Phaal, World's Spiciest Curry! Dare To Cook Or Eat It?
Image Credit: bricklanecurry@Instagram

If your taste buds crave something spicy all the time, then we have a name which can be your ultimate pick. It's time to sample Phaal or Phall, which has gained popularity as the spiciest dish. Often outside India, vindaloo tops as the benchmark of Indian fiery food. However, compared to vindaloo, it is more challenging to locate. It also goes by names such as phaal, faal, fall, or fal. Whatever you choose to call it, this dish is not meant for the faint-hearted. With each morsel, the fieriness gets severe. 

Unboxing Phaal 

Typically, this culinary fare is a thick curry made with tomatoes, ginger, and sometimes add fennel seeds. It is among the spiciest varieties of curry. It's often cooked with fiery habanero or scotch bonnet peppers, and ghost peppers. Every culinary enthusiast's list of must-try spicy foods includes phaal curry. It is considered one of the world's hottest curries and the spiciest of Indian curries. Other names and spellings include phal or phall curry, fall curry, faal or fahl curry, and paal curry. It is believed to come into existence in an Indian restaurant in England, as the hottest dish by a cook. 

Most phaal curry recipes call for hot peppers, such as the habanero pepper or scotch bonnet pepper, which have a heat rating of about 300,000 Scoville Heat Units. Although the hottest version uses, ghost peppers or Bhut Jolokia, the fieriest, with over 1,000,000 SHU. They definitely turn up the heat! 

Restaurants that serve it abroad provide a statutory warning to the guests attempting to try it. There is also an agreement that needs signing up as a disclaimer that the eater is doing at their free will. Those who get through the dish, at a few places, receive a certificate as Phaal of Fame. 

Tweaking it according to taste

Consider using just one habanero pepper but remove the core first to lessen the intensity. Or you could use serrano peppers, which have 50,000 SHU, to make it. For the spicier version, try it with other spicy chilli peppers, such as scorpion or 7-Pot peppers. 



  • 500gm chicken breast (chopped into cubes)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 10 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 3 ghost chilli peppers, stemmed and coarsely chopped (wear gloves while handling bhut jolokia)
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup clarified butter (ghee)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander, or to taste

Chicken phaal, Image Source: Wikimedia


  • Blend tomatoes, water, garlic, ginger, ghost peppers, tomato purée, salt, chilli powder, garam masala, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, and pepper in a blender. To chop the ingredients, pulse several times, then blend until homogenised.
  • Pour the combined ingredients into a large mixing container. Toss in chicken and rub it with the mix thoroughly. Let it marinate it. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for an hour. 
  • Over medium-high heat, liquefy the ghee in a big pot. Once it heats up, introduce the onion slices.
  • Stirring often, fry the onions at a simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until it turns golden brown.
  • Pour the chicken and marinade into the pot and stir all the ingredients thoroughly.
  • Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, then bring to a boil.
  • Cook and whisk the sauce until it starts to thicken. It will probably take five minutes or so.
  • For nearly 20 minutes, lower the heat and simmer the meat until it is cooked. Garnish with coriander after ladling into bowls.