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Coconut Chicken Curry

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If you like chicken coconut curry, you are going to love this version I learned near Mumbai.

There are of course many different recipes for chicken coconut curry. This one is my favourite! There is so much going on in this coconut chicken curry that you are just going to have to experience it for yourself.

You will love all the different textures and flavours. From the crunchy fried cashews and grated coconut to the creaminess of the coconut milk, it is a must for any curry feast!

Coconut chicken curry

About this chicken coconut curry

This coconut chicken curry is bold on flavour and you will be amazed at how good it tastes for so little work. All of the ingredients blend together so nicely. You have crunchy cashews, sliced onions, and grated coconut that together with the base masala ingredients make magic in the pan actually happen. It’s a fantastic blend of flavours and is savoury, sweet, sour and a bit spicy. What more could you want in a homemade curry?

If you are looking for a curry that’s different and tastes amazing, this is one you need to try soon. I love the creaminess of the coconut milk which is slowly simmered to thicken. The chicken is of course the star ingredient and if you like chicken curries, you won’t be disappointed!

A version of this chicken coconut curry is in my cookbook ‘The Curry Guy One Pot’ which I call Mumbai Style Chicken Curry.

What do you serve with this coconut chicken curry?

There is so much going on in this sauce that very little is needed to make the perfect meal. I recommend serving this curry simply of plain white Basmati rice.

If you really want to make a feast out of it, why not try some homemade chicken samosas and homemade poppadoms together with your choice of chutneys?

Which chicken cuts are best for this curry?

That is really up to you. This time I used chicken breast meat. It looks nicer. If you are going for flavour though, you should really use chicken thighs, cut against the grain into bite sized pieces.

If you are on a budget, go ahead and use skinned chicken wings or legs. There’s a lot of delicious flavour in that meat too and it is a fraction of the cost of chicken breasts.

Useful kitchen equipment.

This is really a one pan curry. All you need is one good frying pan or wok to make it. You will also need a good grater for the freshly grated coconut.

Although you could use a pestle and mortar to grind the spices, Use a spice grinder if you have one. It’s quicker and a lot easier.

How long will this curry keep in the fridge?

You can store this chicken coconut curry in the fridge for at least three day. In fact, if you do, the flavours will develop and it will be even better.

Can you freeze this curry?

Yes but I don’t recommend doing so. It will still be good if you freeze it but coconut milk does not freeze well and you will lose some of the goodness in the original dish.

If you do want to work ahead and freeze this curry, leave the coconut milk out. You can then add it when you defrost it and heat it back up in the pan.

Pro Tips

  1. Adding the ingredients: Please add all the ingredients in the order they are added in the recipe card below. This will help ensure you get optimum flavour.
  2. Use the best ingredients: Only use the freshest ingredients you can get your hands on. The fresher they are the better your curry will taste.
  3. Let it rest: Although you can serve this chicken coconut curry immediately, if you have time, let it at least rest overnight to let the flavours develop.
  4. Cook it down to perfection: Be sure to simmer the sauce until you are happy with the consistency. This can either be a thick curry or one with a lot of sauce. That is up to you and you know what you like.


Step by step photographs

Ingredient for the curry

Get all your ingredients together before you start cooking. It’s easier that way.

The ground spice blend.

Place the whole spice blend spices in a pan and toast over a medium heat until warm to the touch and fragrant. Then blend to a fine powder. Set aside.

Toasting the cashews

Melt half of the ghee in your pan over medium heat and add the cashews. Stir them around in the pan for about 3 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Infusing spices and curry leaves into ghee in the pan.

Add the remaining ghee and add the whole spices and curry leaves. Allow their flavours to infuse into the ghee for about a minute.

Stirring in the chopped onions to brown in the hot ghee.

Stir in the chopped onions and fry for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.

Adding the garlic and ginger paste with the ground spices to the pan.

Add the garlic and ginger paste and chillies and stir well to combine.

Adding ground spices to the curry.

Stir in the ground spices. I added extra chilli powder but you can add that to taste. Stir in the tomato paste.

Adding the grated coconut

Stir in the grated coconut and let it brown in the pan for a few minutes.

Stirring in the chicken and adding chicken stock.

Add the chicken and stir it around in the pan until the exterior is turning white. Then add just enough water or chicken stock to cover.

Adding the coconut milk

Add the coconut milk and bring it all to a simmer. Continue simmering until you are happy with the consistency of the sauce.

coconut chicken curry

Season with salt to taste and also check for other seasoning. You can always cook in a little more chilli powder or a squeeze of lime juice.

If you like this chicken coconut curry, you might like to try some of these equally delicious chicken curries.

Chicken Majestic
Jamaican One Pot Chicken Curry
Chicken Methi Curry
Restaurant Style Chicken Chaat
Chicken Katsu Curry
Shahi Chicken Korma
Jeera Chicken
Chicken Changezi
Green Chilli Chicken Curry
Sri Lankan Chicken Curry
Restaurant Style Chicken Tikka Masala
Goan Chicken Vindaloo
Chinese Chicken Curry
Japanese Chicken Curry
Goan Chicken Curry

Have you tried this chicken coconut curry?

If yes, please give it a star rating in the recipe card below and leave a comment. I love receiving feedback and I’m sure other readers of my blog do too. Thank you.


Yield: 6 - 8

Coconut Chicken Curry

coconut chicken curry
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 1⁄2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1⁄2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1⁄2 star anise
  • Seeds from 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1⁄4 tsp ajwain seeds
  • 6 tablespoons ghee (use less if you like)
  • 75g (1⁄2 cup) cashews
  • 1 x 5cm (2in) cinnamon stick
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Indian bay leaf
  • 20 curry leaves
  • 2 red onions – 1⁄2 onion sliced thinly and the rest finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 2–4 green finger chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp prepared spice blend or
  • garam masala, shop-bought or
  • homemade (see page 259) 1–2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée (paste)
  • 45g (2oz) fresh coconut, grated
  • 4 skinned chicken breasts, cut diagonally against the grain into bite-sized pieces
  • 400ml (13⁄4 cups) coconut milk Salt, to taste


  1. Place the spice blend ingredients in a pan over a medium-high heat and toast, stirring continuously for about 40 seconds or until warm to the touch and fragrant. Transfer to a pestle and mortar or spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. Set aside. You could just substitute 2 teaspoons of garam masala, but this toasted spice blend will be better.
  2. In the same pan, melt half of the ghee and toss in the cashews. Fry them, stirring regularly over a medium-high heat until golden brown all over. This should only take about 3 minutes. Transfer the cashews to a plate and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining ghee to the pan and stir in the cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cardamom pods, cumin seeds, Indian bay leaf and curry leaves and temper them in the hot ghee for about 30 seconds. Stir in the finely chopped onions and fry for 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.
  4. Now add the garlic and ginger paste, green chillies, ground turmeric, the prepared spice blend or garam masala and chilli powder and fry to combine with the onions for about a minute. Stir in the tomato purée (paste) until it has combined with the other ingredients, and then add the grated coconut and continue frying and stirring for another minute.
  5. Add the chicken pieces and stir them around in the pan until they are beginning to turn white, and then and add just enough water or chicken stock to cover. Bring to a simmer over a medium-high heat.
  6. Add the coconut milk and cook for a further 7–10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Continue simmering over a medium heat until you are happy with the sauce consistency.
  7. Season with salt to taste. To serve, top with the roasted cashews and remaining sliced onion.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 360Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 245mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 6gSugar: 19gProtein: 13g

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Man's y

Wednesday 24th of January 2018

When do to I add the madras masala ?

Dan Toombs

Saturday 24th of February 2018

All fixed now. :-)



Sunday 26th of February 2017

Hi Dan, I love your recipes, have tried many! I made your Coriander and Coconut Chicken curry today, fabulous! I'd like to try this one, but: I noticed coconut milk in step 4 of the instructions, but not in the ingredient list. How much, a 400ml can? Or did I miss something...


Dan Toombs

Tuesday 28th of February 2017

Hi Peter

Thank you and thanks for noticing that I left that out. 400ml coconut milk is right. You could even add a little more if you want more sauce. You might need to adjust the seasoning though.

Thanks, Dan

Jenny Brady

Wednesday 11th of February 2015

This looks fab and given your mention of the film, which I am dying to see, this is going to be my curry and film night recipe for it :)

Ashleigh Allan

Monday 9th of February 2015

This sounds delicious - love coconut - definitely going to give this a try!


Sunday 16th of November 2014

I saw The One Hundred Foot Journey ... loved the movie and look forward to being inspired through your recipes!

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 5th of January 2016

Hi Amy

It was a great movie. I loved it too. Thanks for stopping by.


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