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Sri lankan chicken curry recipe

Sri lankan chicken curry recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Poultry
  • Chicken
  • Cuts of chicken
  • Chicken breast

This is a spicy chicken curry that we've been making in our family for years. Well worth the time and effort as the flavours are amazing.

45 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 400g boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind juice
  • 25g curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 4 green chillies, halved lengthways
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 12 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 (5cm) cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 120ml water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 3 tablespoons roasted curry powder (see note)
  • 200ml coconut milk

MethodPrep:25min ›Cook:35min ›Ready in:1hr

  1. Combine the vinegar, tamarind juice, Madras curry powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the sliced onion, green chillies, cardamom pods, cloves, curry leaves, ginger and cinnamon stick until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue cooking and stirring until the onion is very tender and dark brown, 15 to 20 minutes more. Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  3. Add the chicken mixture, water and tomato puree. Stir and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted curry powder and stir until evenly dispersed.
  4. Gradually stir in the coconut milk and simmer for 2-3 more minutes. (Do not overheat or the coconut milk may curdle.)


Roasted curry powder and tamarind juice are available in Asian supermarkets or online.

Fresh curry leaves:

If curry leaves are unavailable, you may substitute 2 bay leaves.

Roasted curry powder:

To roast your own curry powder, heat 3 tablespoons of curry powder in a dry frying pan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and slightly browned. Immediately transfer the spices to a bowl to cool.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(24)

Reviews in English (19)

What can I use instead of tamarind juice as I can only find tamarind paste - thank you xxx-01 Jan 2018

Beautiful curry, thank you.-31 Dec 2017

This curry was fab-04 Jun 2017

A Sri Lankan Chicken Curry Grounded in Memory

Creamy coconut milk and homemade spice blends run through this warming kukul mas maluwa, inspired by a grandmother’s cooking.

The fresh coconut milk that made my grandmother’s chicken curry creamy and rich came from the fruit of the tall palms around her house in Sri Lanka. To make it, she first had to scrape out the bright white meat with a coconut grater.

The rusty machine was screwed onto the side of a small table in her kitchen at the perfect height for a 10-year-old me to get involved. I cranked it by hand, making sure to turn the coconut shell often before any of its brown husk fell into the snowlike flakes.

From there, my aththamma poured warm water over the shredded coconut, kneading and squeezing it by hand to yield a thick, electric-white coconut milk. She would press the shreds a few more times with more water, to extract thinner milk, but that first pressing was gold. That milk was pure and smooth, thick and slightly sweet, with a subtle and clean coconut flavor. It was unlike any coconut milk I’ve ever tasted since.

After that was ready, she’d head to the garden to cut pieces of fresh rampe (also known as pandan) and curry leaves. With those treasures in hand, along with her own special blend of roasted and fresh spices, a few tomatoes and a chicken, she made the tastiest curry I’ve ever had. It was the curry that I asked for on my birthday, the curry that taught me what cooking from scratch really meant, and the dish I’ve wished I could make alongside her since her passing.

I never managed to write down my grandmother’s recipe while she was alive, but I’ve come up with the closest approximation of her kukul mas maluwa I could. I toast and grind some of the spices, just as I watched her do years ago. I added lemongrass and a bit of vinegar because Charmaine Solomon does in her terrific “The Complete Asian Cookbook,” and both impart a lovely, necessary brightness. All in all, I think she’d approve of my version.

While using coconut milk in chicken curry isn’t unique to Sri Lanka, it is the ingredient I associate most with our family trips back. I’m happy using canned coconut milk in my chicken curry, in the interest of time and weeknight sanity. My mother even uses powdered coconut milk.

But when I feel like channeling my grandmother, I make it the old way. I don’t have a hand grater, so I start by hammering a coconut into pieces and roasting them lightly in the oven until the shell loosens its grip on the meat. Using a vegetable peeler, I remove the last bits of brown shell, then toss all the coconut flesh into a high-speed blender with some water. I then squeeze the pulp through a few pieces of cheesecloth to extract the milk. It’s not simple, but it yields a divine milk worth the effort, perfect for an aromatic curry and so much more.

Cook Sri Lankan Curry Chicken | Easy | Spicy | KETO

Have you ever tried Sri Lankan Curry Chicken dish? If not, here is the best time to make it possible. Today, I am going to show you how to make the best and spicy Sri Lankan curry chicken recipe without tomatoes.

This is one of the easiest yet tastiest methods to prepare the chicken curry. Moreover, this specific recipe is suitable for KETO diet people.

Normally, people make this for lunch, but you can have this for dinner as well.

Alright, let’s see how to cook authentic Sri Lankan curry chicken with coconut milk.

My Favorite Combos

How To Cook Sri Lankan Curry Chicken

  • Chicken – 500g
  • Thin coconut milk – 250ml
  • Onion – 75g
  • Garlic cloves – 5 to 7
  • Ginger – Small piece (About the size of one big garlic clove)
  • Dried red chilies – 10 to 15
  • Curry leaves – Few
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
  • Fennel seeds – ¾ teaspoon
  • Black pepper – ½ teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds – ¼ teaspoon
  • Cardamom – 3 to 5
  • Crushed cinnamon – ¾ teaspoon
  • Coriander seeds – ½ teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds – ¼ teaspoon
  • Salt – As you need (KETO people use Himalayan Pink Salt)
  • Cooking oil – As you need (KETO people use Coconut Oil)

1. Take the chicken and cut it into your desired size pieces. Rinse them well for 2 or 3 times. Now, add turmeric powder and salt. Mix well and let them marinate for 30 minutes.

2. Heat the pan and dry roast dried red chilies, curry leaves, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, black pepper, cardamom, and cinnamon together under medium flame for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning.

3. Grind the dry roasted spices together to a dusting powder as shown in the picture.

4. Grind the garlic and ginger to a smooth paste as shown in the picture below.

5. Prepare thin coconut milk.

6. Get ready with chopped onion and mustard seeds. mustard seeds are optional, you can avoid them.

7. Heat the oil and add mustard seeds. Let them splutter. Then, add the onion and sauté until it turns into golden color. Afterward, add ginger and garlic paste. Stir and cook for 30 seconds.

8. Now add the marinated chicken pieces, mix, and cook covered under the high flame for 3 to 5 minutes.

9. Then, take off the lid and give a good gentle mix. Again cook covered under the medium flame for 3 to 5 minutes.

10. Now take off the lid and cook uncovered under the high flame until the chicken pieces get fry. Stir occasionally to avoid burning.

11. Once the chicken pieces turn into a light brown color, add the ground spice mix and the coconut milk. Cook covered under very low flame 8 to 10 minutes.

12. Finally, taste the curry and adjust salt if needed.

13. This is how to cook an easy Sri Lankan curry chicken without potatoes and tomatoes. Serve and enjoy this KETO friendly spicy chicken curry.


1. I preferred to use the chicken with bones for this recipe. If you don’t like bones, use boneless chicken.

2. I used instantly made ginger and garlic paste. If it is hard for you, use the bottled one.

3. I extract coconut milk from grated coconut. If it is hard to find grated coconut, use the coconut milk powder or bottled coconut milk.

4. If you don’t like spicy, reduce the amount of dried red chili according to your taste.


  • 1 kilo ( 2lbs.) chicken thighs cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 20 curry leaves (or so)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 onions - finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 onion - thinly sliced
  • 2 sweet green peppers
  • 3 green chilli peppers (whichever you prefer)
  • 20 cherry tomatoes - quartered
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1- 2 tablespoons finely ground black pepper (This should be to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 400ml ( 1 1/2 cups) coconut milk
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat the ghee in a large wok or pan until bubbling hot.
  2. Add the cinnamon, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, bay leaves and curry leaves.
  3. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the chopped onions and stir it all up.
  4. Fry the onions until they begin to brown and then add the green chillies, black pepper and other ground spices.
  5. Spoon in the garlic and ginger paste and soy sauce. Stir to combine.
  6. Stir in the chicken pieces and brown them for about five minutes.
  7. Add the sliced green peppers, tomatoes and sliced onions and cover the pot.
  8. Cook for five to ten minutes. As you do this the chicken and vegetables will release moisture. A pinch of salt will help in this process.
  9. To finish, pour in the coconut milk and simmer until you are happy. You can either serve this with a lot of sauce or reduce it down.
  10. Season with salt and perhaps a little more black pepper to taste.

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How to Make the Chicken Curry

Marinate: Marinate the chicken in curry powder, chilli, turmeric, vinegear and salt for atleast ten minutes. I marinate the chicken and then proceed to chop and prep the ingredients.

Cook: You sweat the onions, ginger and garlic – add tomatoes, marinated chicken, tomato paste or puree and water cook on high heat until the curry comes to boil.

Simmer: Once the curry comes to a boil you reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Add coconut milk and futher simmer for 10 minutes.


  • 4 chicken thighs
  • ½ an onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, sliced
  • 1 Knorr Chicken Cube
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2-3 cardamom seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind juice
  • 2 tablespoons roasted curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • Curry leaves & Rampe
  • Salt to taste


  • Heat coconut oil in a saucepan and add garlic, onion, green chilli, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, rampe and curry leaves. Sauté for a few minutes.
  • Add chicken thighs, Knorr Chicken Cube, turmeric, roasted curry powder, chilli powder, tamarind juice and coconut milk into the saucepan. Cook till the chicken is done and the gravy is thick.
  • Correct seasoning and pour curry into a serving bowl. Garnish with tomato wedges or thinly sliced green chillies on top (optional) and serve hot.

Chef’s Tip:

For the Love of Flavour

There is a special place in our heart for flavours inside carefully selected ingredients and spices

Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

"This is my answer to "what's your favourite chicken curry?". Sri Lankan curries are well known for their bright colours, spicy aroma, vibrant flavours & best of all for their unique taste. This is a traditional recipe which is practical & fit enough for modern cooking."

Full Video (How To Make Sri Lankan Chicken Curry)


For Marinate The Chicken

  • 600 Grams Chicken (cut in to pieces)
    • 1 Teaspoon Chili powder
      • 1 Teaspoon Curry powder
        • 1 Teaspoon Ground pepper
          • 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric powder
            • 1 Teaspoon Vinegar
              • 2 Teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
                • 1 Teaspoon Mustard (ground)
                  • 1 Teaspoon Tamarind juice (fresh)

                  For Preparing Chicken

                  • 1 Medium Red onion (finely chopped)
                    • 8 Clove Garlic (finely chopped)
                      • 6 Medium slice(s) Ginger (finely chopped)
                        • 5 Medium Curry leaves
                          • 1/2 Teaspoon Curry powder
                            • 1 Teaspoon Chili powder
                              • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin seeds
                                • 1/2 Teaspoon Fennel
                                  • 3 Small Cardamom pods (crushed a bit)
                                    • 1/2 Teaspoon Coriander seeds
                                      • 3 Small Clove
                                        • 1 Medium Tomato (cut in to pieces)
                                          • 4 Tablespoon Oil
                                            • 1 Cup Coconut milk (thick)
                                              • 1 Stick Cinnamon


                                              To Marinate the chicken

                                              Put the chicken pieces in to a large mixing bowl then add cury powder, turmeric powder, chili powder, ground pepper, vinegar, mustard, tamarind juice and salt & mix well all together. Let it marinate about 15 minutes.

                                              To prepare the chicken

                                              Heat up oil in a large sauce pan to a medium heat for 2 minutes.

                                              When the oil is hot anough add chili powder and curry powder in to the sauce pan and stir fry it for about 2 minutes (don’t let it burn).

                                              Then reduce the heat and add cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cardomom pods, cinnamon stick, curry leaves and cloves in to the pan stir and fry it for about 2 minutes. (note: as oil is hot the mixture can burn fairly quickly, so make sure stir it.)

                                              Then increase heat of the pan to medium high and add 3/4 onion, ginger and garlic in to the pan and mix wel fry it for about 3 minutes.

                                              Now add marinated chicken in to the sauce pan and mix well all together, fry chicken for about 15 minutes while stirring gently. Then add tomatoes, mix & let it cook for further 7 minutes.

                                              Then add coconut milk in to the sauce pan & reduce the heat, let simmer for about 10 minutes.

                                              When chicken curry start to get thick add remaining chopped onion in to the sauce pan and mix well together and remove the sauce pan from heat. Serve hot with rice, bread or string hoppers.


                                              Clean, cut, remove excess fat and wash the chicken parts thoroughly and drain any excess water.

                                              MARINATING THE CHICKEN.

                                              Place chicken parts(700g) in a large bowl.

                                              Add chillie powder, raw curry powder(1 and 1/2 tbs), roasted curry powder(1 tbs), salt to season, tamarind(1tsp), turmeric(1/2 tsp).

                                              Make sure to combine the ingredients well. if you are sensitive to spices please make sure to use disposable gloves or a spoon while mixing.

                                              Let the chicken marinate in these spices for 30-45 minutes.

                                              HOW TO SLOW COOK THE CHICKEN CURRY.

                                              Place a large cooking pan over low-medium heat and pour in the oil(3 tbs).

                                              Once the oil heats, add onions(1 large), curry leaves, green chillies(3), pandan leaf, ginger(1tbs), garlic(4 pods sliced), cinnamon(1-inch piece), cardamom(3)and temper the ingredients for 3-5 minutes or until the aroma is released. Once the spices are cooked, add mustard seed(1/2tsp)and temper until it pops.

                                              Maintaining low-medium heat, add the marinating chicken into the spices, combine thoroughly and slow simmer for 15-20 minutes or until there is less liquid.

                                              At this point decide if you want to fry the chicken slightly to lock in the spice flavors, to do this pour in a tablespoon of oil(not added in the ingredient list)to fry the chicken slightly for 5 minutes over low -medium fire or continue to the next step below if you prefer not to.

                                              Pour in the water, stir, check for seasoning and continue to slow simmer.

                                              How to thicken the curry gravy.

                                              15-20 minutes into cooking time, check the curry.

                                              Use a spoon to scoop a little gravy, raise it and slowly pour it back to the pan, if the gravy looks too waterish as you pour it back, add 1-2 tablespoons(not more)of coriander powder to thicken the gravy.

                                              As you slow cook the chicken you will notice the thin gravy gradually thicken and reduce(keep in mind that the gravy without coconut milk is still lighter and doesn&rsquot thicken to a sauce-like consistency).

                                              season with salt if needed.

                                              Slow cook the chicken curry for 45 minutes or until the correct consistency(as mentioned above)is reached, serve warm.

                                              Sri Lankan Chicken Curry Recipe with Coconut milk Tasty Recipe

                                              I never thought to make a Sri Lankan Chicken Curry Recipe in my kitchen. Because I don’t know about the food culture of Sri Lanka. But when I saw a celebrity chef Peter Kuruvitain in a cooking channel I am inspired by his Sri Lankan cooking. I became a big fan of Srilankan celebrity chef Peter Kuruvita. He is an excellent chef and he always shares old and authentic Sri Lankan recipes. His cooking always inspires me a lot to cook Sri Lankan recipe. He always shares the simple and easy way to cook Sri Lankan dishes.

                                              Sri Lankan Chicken Curry Recipe with Coconut milk Tasty Recipe

                                              And I also observed one thing that the recipes he cooks or the cooking style is more or less similar to south indian recipes. I believe, it is because a long decade before Srilanka was a part of south India. Maybe for this, we can see many south Indian influence in their cooking. From this inspiration, I started to find easy and tasty Curry dishes of Shri Lanka. I watched many videos, searched many websites to find a perfect recipe for me. After a long time, I find this recipe in a cooking magazine. Where an old lady shares her own Sri Lankan style chicken curry recipe. And I like the recipe a lot because it’s easy to make. So I am sharing this recipe with you.


                                              This Sri Lankan Chicken Curry Recipe is not a spicy curry chicken dish with coconut milk

                                              Sri Lankans use more coconut milk in their dishes as usually, south Indians do. As like in south India, coconut trees are grown much in Sri Lankan region. For this reason, they use coconut and coconut products more in their dishes. They use coconut milk or coconut cream in their every meat or vegetable stew or curry dishes. We all know coconut milk or coconut cream thicken any stew or curry dish naturally. Coconut milk or coconut cream always make tasty every dishes and stew whether the dish is a vegetarian dish or meat dish. When I used the coconut milk in this dish I find the coconut milk create a very mild coconutty flavour and add sweetness to the dish. Which tastes great with chicken. I always like coconut flavour in any recipe. Even I cook many dishes with coconut milk or coconut cream and share those recipes in my blog. All dishes are my favourite. This different but exotic chicken curry dish with coconut milk I am adding in the list. And hope as like me this chicken curry with coconut milk will become a favourite to you.

                                              What should you always remember when you are making this Sri Lankan chicken curry recipe?

                                              When I tried this recipe the first time, I find the aftertaste of the dish a little bitter not sweeter. Because I used more fenugreek seed powder in the dish.Which I did wrong. You shouldn’t do this. Fenugreek seed has it’s own natural bitter taste. Use it carefully when you are using this spice in a powder form. Always remember the use of other spices more in the dish may enhance the flavour of the dish. But the more use of fenugreek seeds can destroy your whole dish taste and flavour. When I made the same dish next time I used fenugreek seeds less and the after cooking tastes of the chicken curry was really wonderful. So I am sharing the exact amount of the fenugreek seeds I used in this chicken curry with coconut milk. You should always use the same amount of the seeds I have mentioned here. Then your Shri Lankan chicken curry with coconut milk will never give you an after bitter taste.

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                                              What cut of chicken to use?

                                              My mum always used the whole chicken cut into pieces, which means, the drumstick, thigh, chicken breast with bone in all of them which many households do. But after moving away from Sri Lanka, I only use chicken thigh cutlets, reason being, its a cheap cut, also succulent and good for flavour. and it’s easy to prepare especially when you need to take off the skin.

                                              Now some like to have the whole chicken thigh, drumstick in the curry, I cut up the chicken to large chunks this way the gravy absorbs to the meat very easily and also it needs less time cooking.

                                              Watch the video: Μελιτζάνες με κάρι και κοτόπουλο - Σρι λάνκα. Άκης Πετρετζίκης (July 2022).


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