Spicy Chicken Coconut Curry

Total Time:
1 hr 20 min
20 min
1 hr

6 to 8 servings

  • 3 tablespoons Ghee, recipe follows
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 -inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Curry Powder, recipe follows
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 to 3 dried red chiles
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Mint leaves, for garnish
  • Ghee:
  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • Curry Powder ( Garam Masala):
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 2 dried red chiles, broken in pieces, seeds discarded
  • 2 tablespoons turmeric

Heat the ghee in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions, ginger, and garlic and cook slowly until the onions are very soft, about 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste, curry powder, cinnamon stick, and chiles and give it a good stir; season with salt and pepper. Pour in the coconut milk and chicken stock and bring it back to a simmer; cook until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chicken, cilantro, and half the lemon juice; continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro and mint leaves.


Put the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt the butter slowly and make sure it does not sizzle or brown. Increase the heat and bring the butter to a boil. When the surface is covered with foam, stir gently and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting. Gently simmer, uncovered, and undisturbed for 45 minutes, until the milk solids in the bottom of the pan have turned golden brown and the butter on top is transparent. Strain the ghee through a sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth. The ghee should be perfectly clear and smell nutty; pour into a glass jar and seal tightly.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Curry Powder ( Garam Masala):

Toast the coriander, cumin, cardamom, peppercorns, fennel, mustard, cloves, and the chiles in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat just until they smell fragrant, about 2 minutes. In a clean coffee grinder or spice mill, grind the toasted spices together to a fine powder. Add the turmeric and give it another quick buzz to combine. Use the curry powder immediately, or store in a sealed jar for up to 1 month.

Yield: about 1/2 cup

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4.7 82
Fantastic recipe!! We really like spicy food so I ended up putting about five heaping tablespoons of hot curry powder and one garam masala. I had no trouble with thickening of the sauce. Did use chicken thighs instead of breasts and added a number of other veggies. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Oh yum. This was amazing! I added potatoes and peas, and it turned out really well, with just the right amount of creamy sauce. Thanks Tyler for another great recipe!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Delicious! It makes a perfectly smooth curry after reducing for quite a while. We bought Garam Masala from a local Indian store and marinated the chicken in yogurt+garam masala+chicken biryani masala which provided a great depth to the chicken. Additionally, we prefer to use fresh green chilies. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Good START to a recipe, but I had to do a lot of adjustments. First, use twice as much curry powder as called for. The sauce was rather bland without it. Second, unless you're a complete wuss, use 5 for 6 chiles if you want ANY kind of heat. 6 de Arbol chiles with a few seeds thrown in left my mouth and tummy warm, but not at all hot. Just pleasant. As other readers did, I added 2Tbsp of brown sugar for sweetness and depth. MUCH better. I wonder if sweetened coconut milk would be better? Don't skimp on the salt. Also, if you want it thick enough to serve on rice, just whisk a mix of 2Tbsp corn starch and water into the simmering sauce just before adding chicken, a little at a time until you have the thickness you want. I only used 2 chicken breasts, then subbed in 3 cubed russets, and a big handful of sliced baby carrots. May add some frozen sweet peas next time, and maybe 2 cinnamon sticks. I did all this, and served on basmati rice. Very tasty, and filling. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Delicious. I used store bought curry powder and it didn't do the trick, I had to double the amount, add another chile pepper (I'd started with one), and simmer another 10 minutes and it came out well. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is a great recipe I've made it several times but last night I made the mistake of buying coconut milk at my regular grocery store where they had only one brand. You need to buy the high fat content brand, it makes all the difference, a bit more expensive but we'll worth it. Also, I forgottotoastmy spices which was a major mistake, just a couple of tips for people who make is because when made properly it's amazing. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Very tasty, but altered a little. More curry, added a little coconut oil and little dried lemongrass, and a lot more heat! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Just a suggestion about thickening. I added a little extra tomato sauce and I also added potatoes and carrots. The sauce comes out nice and creamy. I also served it on top of Bas,ati Rice. So Yummy! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Ah-mazing! Loved it! The only change I made is to use regular salted butter instead of ghee. Very easy to make and extremely tasty, served with basmati rice. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Very simple and tasty! I wouldn't change anything about the recipe. I used readymade ghee which worked just fine, and I used 4 chicken breasts instead of six. Served it in a bowl over brown rice. Very wholesome and everyone enjoyed it! item not reviewed by moderator and published

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