This easy weeknight chicken coconut milk curry is the perfect meeting of quick and delicious! Starts with boneless chicken breasts and is ready to eat in just 30 minutes!
At my house, when it comes to quick, easy and delicious weeknight meals, my motto is “when in doubt … curry!” And one of my favourites, is this Indian-style coconut chicken curry.
This chicken curry starts with just two boneless chicken breasts and then adds in basic pantry items. It cooks up quickly in one pot on the stovetop and is ready about the time your rice is cooked. The plentiful sauce is great with rice and Naan bread!. Add a veg or salad and you’re good to go.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Chicken – as noted above, boneless, skinless chicken breasts work perfectly here, but this will also work just as well with boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
Tomatoes – As noted in the recipe, you can use either a fresh tomato, diced or a small can of drained diced tomatoes.
Ginger Paste – I love the ease of ginger paste, either in the small jars or in the tubes. If you don’t have it, fresh grated ginger is great as well.
Coconut Milk – this recipe uses only 2/3 cup of coconut milk, which is about the size of the tiny cans of coconut milk or part of a larger can. If using the larger can, stir first, before measuring. You can freeze the remainder of the can of coconut milk for a future curry!
Turmeric – Turmeric is a wonderful spice, but it also stains terribly (hands, counters, dishes, dish clothes, clothing!). You’ll want to keep it well contained when measuring etc. It is used in Indian curries more for its colour than its flavour, so if you don’t have any, don’t worry. Simply omit.
- Everyone has different spice and heat tolerance, so feel free to adjust the spicing up or down to suit. If you’re not sure, hold back a bit of the spice mix, then taste at the end and add more if you like. You can always add more spice but you can’t take it out :)
- Salt is critical to bring all the flavours of this curry together. Be sure to taste at the end and add salt as needed.
- While I love the flavour coconut milk brings to this curry, if you don’t have any one hand, you can substitute yogurt here.
Don’t stress if you don’t have all the other spices listed in the ingredient list! Garam Masala is a spice mix that generally contains cumin and coriander (among other spices). So if you are missing one or two, simply increase the amount of Garam Masala.
Get the Recipe: Coconut Chicken Curry
- 2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, or coconut oil
- 1/2 red or yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon ginger paste, or 2 tsp minced fresh
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 large tomato, diced or small can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, adjust to taste for heat
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste, optional
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup water
- 2/3 cup coconut milk, stirred *see note 1 below
- Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Start rice cooking, if using.
- In a small bowl, stir together the turmeric, garam masala, cumin, coriander and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
- In a large pot (preferably with a lid), heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring until golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring for one minute. Add your spice mix and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds more. Add the diced tomatoes and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add the cut up chicken to the pot, along with a sprinkling of salt. Mix well. Let cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup water to the pot, cover with a lid (or a sheet of aluminum foil), reduce heat slightly and let cook 20-25 minutes, until chicken is cooked and tender.
- Remove lid. Add coconut milk and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes more. Taste and add salt as needed. You can also add more of spices if you feel it needs it.
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Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!