This creamy Indian coconut chicken curry is so comforting and ready in 30 minutes. Serve with naan or rice to scoop out the ultra-creamy sauce when indulging.
Embark on a journey of potent flavors, transporting you straight to South Asia. This creamy Indian coconut chicken curry combines tender boneless chicken with a blend of spices and the creaminess of coconut milk. Bursting with flavors of ginger, garlic, and other potent spices, it is the perfect comfort food. Moreover, it will transport your taste buds straight to the heart of South Asia.
Whether you want a comforting meal for a cozy night in or prepare this creamy goodness for guests, this easy coconut curry chicken is a must-try. And if you love a flavorful curry, try this butternut squash curry and vegan Thai yellow vegetable curry to satisfy your cravings!
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Why you'll love this recipe
- Rich, exotic flavors – This Indian coconut chicken curry combines a symphony of spices like curry powder, coriander, and cinnamon, along with the aromatic trio of ginger, garlic, and onions, creating a complex flavor profile.
- Creamy goodness – Coconut milk delivers a creamy texture and a subtle sweetness and perfectly balances the spices.
- Comfort food – Few things are as comforting as a warm, aromatic bowl of creamy curry, making it the perfect choice for cozy nights.
- Ideal for guests – If you want to impress your guests, this Indian coconut chicken curry will do just that. It looks and tastes like something from a gourmet restaurant.
- Customizable – You can pair it with rice, naan, or roti, making it a versatile main course suitable for any occasion.
- Chicken – Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. It is easy to prepare and cook quickly.
- Coconut oil – You can substitute the coconut oil with vegetable or canola oil if needed.
- Coconut milk – Use full-fat coconut milk for the creamiest and richest texture. You can also use light coconut milk if you prefer a lighter version of the curry.
- Chicken stock – Opt for low-sodium chicken stock or broth. If you have homemade chicken stock, that's even better for adding depth of flavor.
- Onion, garlic, and ginger – No curry does without a generous amount of these root vegetables. I used yellow onion in this recipe, but you can also use white or brown onion if you have them.
- Tomato paste – If you don't have tomato paste, you can use tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes. Adjusting the quantity to your taste.
- Curry powder – Different curry powders vary in flavor and spiciness. Feel free to use your favorite brand or adjust the quantity to suit your spice tolerance.
- Ground coriander – If you have whole coriander seeds, you can toast and grind them for a fresher taste.
- Cinnamon – You can use ground cinnamon or a whole cinnamon stick. Be sure to remove the cinnamon stick before serving. Adjust the amount to your liking; some prefer a subtle hint of cinnamon, while others enjoy a more pronounced flavor.
- Salt – Taste the curry as you go and adjust the salt according to your preference. Different brands of chicken stock and coconut milk can vary in saltiness.
- Red pepper flakes – Start with a small amount and add more if you prefer it hotter.
See recipe card for quantities.
Tips & substitutions
- Prep work – Prepare all your ingredients before you start cooking. This includes chopping onions, mincing garlic and ginger, and measuring the spices. This makes the cooking process smoother.
- Shake the coconut milk – Shake the can well before opening it. This helps ensure the coconut cream is well mixed with the coconut water.
- Substitute the chicken stock – Replace chicken stock with vegetable stock or water if you're looking for a vegetarian version. For a richer flavor, use beef or mushroom stock.
- Adjust the spice level – Taste the curry as it cooks, and adjust the level of red pepper flakes to your desired heat level.
- Thicken the sauce – If the curry is too thin, simmer it for a bit longer to reduce and thicken it. Conversely, if it's too thick, add more chicken stock or coconut milk to reach your preferred consistency.
How to make a coconut chicken curry
Step 1: Chop the chicken breast into bite-sized chunks. Peel and finely dice the onion and garlic, and grate the ginger.
Step 2: Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot on high heat. Transfer the chicken chunks to the saucepan and roast them for 2-3 minutes until slightly browned. Remove them from the pot and set them aside.
Step 3: Add the other tablespoon of vegetable oil to the same pot. Turn down the heat to medium and add the onion. Roast for about a minute until translucent.
Step 4: Now, add the ginger, garlic, tomato paste, curry powder, coriander, salt, and red pepper flakes (optional). Roast for a couple of seconds, stirring frequently.
Step 5: When the spices are fragrant, pour the coconut milk and chicken stock into the pot and add the cinnamon stick. Add the roasted chicken. Let the curry cook on low to medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 6: Remove the cinnamon stick when the curry is cooked. Top with chopped cilantro or parsley and serve with whole-wheat rice or naan.
Add a garnish of toasted coconut flakes to your Indian coconut chicken. It will take the curry to another aromatic level and provide a delightful crunch and rich, nutty aroma.
Coconut chicken curry sides
This creamy coconut chicken curry pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Here are my suggestions:
- Steamed basmati rice – Fragrant basmati rice is a classic choice to serve with curry.
- Naan bread – Soft and fluffy Naan bread is ideal for scooping up the curry sauce.
- Roti or chapati – These unleavened flatbreads are simple to make and make excellent companions to curry. They're great for scooping up the sauce and wrapping around a piece of chicken.
- Mango chutney – Tangy mango chutney, or this sweet and spicy mango sauce is a flavorful condiment to serve alongside the curry.
- Fresh salad – A green salad with a light lemon herb vinaigrette is a satisfying side dish for the rich curry.
- Pickles – These sweet and sour pickled cucumbers add a zesty flavor to your plate.
When adding the coconut milk, reduce the heat to low or medium-low. Simmer the curry gently to avoid boiling, which can cause separation. Also, full-fat coconut milk is less likely to curdle than low-fat or light coconut milk.
You can make this coconut chicken curry ahead of time. In fact, many curries, including this one, often taste even better the next day as the flavors have had time to meld and develop.
Let the Coconut Chicken Curry cool down to room temperature before storing it. Transfer the cooled curry to airtight containers. Make sure the containers are clean and dry before adding the curry.
If you consume the leftovers within a few days store them in the fridge. The curry can be refrigerated for 3-4 days. For longer storage, place the curry in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag and store it in the freezer. Leftovers will last for 2-3 months when frozen.
More chicken recipes
Healthy Chicken Curry
- 400 g boneless skinless chicken breasts (0.9 lb)
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger (grated)
- 2 tablespoon vegetable or coconut oil
- 400 ml coconut milk (full-fat)
- 100 ml chicken stock (½ cup)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 cinnamon stick (or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- Chop the chicken breast into bite-sized chunks. Peel and finely dice the onion and garlic, and grate the ginger.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium pot on high heat. Transfer the chicken chunks to the saucepan and roast them for 2-3 minutes until slightly browned. Remove them from the pot and set them aside.
- Add the other tablespoon of vegetable oil to the same pot. Turn down the heat to medium and add the onion. Roast for about a minute until translucent.
- Now, add the ginger, garlic, tomato paste, curry powder, coriander, salt, and red pepper flakes (optional). Roast for a couple of seconds, stirring frequently.
- When the spices are fragrant, pour the coconut milk and chicken stock into the pot and add the cinnamon stick. Add the roasted chicken. Let the curry cook on low to medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the cinnamon stick when the curry is cooked. Top with chopped cilantro or parsley and serve with whole-wheat rice or naan.
- Make it fragrant – Roast the spices with the onion and garlic before adding any liquid. It awakens the flavors and makes for an extra delicious curry.
- Thicken if desired – Like a thick consistency? Cook the curry with the lid off so more liquid evaporates.
- Serve keto-friendly – This healthy chicken curry is also keto-friendly if served with cauliflower rice instead of whole-wheat naan or rice.
- Storing options – Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Want to keep it longer? Freeze it in portions for up to 3 months and reheat it. Add more chicken stock when reheating if the curry is too thick.
Nutritional values are estimates only calculated with the recipe calorie and nutrition calculator provided by verywellfit.com. The author of this website is not a nutritionist nor a doctor. All nutritional data provided in the recipes and correspondent blog posts are for informational purposes only. Do not use the information as nutritional or medical advice.