This weeknight easy chicken curry with coconut milk is the perfect meeting of quick and delicious! Starts with boneless chicken breasts.
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 pretty 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
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: Chicken Coconut 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.
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!
Kudos. Threw it together with boneless thighs. Soft pedaled the spices a little for my fussy crew. Thought it was a little sharp for us at the end so I tossed in a few golden raisins. Absolutely delicious. Thank you!!
So glad you enjoyed it, Veronica :) The raisins sound like a lovely addition. I sometimes stir Mango Chutney in at the end, which sort of adds the same note as the raisins. Just another option for you. Thanks!
This sounds tasty and easy to make for two people. I will definitely be serving this next week.
It’s a great quick and easy curry, Pat. Hope you enjoy it!
Picky kid approved! Thank you for this :)
So glad to hear! Thanks so much :)
Made this receipe recently & it was yummy! Followed instructions & found the seasoning “spot on”. Served with rice & fresh green veggie. Easy weeknight meal that will be repeated.
So glad! Thanks :)
Well your blog has a new fan! This was easy to make and so delicious! I doubled the recipe (because we love leftovers) and added some red peppers to it with the onion and roasted potatoes at the end. Suggestions for your next recipe I should try?!?
So glad to hear, Kristina! What should you try next? Well, only knowing that you enjoy a curry, I’d head you towards my Red Thai Chicken Curry, which is in regular rotation here. A bit lighter and fresher than this curry, but just as easy and delicious! I also have a Shrimp and Asparagus Green Curry. Heck, just search “curry” on my site (search is in the top black bar) and you’ll find a lot of them :)
Hi! I may have overlooked this, but when do you add the peppers? :)
Hi Tanya, do you mean the red pepper flakes? They are combined with the spice mix in Step 2.
Such a cozy and delicious weeknight dinner idea!
Thanks so much, Laura :)
Such a cozy fall and winter meal Jennifer! Temps are dipping here, so this one will be perfect!
Thanks so much, Mary Ann :)
I made this tonight and we all loved it, even my 2 kids! I skipped the red pepper flakes because of my girls, but this dish will definitely be one that I’ll keep making. So quick and easy. thank you!
So glad to hear, Sherry :) Thanks!
I am in complete agreement with your moto! This is one good looking curry. I bet you never run out of coconut milk cans in your pantry:)
Thanks Milena and yes, coconut milk is a pantry must-have here :)
Chris is right Jennifer, this curry looks fantastic! I love how easy it is to put together. I didn’t know you can freeze coconut milk – going to try that, and this recipe ;) I always need a flavorful weekend recipe. Love it!
Thanks Tricia and yes, so handy to freeze so no waste :)
It’s meals like this that I can eat every single day. I’d need lots of rice or naan or something to soak up all that yummy sauce. So much better than take out!
Thanks Dawn and yes, Naan for sure!
I never get tired of curry and I love how they’re also so different. Can’t wait to try this one. It looks fanatastic!
Thanks Chris and yes, I love curry in all the different ways. Never tire of them either :)