Spicy Coconut-Chicken Curry – Cookbook version

I am not a huge fan of curry, but this one I love as the fresh ingredients of the ginger, chopped tomatoes and cilantro really add a lot to this recipe. You can also adjust the heat by adding more/less of the cayenne pepper.

Spicy Coconut-Chicken Curry


  • 6-10 chicken thighs (also can use drumsticks)
  • salt
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 TBS curry powder, (preferably madras)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) chopped tomatoes
    • I also add 1-2 freshly chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz) light coconut milk
  • 1 cup frozen, thawed peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilanto leaves (optional)

Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Coat the bottom of a 5-7 quart dutch oven with a thin film of the oil and set over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add chicken, skin sides down, without crowding. (I often use multiple skillets or brown in batches). Cook until the skin is golden brown and chicken relases easily from the pot when lifted with tongs (about 5 minutes). Turn pieces over and cook until they brown and release easily on the other side, about 5 minutes longer. Remove chicken from heat and place on a platter.

Add the onion, garlic and ginger to a pot and cook, stirring until vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the curry powder, cumin, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook for 30 seconds until spices are fragrant, then stir in the tomatoes and 1 cup of coconut milk. Stir well and let come to a boil. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to the pot; chicken should be surrounded by sauce, but not submerged in it, so that the topmost skin is exposed.  (Add more coconut milk if not enough liquid).

Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until chicken is opaque at the bone, about 45 minutes. Stir in the peas and cilantro and cook until peas are hot, about 5 minutes more.

**¬†Adapted from “Braises and Stews” cookbook

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