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Coconut Curry Chicken with Chicken Drumsticks

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Chicken drumstick curry

I absolutely love this coconut chicken curry. Hope you give it a try. You can also use other cuts of chicken.

I only needed to take a quick look at the ingredients of this coconut chicken curry recipe to know that my family would love it.

It’s spicy but not overly so and there are no fancy or difficult to find ingredients. This is Bengali comfort food at its best and it only takes about 35 minutes to make.

Like many coconut chicken curry recipes I post here on my blog, this one was sent to me by a new Twitter friend Nesan. Nesan, (@ttnesan) on Twitter made this curry for his family and I couldn’t wait to make it for mine.

I did change it slightly because of ingredients I had on hand but I think it’s still pretty close to the real deal.

Make this coconut chicken curry your own.

I love curries like this that use cheaper cuts of meat like chicken drumsticks.

Cooking the chicken on the bone adds a lot of flavour and the leg meat is naturally tasty. Chicken legs in sauce may be a bit more difficult to eat but you can serve me them instead of breast any day.

That said, feel free to use the chicken cuts you want or happen to have on hand. For example, chicken thighs work really well.


Nesan’s recipe didn’t call for curry leaves or mustard seeds but I had some on hand so I threw them in. I also stirred in about 100g of block coconut because a love a bit of coconut in a curry.

You could use coconut milk but I prefer the block coconut in this recipe.

I read a lot of cookbooks but it’s the authentic recipes that are sent to me through social media and email that I enjoy making most.

There’s something about cooking a recipe that is recommended by someone who is passionate about it.

Do you have a coconut chicken curry recipe you would like me to try? Please don’t hesitate to send it! It might just end up here on my blog or in one of my cookbooks.

Making chicken drumstick curry

Roasting the whole spices. This is a simple but very good spice blend.

Making chicken drumstick curry

Tempering the mustard seeds and curry leaves in the hot oil.

Making chicken drumstick curry

Stirring in the garlic, ginger and chilli paste.

Making chicken and drumstick curry

In goes the onion and tomato paste.

If you like a good chicken and coconut curry, here are a few more recipes you might like to try:

Sri Lankan Black Pepper Chicken Curry
Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk
Simple Chicken Curry (no coconut in this one but you can add coconut milk to taste.)
Authentic Curry House Style Chicken Korma

Making chicken drumstick curry

The spice blend gets added with the chicken legs.

Making chicken drumstick curry

Optional but very tasty extra… block coconut

Chicken drumstick curry

just stir in the coconut and let it melt into the sauce.

Chicken drumstick curry

Let the sauce simmer and thicken for about 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Chicken drumstick curry

Dig in!

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Yield: 4 - 6

Bengali Chicken Drumstick Curry

Bengali Chicken Drumstick Curry
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 15 chicken legs - skinned with shallow slits cut into the meat
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 5 dried Kashmiri chillies - more or less to taste
  • 7 cloves garlic - smashed
  • 1 x 2" piece of ginger - roughly chopped
  • 2 large onions - roughly chopped
  • 1 large tomato - diced
  • 4 tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • 2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 20 fresh or frozen curry leaves
  • 1 small bunch fresh coriander - finely chopped
  • 100g block coconut
  • Salt to taste


  1. Mix the chicken legs with the turmeric so that the legs are evenly coated with the turmeric. Set aside.
  2. Place the cumin, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and chillies in a frying pan and toast over medium high heat until warm and fragrant. Be careful not to burn them.
  3. Using a spice grinder or pestle and mortar, grind all of these spices except for the chillies into a powder.
  4. Place the garlic, ginger and toasted red chillies in a small food processor and blend with a little water into a paste. Set aside.
  5. Now blend the onion and tomato together to form another paste.
  6. Heat the oil in a large pan or wok. When bubbles begin to form, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to pop, toss in the curry leaves.
  7. Let these sizzle for about 30 seconds and then stir in the garlic, ginger and chilli paste.
  8. Fry, stirring continuously until oil begins to form on top and then pour in the onion/tomato paste mixture.
  9. Fry all this for about a minute and then add the chicken legs and the spice masala you made.
  10. If using block coconut, stir this in with most of the chopped coriander.
  11. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce thickens and the chicken is cooked through.
  12. Check for seasoning and add salt to taste and serve with plain white rice.

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Wednesday 2nd of November 2022

Brilliant recipe- utterly delicious. Can’t imagine it without the curry leaves or coconut 🤷🏼

Dan Toombs

Thursday 3rd of November 2022

Thanks very much, one of my favourites too! Dan

Jairaj Mulay

Sunday 10th of March 2019

Is it okay to use coconut milk instead of block coconut? If yes how much of the milk? Btw the dish looks delicious.

Dan Toombs

Saturday 16th of March 2019

Hi Jairaj

Sure is. Try about 200ml thick coconut milk. You could add a little more or less to taste.

Thanks, Dan


Friday 22nd of February 2019

Will omitting the coconut make much difference? Is there a substitute you suggest? I am allergic to coconut.

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 26th of February 2019

Hi Nata

The coconut plays a big part in the flavour of this dish. That said, you could leave it out and it will still taste great.

Thanks, Dan


Tuesday 29th of January 2019

Am trying this today as the grandchildren are eating and don't like too much spice in their food. Am sure it will turn out nice

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 26th of February 2019

Great to hear. Thank you.



Sunday 9th of September 2018

No yogurt is added? And can I substitute a few bay leaves for the Curry leaves?

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 18th of September 2018

Hi Clare

Just add the yoghurt at the end if you want to. You could make this recipe without. Curry leaves have a completely different flavour to bay leaves. If you can't find curry leaves, just leave them out. That said, look for them and use them if you can. They add a lot of flavour to the curry.

Thanks, Dan

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