This Indian inspired Chicken Curry has the creamiest tomato coconut sauce and is surprisingly easy to make. Serve it over a bed of basmati rice with a slice of garlic naan – YUM!
Indian food is my favorite. Seriously, I love the flavors and the spice. I don’t think I’ve met an Indian dish I didn’t like.
Trevor and I love to get Indian take-out pretty frequently so I thought, why not save some money and make my own Indian-inspired recipe? And that’s how this chicken curry recipe was born!
And it’s DELICIOUS!
The spice blend is key to this recipe! You may not have all of them on hand, but you’ll be able to find any or all of the spices at your local grocery store.
- Olive Oil – a lightly flavored oil used to keep the onion from sticking to the pan.
- Onion – adds a sweet, caramel flavor.
- Garlic – gives that slightly nutty flavor.
- Curry Powder, Garam Masala, Ground Ginger, Paprika, Cinnamon, Cayenne Pepper, and Salt – our blend of spices that provide this dish with Indian inspired flavors.
- Bay Leaf – adds a deep, earthy layer of flavor. Bay leaves aren’t edible, so be sure to remove before serving!
- Brown Sugar – cuts the acidity of the tomato paste by adding sweetness.
- Chicken Breast – chicken thigh will work as well but may take longer to cook.
- Tomato Paste – adds a rich, concentrated tomato flavor.
- Coconut Milk – provides a sweet taste and ultra creamy texture. Bonus: it keeps this dish dairy free!
- Lemon Juice – adds a bit of acidity and tang.
- Cilantro – adds freshness.
- Basmati Rice and Garlic Naan – classic side dishes for serving!
How to make
Indian dishes are known for their rich, deep, complex flavors! You’d be surprised just how easy my Indian inspired chicken curry is to make.
- Cook onion in a large non-stick skillet.
- Stir in garlic, spices, brown sugar, and bay leaf and cook until fragrant.
- Add in chicken, tomato paste, and coconut milk and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
- Remove bay leaf, stir in lemon juice, and serve with cilantro, rice, and/or naan!
Can you use chicken thigh?
You can! If you prefer the texture of chicken thigh to chicken breast feel free to swap it out. However, be sure to use a boneless, skinless variety and you may want to trim the excess fat. Cook time may vary.
I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, because that’s what I always have on hand, but many people find that boneless, skinless chicken thighs are more tender and *bonus* they’re often cheaper.
How to thicken the sauce
If your sauce is too thin, make a cornstarch slurry (try 1 tablespoon cornstarch whisked with 1-2 tablespoons water), stir it into the sauce, then simmer until it’s reached your desired texture.
How to make vegan
All the ingredients in this recipe are vegan except the chicken so it’s incredibly easy to make a vegan curry instead. Simply swap the chicken for equal parts cubed extra firm tofu or chickpeas instead! (*not tested)
If using chickpeas, I suggest adding them in the last 5-10 minutes of cook time so they don’t get overly mushy. (*not tested)
Is chicken curry healthy?
It sure is! This chicken curry recipe is packed with lean protein from the chicken, healthy fat from the coconut milk, and a ton of good for you spices.
1 serving of curry contains about 500 calories, 35 grams of fat, 13 grams of carbs, and 39 grams of protein.
- Spice it up. If you love spice as much as I do, add more cayenne pepper.
- Make it richer. Try adding in a dollop or two of coconut cream for an even creamier sauce.
- Use other proteins. Beef, lamb, pork, turkey, shrimp, tofu, or chickpeas. Take your pick!
- Add more veggies. I love to further health-ify this dish by serving it alongside veggies like roasted broccoli, carrots, peas, mushrooms, and/or potato.
- Add some crunch. Garnish with some halved cashews or even peanuts for a crunchy twist.
What to serve with chicken curry
Serve this chicken curry over a bed of long-grain basmati rice and some homemade naan. It’s the perfect, well-rounded, flavorful, and delicious meal!
You could also whip up a batch of these homemade samosas for a delicious appetizer!
How to store
Store any leftover chicken curry (separated from the rice and/or naan) in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Reheat on the stove or in the microwave!
Equipment for this recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3-4 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper more or less to taste; omit if you don't like spice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar more or less to taste
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cubed
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 (15 oz can) full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- cilantro for garnish
- basmati rice for serving
- garlic naan for serving
- Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
- Once hot, add in onion and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Stir in garlic, curry powder, cinnamon, paprika, garam masala, ginger, salt, cayenne, bay leaf, and brown sugar.
- Cook for 30-60 seconds or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Stir in chicken, tomato paste, and coconut milk.
- Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked, stirring occasionally.
- Remove bay leaf and stir in lemon juice.
- Serve with cilantro, rice, naan, and enjoy!
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.