Coconut chicken curry

by Kiran on September 14, 2010 · 11 comments

in Chicken, Curries, Indian

Where I come from, nothing beats the delicious aroma of fresh coconut milk and curry combo. Many are intimidated with curries. Especially with mounds of ingredients and spices. But don’t be intimidated. These days there are variety of curry powder in the market with chock-full of spices as ingredients. Makes cooking so much easier. I won’t be endorsing my favorite store-bought curry powder brand, but you can always drop me a comment and I would email you the details 😉

First up, marination. I am using bone-in, skinless chicken. I am sure this recipe would be just as delicious for any meats of your choice. Add grated ginger, pinch of salt & pepper, turmeric powder and your choice of chicken/meat/curry powder. The base ingredients of these store-bought spice powders are usually paprika, cumin, black cardamom, coriander, cayenne etc. You know the drift. Mix everything and refrigerate to marinade for at least 2 hours.

Moving onto spice seeds. In Indian cooking, the base ingredients are usually spice seeds. It emits natural oils and distinctive aroma. Pictured as above, you would need 1 star anise, a couple of cloves, cinnamon bark, cumin and mustard seeds. I am unsure of the mystery in the disappearance of cumin and mustard seeds from the photo. Somebody, please call the police. Or not.

In a medium-heat heavy bottomed pan with some cooking oil, add all the spice seeds. It will sputter, especially the mustard seeds. Don’t be intimidated by it’s taunting. Just fry till fragrant.

Add 1/3 cup of chopped onions. Any onion of your choice. No judging here. Fry, fry, fry. You want to achieve nirvana as a result of a caramelized onion. It’s magic. I know.

Once the chopped onions are golden brown (not burnt), add 1/2 cup of onion paste. This is our base to create an awesome and velvety curry texture. You can refer it as the “indian thickening agent”. No flour business here.

Fry, fry, fry. This is the texture we are looking for after a few minutes.

Ladies and gents, this is where the fun begins. Throw in the marinated chicken and a chopped tomato. Stir this delicious concoction. Can you smell it already? Hmm.. the spices hitting your nostrils and awakening you from a bad series of sinuses and flu. You can thank me later.

Google for curry leaves and run to your nearest grocer hoping they do have this magical leaves. Fresh is better, however you can also use the dried or powered version. If you can’t locate this precious gem, substitute it with bay leaves and let me know how it taste.

Last but not least, add some fresh coconut milk and water. Simmer for a few minutes or till the chicken is cooked all the way through and tender.

The verdict:

A yummy chicken smother with creamy, thick and delicious coconut curry. Enjoy while it’s hot with naan or fluffy basmati rice.

Hungry for more.


  • 1 teaspoon of spice seeds consisting of cumin, mustard and cloves
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon bark & star anise
  • 2 tbsp of cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion { 1/3 chopped, the balance use as paste }
  • 1 tomato
  • Some curry leaves
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • Fresh cilantro and green chilies (optional) for garnish
  • 1/2 cup of water


  • 1 lbs of bone-in, skinless chicken
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tbsp of either curry/chicken/meat powder
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • Pinch of salt and pepper to taste


  1. Mix marinade with chicken pieces. Cling wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Add cooking oil in a heavy saucepan on medium heat. Wait for oil to heat before adding spice seeds. Do not forget, mustard seeds sputters!
  3. Add onions and fry till caramelize. This would take about 5 minutes.
  4. Mix in onion paste. Fry for a few minutes.
  5. Throw in marinated chicken pieces with chopped tomatoes. Stir every now and then.
  6. Add curry leaves, coconut milk and some water. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until chicken pieces are fully cooked through and tender.

Garnish: With fresh cilantro and/or fresh green chilies. This recipe can be spicy, depending on the brand of curry powder used. Serving suggestions: Served hot with naan or basmati rice.

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1 Raj September 15, 2010 at 12:55 AM

Delicious and mouth watering dish, but unfortunately its time of ganesh utsav so can’t try @ home, will try later!

2 Kiran October 10, 2010 at 3:34 PM

Hey Raj! Thank you for your comment and welcome to Recipebox. Navratri is upon us now. I guess your recipe tasting can only go on after Diwali 🙂 Do visit us again.

3 Gennaro October 17, 2010 at 2:14 PM

That coconut curry chicken looks great. Will need to try this recipe. I love how coconut milk is used in both Thai and Indian cooking.
Gennaro recently posted..Riding an Elephant in Thailand

4 Kiran October 27, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Hi Gennaro,

Welcome to Recipebox and thanks for your comment 🙂 I love spicy and coconut-y Thai and Indian foods.

5 Susan: My Food Obsession November 1, 2010 at 9:43 AM

Your curry looks delicious! I love curries, they are great all year round 🙂
Susan: My Food Obsession recently posted..Cracking the Cookie Code- Levain Choc Chip Walnut Cookie Attempt 3

6 Kiran November 1, 2010 at 10:50 AM

I love curries too, especially in the winters. The myth about difficulty in cooking curries should be cast off! It’s so simple. And these days, you can find many curry paste or powder in your local supermarket. My absolute favorite by far is Shan curry powder.

7 mummy November 16, 2010 at 5:41 AM

yummy so clever to cook ma… like mother like daughter

8 Kiran November 18, 2010 at 10:54 AM

I love you mummy 🙂

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