Very mildly spiced with few basic ingredients, this Coconut Chicken Curry is creamy smooth to the palate chicken curry. As the chicken slow cooks, the kitchen gets filled with the citrus aroma of curry leaves and sweet coconut milk. An unbeatable flavor blend! Paired with steamed rice, this slow cooked chicken in coconut milk will warm you inside out.
The recipe credit goes to my best friend Vijitha, who can cook some seriously delicious South Indian food. She had cooked this chicken curry in a cast iron pan, which gave a gorgeous caramelized color. So if you have one, surely use that. But even without a cast iron pan, the curry comes out rustic and so hearty.
INGREDIENTS needed for the Slow Cooked Chicken in Coconut Milk:
Chicken cubes (preferably with a mix of boneless and bones-in) : If you want to use boneless only, then use only chicken thigh as it has fats which helps to keep the chicken pieces juicy.
Ginger, garlic and fresh curry leaves - I like to marinate the chicken with finely chopped garlic, ginger and fresh curry leaves. You can use store bought garlic ginger paste too.
Onion and Tomato - The gravy is onion and tomato based that is cooked to softened before adding the marinated chicken pieces.
Spices - Fennel seeds and Fennel powder adds a lovely aroma to the curry, and it goes so well with the coconut milk. Apart from that, you need green cardamoms, coriander powder, chili powder and turmeric powder.
Coconut Milk - An entire can of coconut milk is used and based on how much gravy you would prefer, you can add more coconut milk or water to thin out the consistency of the curry.
Coconut Oil for the best coconut flavor. You can use other kind of vegetable oil too if you don’t have coconut oil.
STEPS to prepare the Coconut Chicken Curry
1- Finely chop few garlic cloves, fresh ginger and fresh curry leaves. I prefer using fresh as it gives the best aroma.
2- Use a mix of boneless and bone-in chicken pieces and marinate the chicken pieces with the chopped garlic, ginger and curry leaves. Also add lemon juice and season with salt. I prefer to marinate chicken overnight or at least for 4 hours.
3- I prefer to cook the chicken in a cast iron pan or pot, as it really helps to caramelize the color of the chicken gravy. Heat coconut oil and then add fennel seeds along with green cardamoms. Let it sizzle for a while.
4- Scatter the sliced onion, turmeric powder and salt. Let the onion cook for a while.
5- Then add the diced tomato, the ground spices and let the onion and tomato softened down to a jam like consistency.
6- Add the marinated chicken pieces and stir it around to mix everything evenly.
7- Let the chicken pieces sear for a few minutes.
8- Pour the coconut milk, few more fresh curry leaves, and mix it around. Bring the heat to medium low, cover the pan and let it slow cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
9- You will notice the color of the chicken curry changing to dark caramelized color. The texture will also change to thick, creamy consistency. Check for salt once done and add more if needed. You can add a few more fresh curry leaves at the end, and a little bit of lemon juice to balance the taste.
Its true chicken doesn’t take that much time to cook, but in this particular dish, the slow cooking in coconut milk makes the chicken pieces extremely tender. Melting in mouth delicious!
I made this curry several times, and it turns out delicious every time. The curry has a lot of gravy, which is so good with rice. There are several different kinds of chicken curry with coconut milk, but this one is truly unlike any I ever tasted. It’s a keeper, and you will love it too.
I love South Indian flavored dishes! If you do too, and then try these dishes below:
Slow Cooked Chicken in Coconut Milk
- 4 Garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 1 inch Fresh ginger (finely chopped)
- Handful of fresh curry leaves (finely chopped half of it and leave whole few of the leaves)
- 2 teaspoon Salt (to marinate the chicken pieces )
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1.5 lb Chicken cubes (mix of boneless and bones in)
- 1 Medium size red onion (6oz) (Thinly sliced)
- 1 Tomato (6oz) (tiny diced)
- 2 tablespoon Coconut Oil
- 1 Can Coconut milk
- 2 teaspoon Fennel seeds
- 4 Green cardamoms
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric
- 1 teaspoon Fennel powder
- 1 tsp Coriander powder
- ½ tsp Chili powder
- Few cilantro leaves to garish at the end
- Place the chicken cubes in a mixing bowl and marinate it with salt, lemon juice and chopped garlic, ginger and curry leaves. Let the chicken marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- In a heavy bottom pan on medium heat, add the cardamoms. Stir it around.
- Scatter the sliced onion, salt, turmeric and stir it around for 2 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomato, fennel powder, coriander powder, chili powder stir it around and cook for 2 minutes or until the tomato and onion mixture looks sticky jam like consistency.
- Add the marinated chicken and stir it around to mix everything. Let it sear for 2 minutes.
- Pour the coconut milk and few more fresh curry leaves. Mix it around and let it simmer in medium low heat for 35 to 40 minutes. Stir in between to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
- After 40 minutes, the gravy will look creamy smooth and will love very vibrant. Taste for salt and add more if needed.
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice, garnish with few cilantro leaves and serve it warm with rice.