This one pan chicken coconut curry is the definition of comfort food. It only takes 20 minutes to make and doesn’t require any special ingredients. Just some aromatics, curry powder, and coconut milk. Obviously I used chicken for this recipe but you can substitute it for any other protein you’d like.
This chicken coconut curry reminds me of butter chicken but less sweet, and with a hint of coconut flavor. Butter chicken is slightly more difficult to make because it requires blending and more ingredients. But if you want to check out my butter chicken recipe, click here. If you don’t have enough time to make butter chicken then I would say this is a great alternative that will satisfy your cravings.
There is a slight influence here from Thai coconut curry, but I wouldn’t call it that. I just really love to taste coconut milk adds to curry and wanted to make something similar for dinner. Growing up, my mom would make coconut curry like this and it was something I always looked forward to. One of my favorite things to eat with curry is naan and you can click here to find my homemade garlic naan recipe.
Key tips and ingredients for chicken coconut curry
Coconut milk: Coconut milk will be the base of this curry. Sometimes this gets confused with coconut cream which is similar but has more fat content. Coconut cream is much thicker and will not give you the same consistency. However, feel free to experiment with the coconut cream, it might be even better!
Curry powder: You can use any curry powder you like. This is the brand that I always use for a lot of my curry dishes.
Garam masala: This is a really popular Indian spice which releases a lot of aromatic flavors when added into the pan. This ingredient is optional but highly recommended.
Chicken Coconut Curry
- 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 shallot
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 5 cloves minced garlic
- 1½ tbsp tomato paste
- 1½ tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 can coconut milk 400ml
- Cut your chicken thighs into 1.5 inch pieces. I split them about 3-4 pieces per chicken thigh.
- Season your chicken with the remaining chicken ingredients and set aside.
- Prepare all you aromatics and vegetables. Thinly slice onions and shallots, grate ginger and garlic.
- In a high heat pan add 2 tbsp of a neutral oil then sear your chicken for 2 minutes each side. Don't worry about cooking them all the way through, we will be cooking again later.
- Remove chicken then add cumin seeds, bay leaves, onions, shallots, ginger, and garlic then cook for 2 minutes over medium heat.
- Add tomato paste, curry powder, and garam masala. Cook another 2 minutes.
- Add a full can of coconut milk then bring it up to simmer, add the chicken back in, then cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes.
- Season with salt and top with cilantro.