Curry chicken is a distinct craving for many people and a popular take-out option for many more. It’s very easy to create at home, too! We got this tasty, super easy to follow chicken curry recipe from Susan Olayinka, recipe developer and food blogger at The Flexible Fridge. When we asked her about the backstory behind this chicken curry recipe, we learned it’s all in the family. "My family and I are massive curry lovers. For us it’s all about the sauce for a meal," she says. We agree with Olayinka. A good curry base can make almost any item taste delicious, especially if you use her recipe.
For this chicken curry recipe, you’ll need to find a fairly large pot. Besides the actual food ingredients, that’s about it. One-pot meals are the best, right? You could also make this a vegetarian curry if you wanted to sub the chicken with tofu or cauliflower, as the curry sauce is the secret, well, sauce that makes this dish shine no matter the protein. Read on for details on whipping up this chicken curry perfection.
Gather the chicken curry ingredients
The first step in any kitchen success story is getting all your ingredients prepped and ready. Seriously, learning how to set up a good mise en place isn’t just for culinary school stars. It will also make your life much easier. So, take a few minutes to measure, chop, and dice beforehand.
For this chicken curry recipe, gather a pound and a half of chicken breast, two tablespoons of medium spiced curry powder, half a tablespoon of garam masala powder, 1/8 teaspoon of chili flakes, one 13.5-ounce can of full-fat coconut milk, 1/4 cup of water, one chicken stock cube, one bell pepper, three garlic cloves, a 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, and one medium-sized onion.
Before cooking, be sure to dice the onion and garlic and slice the bell pepper into thin strips. You’ll also grate your fresh ginger into an aromatic paste. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. As always, we recommend reserving a separate cutting board just for raw meats and thoroughly cleaning it afterward. Meanwhile, you might be wondering what type of curry powder to use, so we checked with Olayinka. She reports that "any mild curry powder" will do, so long as it has "just enough spice to suit the whole family."
Put the chicken breast slices in the pot
After all your ingredients are good to go, the next step in this chicken curry recipe is to sear the chicken breasts prior to adding anything else. Heat the olive oil in the pot at a medium setting. Once the oil is hot (if a drop of water sizzles when it hits the pot, it’s ready), add the chicken pieces and gently stir. The chicken will continue to cook throughout this entire process so, in this first step, the main goal is to just make sure none of the pieces are visibly pink on the surface.
Insider tip: if you’ve put all the chicken in the pot and see a few pieces that aren’t as "bite-sized" as you’d like them to be, use kitchen shears to carefully cut the larger chunks down to size. This way, you won’t have to take them out of the pot again. Kitchen shears are the secret weapon of any kitchen, in our humble opinion.
Add garlic, onions, ginger, and peppers to the pot for chicken curry
When none of the chicken pieces appear pink anymore, it’s time to add the next batch of ingredients. Carefully add the diced onions, ginger, garlic, and peppers to the pot. You will then stir them for about two to three minutes, until the onions are soft and golden brown. The scent coming out of that pot should be fragrant, though stay nearby and periodically stir the mixture so the smell isn’t enough to make you wonder if something is burning in your home. A wooden spoon or spatula is a good tool for this while still being kind to your pan’s coating.
And yes, you aren’t alone if you think that sautéing onions can be tricky, but a couple of simple tricks will help you along. Out of onions but have everything else? Cooking for someone who detests regular ol’ chopped onion in anything ever? Don’t worry, as we’ve got solutions for those dilemmas too since onion substitutes are an option. That said, the real thing will make this chicken curry recipe really shine.
Stir in the spices for the chicken curry
After the onions, garlic, and peppers have softened and taken on a golden hue, you will stir in the curry powder, chili flakes, and garam masala powder. Make sure to try and coat all of the other ingredients already in the pot with the spices. Everything will gain an even deeper golden tone after you’ve mixed in these spices. There’s nothing worse than clumps of spice on certain hunks of chicken, then pieces are bland because they didn’t get any spice covering at all.
As you can see, there are not a lot of spices required for this chicken curry recipe, because curry powder is such a powerhouse in and of itself. As Olayinka explains, "Curry powder is my secret weapon for a sauce as you get nine for the price of one. Most curry powders contain something along the lines of coriander, turmeric, cumin, cassia, chile, black pepper, fennel, ginger and all-spice. So, with just one powder used, you’re getting all the flavor from many spices."
Pour coconut milk, water, and stock into the pot for chicken curry
Now it’s time to liquify the curry a bit. After coating the chicken, garlic, onion, ginger, and bell peppers with curry, garam masala, and chili flakes, add the full-fat coconut milk. Shake the can of coconut milk before you open it to make sure the liquid is fully incorporated. And if you forget to shake it, and don’t realize it until you open it, be sure to gently stir it a bit before pouring it into the pot. It can separate in the can and not come out as smoothly if you skip this. And, yes, you should definitely buy the canned kind in the inner aisle, not the version found in the cartons in your store’s dairy section.
Once the coconut milk has been thoroughly stirred in with everything, you’ll add 1/4 cup of water, followed by the cube of chicken stock. Mix everything together until all your liquids have combined evenly.
Simmer the chicken curry on low heat
The next part requires very little effort on your end. All you gotta do now is cover the pot of chicken curry and simmer it for about 20 minutes on low heat. Try to make sure the lid stays tightly on throughout the entire process if you want the curry to cook quickly and efficiently. Before you take the curry off the stove, check to make sure the chicken is cooked through. It should be fully cooked at this point but, just to be safe, fork out a piece and cut into it to confirm that there are no raw pink centers left in your chicken pieces.
While the chicken curry is simmering, you can prepare the rice, if you’re planning to serve that on the side. Jasmine or basmati rice complements curry dishes well. Naan bread is also a delicious accompaniment to this chicken curry recipe and available at most major grocery stores.
Serve the chicken curry over rice
After the curry is done simmering and you’ve ensured the chicken is cooked through completely, it’s time to serve up this dish. As previously mentioned, the chicken curry can be served alone or over rice, on a plate, or in a bowl. Once you’ve plated the chicken curry, top it with an optional sprinkling of nigella seeds before serving.
What’s so special about nigella seeds, anyway? "Nigella adds another depth of flavor to the curry. It has an onion-like scent and taste," Olayinka explains. If you haven’t heard of nigella, fret not, as they are easy to find. "Check Asian stores if you can’t find it at regular supermarkets," Olayinka says. You can also top your chicken curry with chili flakes and sliced green onions.
This chicken curry should keep in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to four days. We think it’s the ideal dish for leftovers or meal prepping for a busy week.
Curry chicken is a popular take-out option for many people. Now, you can also make this delicious meal at home with this recipe from blogger Susan Olayinka
- 1 ½ pounds chicken breast
- 2 tablespoon medium spiced curry powder
- ½ tablespoon garam masala powder
- ⅛ teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 13.5-ounce can of coconut milk
- ¼ cup water
- 1 chicken stock cube
- 1 bell pepper
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2-inch piece of ginger
- 1 medium onion
- Nigella seeds
- Green onion, sliced
- Chili flakes
- Slice chicken breast into bite-sized pieces.
- Heat oil on medium heat in the pot. Add the chicken and stir carefully until the pieces are no longer visibly pink.
- Add the chopped garlic, chopped onion, grated ginger, and sliced bell pepper to the pot. Stir until fragrant and golden-hued.
- Add the curry powder, chili flakes, and garam masala powder to the pot. Stir to coat all the ingredients with spices.
- Add coconut milk and stir.
- Add water and stir.
- Add the stock cube and stir until liquids are completely combined.
- Cover the curry and simmer for 20 minutes on low heat. To ensure that chicken is fully cooked, remove a piece and cut through, ensuring that there are no raw pink spots left in the center.
- Top with nigella seeds, green onion, and chili flakes for optional garnish.