Sri lankan chicken curry

    1 hour

    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.

    24 people made this

    Serves: 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

    Prep: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 in English (16)


    This curry was fab  -  04 Jun 2017


    Exotic, spicy, delicious! I reduced the salt & pepper, instead just shaking them well over the chicken & marinade mixture while stirring. I didn't have everything on hand so omitted tamarind, curry leaves; subbed canola for coconut oil, used yellow onions and whole dried red chili peppers cause that's what I had... This was fabulous. I think the quality of the curry powder matters, the recipe calling for at least twice what I've ever used in one dish before. I used a Madras curry powder purchased at an Indian shop near my parish. Served this to company, everyone had seconds. Goes great with beer.  -  31 Dec 2010  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    This curry was one of the best and most delicious I've ever had. It was rich and had a wonderful blend of flavours. Definitely a keeper. The only thing I will do differently in the future is to cut down on the salt a tad. Thank you for sharing this recipe!  -  26 Sep 2010  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)

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