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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    78 Reviews
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    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.
    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.
    Very tasty, but altered a little. More curry, added a little coconut oil and little dried lemongrass, and a lot more heat!
    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!
    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.
    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!
    This was my first attempt at curry and it was fantastic. Everything turned out just right, the sauce was spicy and thick but not gummy. I served it over jasmine rice because that is what I had but I could have eaten it plain and still loved it. I'm not sure what the problem with thickening might be. I made it in a dutch over and the times in the recipe were accurate.
    Satisfying flavors, but nothing close to legitimate Indian curry, though I was impressed by the notion of the homemade garam masala. The broth never thickened up, so it was very watery. (FYI, back-up rice saved the day as a mixer! If you like peas, potatoes, cauliflower, or any number of vegetables not listed, it's totally fine to throw them in. Definitely make sure to add enough salt. Overall, it's a decent dish, especially for those who want to eat ethnic, but have palettes that don't take strong, sharp flavors well.
    I've made this a few times - in the episode he adds a can of chick peas so maybe that's what's missing in this recipe to help with the thickening
    This is an good recipe with excellent flavor. Definitely will make again. My family enjoys spicy food so next time I will add more curry and red peppers. Also going to cut back on the liquid because it never really did thicken. Was still delicious. We ate it in bowls served over rice so the extra "broth" was not bad. Also great as leftovers when the spices have set and blended well overnight.
    Absolutely wonderful! The flavor of the curry was absolutely delicious - along with the garam masala (which I bought ready-made, along with ghee, I added about 2 teaspoons of sweet curry powder. Substituted about 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes instead of dried chilies. The dish had a wonderful depth of flavor with just the right amount of heat. I used light coconut milk and had trouble getting the sauce to thicken, so it took longer than 20 minutes and never truly thickened, but it reduced a bit and was still delicious. Used chicken thighs rather than breasts. Added cubed potatoes and carrots (already partially cooked to the pot in the last 5 minutes or so, to make it more of a complete meal. This will be a family favorite! Great for a winter night.
    This recipe has the perfect depth of flavor and is very forgiving if you want to add extra ingredients. I added 2 Yukon Gold and 2 Small Red Potatoes as well as extra Curry Powder. We really love Cilantro so I added an extra handful. I doubled the recipe for a huge family gathering and had my cousins begging for the recipe. This is a new favorite!
    Skinless chicken thighs as a substitute, in when you add the coconut milk and stock for about 40 minutes. More curry and other spices, or reduce liquids. Maybe some potato, or chickpeas. Half butter and half canola (or olive oil. No tomato?
    It was really delicious! the only reason for 4 *'s was cause it lacked in a few things. I added some fish sauce and some soy sauce for a teeny bit more flavor. I also did as nickcdavis did and added some extra curry powder. The only other thing I added was just a couple pinches of brown sugar to give it a little more depth. It is soooo good! Really great to add potatoes too!
    Excellent. Hit the spot! Not at all strong in coconut (in fact, I would have enjoyed more coconut flavor - used lite coconut milk), I'm pretty whimpy when it comes to heat, so I used two red chiles (and was nervous). I'd use at least three next time. Other than that, I did make some minor changes... I cooked the coconut mixture (sans the tomatoes, chicken, etc.) for as long as I could (at least an hour). I then added sliced carrots & potatoes (next time, add potatoes later). I also used chicken thighs, which were extremely tender. Besides that, I made it with brown basmati rice & naan on the side,& it was excellent. Recipe makes quite a lot. I'd definitely make it for company. Very yummy. :) Mmmmmmm.
    It was OK. I'd probably add more curry powder and also Paprika. I would also take a page from Ethiopian cuisine and use chicken thighs (skin removed instead of breasts and add them right when you add the coconut and stock. This would allow the chicken to cook for ~40 minutes, resulting in very tender chicken. One would be able to pull it off the bones very easily (discard bones and then utilize even more of the sauce. That may be personal preference, however.
    This was amazing! I will definitely be making this again. I followed the recipe and don't think I would change much. 6 chicken breasts was a lot, the only think I might do next time is use maybe 4 chicken breasts. This was also my first time making curry from scratch. It's definitely the way to go!!! Great recipe.
    This recipe is great and I've come back to it again and again. I use regular butter instead of the ghee and the recipe turns out just fine. This is a great recipe for someone who wants to branch out and try something a little exotic, but wants to start out slow with a definite winner.
    this is so good, i couldnt stop eating it and that's how you know good Indian food. it reminds me of "country captain chicken" and i wanted raisins. i added more chiles and used only one chicken breast then balanced it out with cauliflower. it was filling and wonderful. this will be a new favorite for a while!
    Oh my... oh so yummy!
    YUM! My whole family liked this.
    Simply delicious!
    Very good! I'm half East Indian and grewup eating chicken curry and this was very good.
    I made this recipe once entirely wrong, and it was amazing. Then I made it entirely right, and it was still really wonderful. The first time I didn't strain the ghee, nor did I seal it. I don't know what I was doing. I was in a hurry, and my recipe got sloshed with butter. But I don't know if you really can mess this one up too much with all the tasty ingredients involved. The chicken cut like butter, and the spices were tantalizing, I tell you. It's mouthwatering just to think of it again.
    I just made the curry and it turned out wonderful. After tasting it, I believe I'll leave out the chopped tomatoes and use less cilantro next time. Tomato seemed to take away from the sweetness of the coconut. But still a wonderful dish!! I put it over rice...SO good!! :)
    Ghee is used in this recipe because of it's high smoke point, that means, you can cook the onions for the full 15 minutes without burning them. If you don't have ghee, just use some butter and add a touch of olive oil, that will do the trick. Also, i like my curries a little sweet so I added a teaspoon of sugar. Be sure to salt several times through the cooking. This is a large dish and it can handle a good amount of salt. This is a keeper!
    i've made this numerous times! it's great as is, or use less chicken and add carrots and potatoes, that's what i like to do. i love curry with coconut so i always use this excellent recipe! i simmer the sauce for as long as possible (at least 1 hr, before adding the chicken. serve with basmati rice! and i always make raita as an accompaniment. i use butter when i don't have ghee. you can buy ghee usually in a jar in indian aisle at health food stores. i also use a lot more spices and hot pepper than the recipe says
    I followed this recipe exactly, with the only change being butter for the ghee. Smelled wonderful as it was cooking but when I finally finished the whole dish was bland. The smell's spoke of a fabulous curry but the taste let me down. I'm not sure if I did something wrong at some point or not. Will defiantly give this one a second try. Anyone had similar results?
    O)K, we cut back some using 4 chicken thighs, but added red pepper and celery. No ghee, browed the chicken and used some of that fat (plus oil). I messed around with the garam masala recipe as well. Used 2 cherry hots and 1 poblana (fresh) instead of the dried reds.
     also used fresh coconut milk, probably should have used more of that or reduced it or something as it was a touch weak in balance.
    Really excellent flavor and relatively simple to make. Never had the patience or cheese cloth to make the ghee, so I just used butter. Turned out great.
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