This coconut chicken curry is the perfect weeknight dinner. A 30-minute, one-pot chicken curry that's loaded with Indian spices, tender chicken breast, and creamy coconut milk. It uses basic ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry and makes great leftovers. A true chicken curry classic.
Simple curry recipes are a favourite style recipe around here, like this pork curry, this salmon curry or these Thai curry meatballs. Curries are usually quick and easy to make, are absolutely packed with flavour, and are great for meal prep and freezer filling because the flavours intensify overnight.
You can serve all these curries with my 2 ingredient naan bread for the perfect Indian-inspired meal.
⭐️ Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Easy and Quick: This recipe is easy and hassle-free, perfect for busy weeknights or when you're short on time. In just 30 minutes, you can have a satisfying meal on the table.
- Budget-Friendly: With basic ingredients like chicken breast, coconut milk, Indian spices, and chopped tomatoes, this recipe won't put a strain on your wallet. It's an affordable way to enjoy a delicious homemade curry.
- One-Pot Wonder: Say goodbye to a pile of dirty dishes! This simple chicken curry is a one-pot recipe, minimizing cleanup.
- Versatile and Customizable: You can easily customize this recipe to suit your preferences by adjusting the spice level, adding extra vegetables, or even adding different protein options.
- Healthy: It's naturally dairy and gluten-free and is much healthier than any sauce from a jar or takeaway.
🧾Basic ingredients for coconut curry
- Chicken- We're not browning the chicken first. Just dice and toss into the sauce to cook. It's that easy.
- Aromatics- Together these aromatics make the flavour base of any great curry. Add them in any amounts that you prefer.
- onion- look for medium-sized onions with shiny brown skins.
- garlic- look for plump, juicy cloves without green sprouts at the top.
- ginger- use the back of a spoon to scrape the skin off.
- Spices- Be sure that you're using fresh spices because they have bolder flavour.
- curry powder- It's a blend of spices like cumin, bay leaf, cinnamon, and clove. Use mild or medium curry powder.
- turmeric- Has a very strong flavour so be slightly cautious when adding it to your sauce.
- demerara (or brown) sugar- Helps to balance out all that ginger and garlic. And tomatoes always benefit from a pinch of sugar. You can use white, but brown brings a deeper flavour.
- Sauce- This creamy coconut sauce is very simple to make spicier or more mild depending on your preference.
- tomato puree- adds richness and body to the sauce
- tinned chopped tomatoes- the base of our sauce
- coconut milk- You can use full-fat or low-fat coconut milk, but be sure that it is unsweetened.
- soy sauce- Helps to bring a rich umami flavour that only soy sauce can do. Yes. It's completely unconventional but we're using all our flavour-building ingredients!
- chopped fresh coriander- the perfect way to finish off a curry
- limes- A squeeze of fresh lime juice to balance all the flavours.
📖 Substitutions & Variations
This basic curry has so much room to add in extra vegetables, substitute the protein and really make this recipe your own. Here are some ideas
One pot chicken curry- step-by-step
Sauté the aromatics
- Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a pan and add in the chopped onion, garlic and ginger. Give everything a good pinch of salt. Let everything sauté and continue to cook until very soft, translucent and fragrant.
- Once the onions, garlic and ginger are very soft you can add in the tomato paste, and spices.
💡 Top tip
Sauté the spices and onions: Before adding the chicken and other ingredients, sauté the spices and onions in olive oil or vegetable oil. This step helps release the flavours of the spices and allows the onions to caramelize, adding depth and complexity to the curry.
Make the coconut curry sauce
- Give everything a good stir to get the onions coated in the tomato purée and spices. Add in the brown sugar and soy sauce.
- Pour in the tinned tomatoes and coconut milk. Scrape up any brown bits from cooking the onions and garlic. Give everything a good whisk and taste. Add in anything you think it needs. I added in extra soy sauce and sugar, but you may want more curry powder or chili flakes.
- Once you've got the sauce tasting just right, bring it up to a gentle simmer and add in the diced chicken. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the chopped coriander and squeeze in some lime juice.
💡 Top tip
When adding the sugar and soy sauce go easy. We can add more when the sauce has come together and we taste it. Better to under-do it here rather than overdo it.
What to serve with coconut chicken curry
No curry recipe is complete without some amazing side dishes. Here are some ideas:
🍯 Storing homemade curry
- Storage: Allow the coconut chicken curry to cool completely before storing. Once cooled place the curry in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
- Reheating: Transfer the chicken curry to a microwave-safe dish or a saucepan for stovetop reheating. If using a microwave, reheat in short 30-second intervals, between intervals. Check the internal temperature to ensure it reaches a safe temperature of 165°F (74°C). If reheating on the stovetop, place the curry in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Freezing: Allow the chicken curry to cool completely before freezing. Transfer the curry to a freezer-safe container or divide it into individual portions. Leave some headspace in the container to account for expansion during freezing. Place the container in the freezer and store for up to 2-3 months.
- Thawing: Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or for several hours until completely thawed. For quicker thawing, you can use the defrost function on a microwave or submerge the sealed container in cold water.
- Reheating from Frozen: Take the frozen chicken curry out of the freezer. Transfer it to a microwave-safe dish or a saucepan for stovetop reheating. Defrost the curry using the defrost function, if available. If reheating on the stovetop, place the frozen curry in a saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and promote even heating. As it starts to thaw, increase the heat to medium and continue reheating until it's heated through. Once the chicken curry is thoroughly heated, ensure it reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
Absolutely! They're a great alternative. Just be sure to remove the skin from the thigh as well.
Yes! Coconut cream is a little bit thicker than coconut milk so you may need to add some water to thin the sauce out a little bit.
You can add a dollop of yoghurt or a splash of coconut milk to mellow out the heat. Adding more vegetables or a bit of sweetness, like a pinch of sugar or honey, can also balance the spice.
If the curry turns out too thin, you can thicken it by simmering it uncovered for a bit longer. Alternatively, you can create a slurry by mixing equal parts of cornstarch (cornflour) and water, then add it to the curry and simmer until it thickens to your desired consistency.
What to serve with coconut chicken curry:
If you tried this coconut chicken curry or any other recipe on my website, please let me know in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a star rating whilst you're there! It really helps let other readers know what to expect.
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Creamy Coconut Chicken Curry Recipe
- 500 g (1 lb) chicken, boneless skinless breast, diced
- 1 tablespoon (1 tablespoon) olive oil
- 1 (1) onion, chopped
- 3 cloves (3 cloves) garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon (1 tablespoon) grated ginger, fresh
- 1 ½ tablespoon (1 ½ tablespoon) tomato puree
- 2 ½ tablespoons (2 ½ tablespoons) curry powder
- 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) turmeric
- 1 tablespoon (1 tablespoon) demerara sugar
For the sauce
- 2 tablespoons (2 tablespoons) dark soy sauce
- 400 g (2 ½ cups) tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 (1) tin coconut milk
- ½ (½) bunch coriander, chopped
- 1 lime, juice only
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a high-sided skillet or saucepan. Once the oil is hot (it will shimmer) add the garlic, onions, and ginger. Cook for about 5-8 minutes until the garlic and onions are soft and translucent and the ginger is fragrant.
- Once everything is very fragrant and soft add in the tomato purée and spices- curry powder, turmeric, and sugar. Stir well to get the onions coated in the tomato puree and spices. Add in the soy sauce. *See note 1
- Add in the tinned chopped tomatoes and coconut milk. Scrape up any brown bits from cooking the onions and garlic. Whisk well to make a smooth sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add in any ingredients the sauce needs to balance the flavour. *See note 2
- Once you've adjusted the seasoning, bring the sauce up to a gentle simmer and add in the diced chicken. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the chopped coriander and squeeze in some lime juice. *Add in extra vegetables. See note 3.
- Divide between bowls and serve with fluffy rice, naan bread, popadoms, and some Greek yoghurt if desired.
- Because soy sauce is a very strong flavour use caution when adding it to the sauce.
- I added in extra soy sauce and sugar, but you may want more curry powder or chilli flakes.
- If you are adding extra vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli or frozen peas, add them when you add the chicken to the sauce so that everything cooks together.