Sri Lankan Coconut Chicken Curry

This is probably the most delicious curry that I have ever eaten. The coconut oil makes the chicken incredibly tender and the spices and coconut give it a wonderful depth of flavor.



  • 6 to 8 chicken thighs (ca. 700 grams), bones removed
  • one yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
  • ca. 50 grams of fresh ginger, peeled and grated to a paste
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper (approximately 1 teaspoon)
  • 3 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika (hot)
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika (sweet)
  • 2 teaspoons of ground turmeric
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 175 ml of chicken stock
  • 15 grams of desiccated coconut
  • 500 ml of coconut milk
  • Freshly ground pepper, salt (to taste)
  • For the garnish (optional): 1 spring onion (sliced), 1 red chili (sliced), 1 tablespoon of roasted chopped cashew nuts, fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves


  1. Place the chicken thighs and the onion in a large bowl or container. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and the grated ginger, and finally 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the pepper.
  2. Mix well with your hands. Make sure the chicken thighs are fully covered in the oil and ginger paste.
  3. Put a cling film or lid on top and let marinate in the fridge overnight.
  4. Before cooking, separate the chicken from the onions and set the onions aside.
  5. Heat up one teaspoon of coconut oil in a large deep pan over medium to high heat. Sear the chicken for approximately 3 minutes on both sides until nicely brown/golden.
  6. Take the chicken out of the pan and set aside.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium and fry the onion for ca. 1 minute in the same pan, then add the spices.
  8. Give the mixture a good stir and let fry for another minute, then deglaze with the chicken stock. Simmer for around 1 minute.
  9. Stir in the coconut milk to the mixture, add another 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bring to a simmer.
  10. Once simmering, stir in the desiccated coconut and add the chicken thighs (including any juices of the chicken).
  11. Make sure the chicken thighs are covered by the liquid. Let it simmer for 25 minutes without cover, giving it a gentle stir every now and then.
  12. Serve with basmati rice either on the side or place the chicken on top of a bed of rice. Pour the sauce over the chicken and decorate with a sprinkle of chopped cashew nuts, spring onion and chili slices and some coriander leaves.

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