A delicious creamy Indian chicken coconut curry with anti-inflammatory benefits, thanks to turmeric and ginger. This easy one-pot chicken curry is dairy-free without yogurt, just coconut milk for creaminess and optional green mango powder for a hint of sour and the perfect balance of sweet and sour.
Of course this quick one-pot curry is simplified compared to classic Indian food, but it’s delicious. Who doesn’t love a simple one pot dinner that doesn’t require any extra dishes being dirtied, or any fancy steps, plus just a few ingredients you already have?
Plus its great meal prep as it stays delicious the next day(s) and a double batch can always be made for the week.
A naturally gluten free dinner, its a perfect low fodmap, Paleo, keto, whole 30 dinner that is priority allergen free. It can be enjoyed with or without starch for thickening. its more of a curry stew, as depicted when without starch.
Unlike many curries, this curry is made without tomato and without dairy, but rather with coconut milk sauce as the creamy curry base. Its delicious!
Tip: I prefer a non-mild curry powder, mine isn’t spicy just full of spices for full bodied flavor, I use Simply Organic brand from whole foods, and i find the taste excellent, though you dont need organic, just a good mix of many spices.
2-3 tbsp oil, coconut oil (or garlic infused coconut oil and omit garlic)
1/2 Onion or sweet onion, finely diced, optional variation, i dont always use it
4 garlic cloves, miced (or omit if you use garlic infused coconut oil as your oil which adds an amazing taste)
2-2.5” piece of Ginger, peeled minced
700-800 g chicken breast or thighs, boneless skinless, chopped into bite sized pieces, patted dry
400 ml can of full fat coconut milk or coconut cream (for naturally thicker curry without much starch, use coconut cream)
1 1/3-1.5 tbsp quality curry powder (to taste depending how spicy your curry powder is and how spicy you like it. if using coconut cream instead of coconut milk use 1.5 or even 1 2/3 tbsp curry powder til its a nice yellow color, the color will bolden a bit as some coconut evaporates. For kid-friendly use just 1-11/4 tbsp. Of mild curry powder)
optional: 1/4 tsp cumin powder, if using cumin use no more than 1.5 tbsp. curry powder even with coconut cream (cumin can be slightly increased to 1/3 tsp if using coconut cream instead of coconut milk, as there is a little more creamy coconut per can of cream vs. a can of Coconut milk)
Optional: 1/3 of a teaspoon amchur/Green mango powder, (1/3-1/2 tsp adds sourness that cuts through the sweetness of curries very well to create the perfect balance of sweet n sour: sweet coconut and sour from green mango powder. Find it online or in stores with lots of Indian spices, I think even superstore has it. Or sub with more lime)
1 Celery rib, diced, optional
Red or orange Bell pepper,diced
handful of spinach, optional
Salt and pepper
Good dash Lime juice, for perfect balance of sweet and sour
Optional: pinch or two turmeric powder, if you need extra anti-inflammatory benefits, though there is some already in the curry powder.
If you like things spicy add a pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes
optional to thicken the curry, I usually skip it: 1 tsp of arrowroot starch or corn starch+bit of water to create a starch slurry before adding to curry (if using thawed chicken or adding broth as in the variation below, the starch can be increased slightly to 1 1/4-1/5 tsp)
Chicken curry stew/soup variation: I sometimes add a little bit of chicken broth or vegetable broth and enjoy it more as a stew rather than a thick curry. Increase the curry powder slightly if adding broth.
optional garnish: cilantro and 3 tbsp raw cashews, chopped
serve with: cooked rice and naan, lime wedges
Sprinkle the chicken with generous sea salt on both sides and lightly sprinkle one side with some of the curry powder (this isn’t necessary but gives curried flavor to the chicken).
(if using amchur powder it can clump up and be hard to dissolve once there are veg etc in the coconut milk, so you can first dissolve it in a small bowl with hot coconut milk or in a blender with some of the coconut. If blending you can also blend the garlic and ginger in which case only saute them very briefly.)
In a large pot warm the oil. Saute the chicken on each side for a total of about 3 minutes so its browned, but not fully cooked, then set aside on a plate. Add oil and warm. Sauté the onions and celery for 5-6 min, stirring often, sauteeing until the onion is golden. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric and remaining curry powder (to taste, using slightly more if using coconut cream vs. Coconut milk, until the coconut reaches a bold yellow, and as liquid evaporates it will become a little darker, the curry color is the simplest way to tell if there is enough curry powder when eyeballing it, it should not be super pale and milky) and add bell pepper and sauté for about one min more, stirring often so it wont burn. Add coconut milk, and amchur if using , bring to a boil, then turn down to low, stirring the amchur well so it dissolves and using an immersion blender if needed. Add back the chicken and simmer on low heat until chicken is cooked through and fork tender, a few mins.
If you want to thicken it into a curry (instead of a curry stew without starch) mix the starch with a tiny bit of water and stir to remove lumps then add starch slurry to the pot in the last few minutes add starch in the last few minutes, stirring well, or have it as a delicious curry stew without starch. Also curry is meant to be served over rice which will absorb some of the liquid.
Add spinach in the last minute and then let it wilt and sit once the heat is turned off for another minute or two.
If using cashews, heat a tiny bit of oil in a fry pan and toast them with salt on a frying pan for 2-3 minutes until golden.
have a taste for how sour/sweet you like it and serve with a dash of lime juice, this really cuts thru the sweetness of a coconut curry as well as the amchur. garnish with cilantro if desired. curry is great reheated too and great for meal prep.
Serve with basmati rice or keep it grain free and low-carb.
The great thing about this easy chicken curry in a hurry, is it only really requires curry powder if you don’t have other spices. Enjoy!