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Shared by Ciara Shalome

Chicken Chitarnee

Yield: 4-6 servingsTime: 50 min

Shared by Ciara Shalome

Sally's chicken chitarnee and green chutney
Photographer: Penny de Los Santos. Food Stylist: Christopher Barsch. Prop Stylist: Vanessa Vazquez.

Chicken Chitarnee

Yield: 4-6 servingsTime: 50 min

Family Journey

IraqBombay (present-day Mumbai, India)

“Chitarnee is a dish that encompasses the Baghdadi Jews of India, it represents them and their journey and most importantly, it tastes bloody delicious!” proclaims Ciara Shalome, the woman behind the popular Mizrahi Jewish TikTok account Chaidentity. The dish, like her family, comes from a little known community of Jews who migrated from Iraq and other parts of the Middle East to India starting in the 18th century. Most left in the mid-20th century; and, today, there are approximately just 50 Jews from the community left in India. 

Like aloo makala, another Baghdadi dish, chitarnee is a blend of different culinary traditions — vindaloo paste and madras curry powder from India, while the large format of the dish feels more Middle Eastern to Ciara, and the Sarson’s malt vinegar gives it a British touch. This recipe comes from her father’s cousin Sally. Serve it with her green chutney and rice. 

Read more about her family in "The Chicken Recipe That Tells the Story of the Baghdadi Jews of India."


Chicken Chitarnee

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
  • 3 large Spanish onions, finely chopped
  • 1 handful of curry leaves (about 8 leaves)
  • 3 green chillies
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of garlic paste
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of Dhania Jeera powder
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of Vindaloo paste (Patak’s brand, spicy)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of madras curry powder 
  • ½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • ½  bouillon cube or Ossem chicken powder
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar 
  • 1 cap of Malt Vinegar
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of tomato puree
EasyMain CoursesMeat Middle EastSouth Asia


  • Step 1

    Add the vegetable oil to a large, deep pan and heat over medium heat.

  • Step 2

    Add them to the pan on medium heat, stirring continuously for twenty minutes until caramelized.

  • Step 3

    As soon as the onions have caramelized, immediately drop the heat to the lowest setting and add in your chiles.

  • Step 4

    Add a handful of curry leaves and also the garlic paste. To this, add the Dhania Jeera powder and stir for a few minutes to cook down.

  • Step 5

    Add the Vindaloo paste and the madras curry powder. Then, add the cayenne to taste and cook out all the spices.

  • Step 6

    Add chicken stock powder/cube to the mix and remember not to add any salt whatsoever.

  • Step 7

    Once the mixture and the oil on top looks like it's separating slightly, add your cubed chicken breasts and let that cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

  • Step 8

    Then, add your tomato puree, sugar and vinegar.

  • Step 9

    Add about 1 cup of water and cook on medium-low to let it all combine, about 10 minutes. The water should come up to a boil and then cook down into a thick sauce.

  • Step 10

    Taste and add any extra seasoning as necessary. Here is where you can add some salt if you think it needs it.