Skip to Content

Chicken Ceylon

Sharing is caring!

Chicken ceylon served in a half hour!

chicken ceylon

This chicken ceylon tastes even better when slowly cooked for an hour!

Chicken ceylon is a difficult one to get right! I’m not saying that this recipe is in any way difficult, it’s not. But there are so many different and gorgeous recipes for this dish that I’m going to leave it up to you to make it to your own tastes.

My measures are therefore just suggestions. This is the way I like my chicken ceylon after much experimentation.

Sometimes I add a bit of block coconutto my chicken ceylon recipe.
I love the flavour of the sweet coconut and hot chilies together. I often add a bit of block coconut to the mix as well. I didn’t want to over-coconutise you so I left it out of this quick recipe.

Chicken ceylon is a Sri Lankan curry which uses a special chili powder. I just use Kashmiri chili powder. If you want a bit more kick, try using Mr Naga like they do at a few of my local Indian restaurants. It’s available at Asian markets.

You might already know that chicken ceylon is meant to be quite spicy. If you aren’t a spicy food fan, just reduce or omit the chilies and chili powder for a delicious mild version.

The Curry Guy Easy

Over 100 new recipes!

The Curry Guy Cookbook

Best Seller! Over 100 Curry House Recipes.

Waterstones logo

International & UK Orders

Book Depository logo

Yield: 4

My 30 Minute Quick Chicken Ceylon

My 30 Minute Quick Chicken Ceylon

Coconut fans will want to use coconut oil if you can find it.


  • 800g skinned chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
  • 80ml vegetable, coconut or rapeseed oil
  • 1 medium onion - finely chopped
  • 4 green chilies (or to taste) - finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black onion seeds (nigella seeds)
  • 12 fresh or frozen curry leaves
  • 1 lemongrass, stem bruised
  • 1 tablespoon garlic puree
  • 1 tablespoon ginger puree
  • 1 tablespoon red chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste or 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 400ml creamed coconut
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped coriander


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
  2. When hot, throw in the mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  3. The mustard seeds will begin popping. When they do, add the chopped onion.
  4. Fry for about five minutes until the onion is translucent and soft.
  5. Now add the ginger and garlic purees along with the chopped chillies.
  6. Give it all a good stir to combine and then add the chicken pieces along with the ground spices and onion seeds.
  7. Brown the chicken for a couple of minutes and then add the coconut milk and the bruised lemongrass.
  8. Stir in all together. You may need to add a drop of water or chicken stock to just cover the chicken.
  9. Cover the pan and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes until the chicken is completely cooked through.
  10. Stir in the tamarind paste or vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Serve topped with the chopped coriander.

Did you like this recipe?

Please join me on Facebook where I share all my latest recipes and videos. Just click that Facebook icon on the left and let's get to know each other!



Tuesday 7th of May 2013

I know what you mean about the coconut and chilli - that's a combination I really like, too! I'll give this a whirl!

Tim Collard

Thursday 16th of June 2022

@Dan Toombs, hello Dan, cooking this tomorrow for 8 people prep all done today, however, I am going to use your YouTube recipe as I have the mixed powder and the home made base sauce. Hopefully it goes well 🤞🏻

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 8th of May 2013

Great! Thanks. Hope you like it.


Julie Dunham

Friday 3rd of May 2013

I wish your books were available on Amazon USA. Any chance!

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 8th of May 2013

They are! Go to and type in Dan Toombs. All three are there for download.

Thanks Dan

Skip to Recipe

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!