Easy chicken curry made in about 30 minutes in one pot. This chicken curry packs a serious flavor punch with fresh ginger, onions, & garlic, red curry paste, and creamy coconut milk.
To ensure this chicken curry can be made in 30 minutes, we’re keeping it simple without adding tons of chopped veggies, but feel free to add a veggie or bulk up the curry with a couple of different veggies. Serve it over basmati rice with some good naan bread to make it a meal.
Chicken curry flavor
Today we’re using red curry paste in this dish alongside yellow curry powder and a good amount of coriander. This chicken curry is a bit sweet, but mostly savory with hints of spice from the red curry paste.
Red curry paste is typically made from crushed red chilies, garlic, lemongrass, shallots, ginger, and fish paste. We amp up those flavors with additional garlic, ginger, and onions. In this recipe, the flavors of the paste are balanced with some good yellow curry powder.
Some curries can be quite spicy and others quite mild. For this specific recipe, I would rate this dish as mild, but it does depend on the brand of red curry or curry power you use. I’ve found Thai Kitchen and Simple Truth Organic Curry Powder are both quite mild.
How to make chicken curry
(Directions below correlate with numbered images above)
- Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and toss with curry powder, salt, and pepper.
- Char the chicken pieces, without cooking through, and then transfer to a plate
- In the same skillet, add the coconut oil and onions
- Add minced garlic and ginger
- Bloom the spices: curry powder, coriander, and red curry paste.
- Add coconut milk and chicken stock. Simmer until thickened.
- Add chicken back in and finish cooking through.
- Add diced cilantro
- Stir in the cilantro and add fresh lime juice
- Finished chicken curry!
Chicken curry tips
- Cook the onions slowly and for a longer period so the onions have a chance to develop a sweeter flavor.
- Coconut milk makes this curry sweeter and adds a better flavor than regular cream would. Use full fat coconut milk for the best flavor and thickness. Lite coconut milk won’t thicken and give you a rich full flavor like regular coconut milk will. Cream of coconut is far too sweet and coconut cream tends to be too thick (and overpoweringly coconut flavored) for this chicken curry.
- For a thicker curry, use only 1/2 cup chicken stock. Alternatively, remove 1 tablespoon of the coconut milk into a separate bowl and whisk with 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Whisk until smooth and then stir back into the curry to thicken it further.
- Chicken curry with vegetables: increase the veggies! You can add some carrot sticks (add after adding the curry paste and seasonings) and spinach (stir in at the very end — residual heat will cook it down). Another great addition would be frozen peas at the end (add 1-2 minutes before finishing).
- Chicken curry with thigh meat: thigh meat will work great instead of breast meat (grab boneless skinless and adjust for cooking time). You’ll want to add the chicken after blooming spices and then let it simmer in the sauce until cooked through.
- Time saving idea: use pre-chopped onions from the grocery store (typically with refrigerated produce or in the frozen vegetable aisle). You can also use pre-mined garlic and ginger, but at some sacrifice of overall flavor.
- Chicken curry with coconut milk and potatoes: try adding baby yukon gold potatoes (to do this, I microwave full baby potatoes for 5-8 minutes or until tender; cut them into quarters, and add them in after blooming in the spices (this is to slightly crisp them and flavor them with spices, but not to cook them because the microwave should do that!).
Other chicken recipes;
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, separated (vegetable oil also works)
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs (cut into 1 inch pieces)
- 3 tablespoons yellow curry powder, separated
- Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 1 cup diced yellow onion (~1 small onion)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic (~3 cloves)
- 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger (~from a 1 and 1/2 inch piece)
- 3 tablespoons red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen; reduce or increase as desired for spice levels)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 can (15.25 ounces) full fat coconut milk (~1 and 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/4 cup diced cilantro
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce, optional
- Serve over/with: cooked basmati rice and naan bread with additional fresh cilantro
- PREP: dice the onion, mince the garlic, and mince the ginger. I peel the ginger with a spoon or vegetable peeler and then finely mince it. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Toss the cubed chicken pieces in 1/2 tablespoon curry powder, salt and pepper (add to taste; I add 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper). Toss the chicken until coated.
- CHICKEN: Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large and deep cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once coconut oil is melted, add in the chicken. Cook over medium-high heat until golden on the outside, but not cooked through inside, about 4-5 minutes. Remove to a plate and cover with foil.
- FRAGRANCE: Return the skillet to the stovetop and add remaining 2 tablespoons coconut oil. Add in the diced onion and saute for 3-5 minutes or until onions are beginning to get golden. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir to coat everything with the oil. Lower the heat to low and add in the curry powder, red curry paste, and coriander. Stir often for 2-3 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant.
- SAUCE: pour in the coconut milk and chicken stock. It should sizzle upon being added. Stir until smooth, lower heat to medium and cook, simmering at a rapid pace, for 8-10 minutes or until sauce reduces and thickens. After 8 minutes of simmering, add the chicken back in to finish cooking through. Add in the brown sugar, lime juice, and cilantro. If desired, add in the fish sauce. Stir and continue to simmer until chicken is cooked through (juices run clear and it is cooked to 165 degrees F), about 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust for any additional salt/pepper needed.
- SERVE: serve over rice and/or with naan bread. Garnish individual plates with additional fresh cilantro.