooood mix.
  • Keep frying till chicken is cooked and dry for about 25 - 30 mins. Towards the end, scrap off all the bits stuck to the bottom and around of wok and toss together with chicken. Add dark soya sauce and mix.
    Finally add 1/2 tsp salt. Mix again. Done.


Top Tips:
  • Don't add any water as the dish should be dry.
  • If cooking for kids, you can reduce the chilli powder to 1tbsp and lessen or remove seeds in the dry chillies. I usually remove the seeds.
  • Salt is already added during the marination process but a little is added on later.
  • It's important to allow the chicken to marinate for a while (or overnight if you wish to prep ahead).
  • Scrap off all the bits getting stuck to the wok (especially towards the end) and toss together with chicken.
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1 year ago

This looks so flavourful and delicious…I love all the wonderful spices here.

1 year ago
Reply to  angiesrecipes

Thank you Angie! It’s really good and we like it alot.