I’ll be honest, my Zesty Coconut chicken curry is my go-to recipe when I have more veggies in my fridge than I know what to do with; this coconut chicken curry is my way of treating simple and possibly slightly tired verbs, fresh spices and greens with the love and respect they deserve. Through this dish, such veggies get transformed into something that is loved and consumed with much joy and enthusiasm. Drawing my inspiration from Thai Green Curry and playing on its similarities to Indian cookery in terms of the technique and ingredients, I imagine this curry emerge out of many Indian kitchens with much ease. In fact, I am almost sure that this is what my grandma would have made if I had showed her a picture of Thai Green Curry and told her that I wanted some 🙂 While the taste and the flavour differs immensely due to the herbs and spices used here, it does deliver the same freshness and comforting richness that we expect from a Thai Green Curry. And, because it that, this recipe harmoniously exists in my repertoire with its Thai sister and is often reached for when I want something nutritious that’s easy to put together, feels familiar, packs tons of flavour and feels suitable for any time of the year…
Chicken and the marinade
- 700 grams of skinless bone-in chicken cut into large curry cut pieces; Halved thighs and drumsticks are my favourite. You could also use about 800 grams of chicken with skin and crisp up the skin in the oven for a lovely crispy garnish
- 1/2 tsp of salt and another pinch or two as needed
- About 1/2 – 1 tsp ground white pepper powder
- Juice from a lime; add half of the juice in the marinade and the rest to finish as needed
For the curry paste
- 4-5 green chillies
- Rind or zest from a lime; you could use 2-3 Makrut lime leaves instead if you have them
- 30 grams of garlic or about 10 large cloves or garlic
- 20 grams of ginger or 1.5 square inch piece
- Stems of a bunch of coriander leaves
- 10 grams of roasted peanuts (optional)
For the final cooking
- 2-3 tbsp of any cooking oil; I love coconut oil here
- 1tbsp coriander seeds, coarsely ground
- 1 tsp of cumin seeds, coarsely ground
- 1 stick of cinnamon or cassia bark
- About 200 grams of green onions or scallions; you could easily use 150 grams of white onions and 50 grams of top green half of green onions or chives
- 1 tsp of garam masala
- 150-200 ml of coconut milk
- 300 ml of water
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Handful of any veggies or greens of your choice
Garnish choices (I recommend using all of the herbs, the zest or lime wedges, one source of heat, the fried onions and at least one kind of crispy-crunchies)
- Coriander leaves
- Finely sliced green onions
- Chilli flakes
- Finely sliced chilles
- Lime zest
- Lime wedges
- Fried onions
- Roasted peanuts
- Crispy chicken skin
- Prawn crackers
- Marinate the chicken with salt, ground white pepper and lime juice while prepping the rest of the ingredients.
- Finely slice the bottom white part of green onions to sauté until softened, chop the middle part into 1.5 inch pieces and finely slice the top green part to use as garnish.
- Add all of the ingredients for curry paste into a food processor and blend into a fine paste; add a little splash of water if needed to help the processor blend all of the ingredients as finely as possible.
- Once all of the ingredients are prepped and ready to go, add 2-3 tbsp of oil into a deep pan and once hot, add in the ground cumin and coriander seeds and the stick of cinnamon and fry for 1 minute or so until golden and aromatic.
- Once done, add in the finely sliced white of green onions and a pinch of salt and sauté over medium heat until softened and the oil starts to seperate.
- Then, add in the curry paste and saute over medium heat until all of the moisture has evaporated and it’s fully cooked through; stir every few minutes to ensure it doesn’t catch but you do want some fond to develop; it adds tons of flavour to the dish.
- Then add in the chicken and the garam masala and stir everything to combine over medium- high heat.
- You will observe that the chicken will release quite a bit of its juices; simmer away with the lid on over medium heat stirring every 3-5 minutes until juices have thickened, the oil starts to separate and the chicken starts to fry gently; you want some fond to develop which you want to stir into the chicken; it really intensifies the flavour of this dish.
- Once the chicken golden and flavourful, pour in the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes or so.
- Then add in the water and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until the chicken is fork tender and the curry is thick to your liking.
- Adjusting with a bit of salt, sugar or lime juice as needed, add in your choice of vegetables and simmer covered for 5 minutes or so until the vegetables are cooked through.
- Stir in a few coriander leaves and sliced spring onions and place the lid on until you are ready to eat.
- Serve hot over steamed rice with lots and lots of garnish (I recommend using all of the herbs, some zest or/and slices of lime, at least one source of heat, the fried onions and at least one kind of crispy-crunchies) for a truly satisfying meal.
Quick recipe for crispy chicken skin
- Preheat the oven at 180 C fan.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the chicken skin as flatly as possible ensuing that the chicken skin don’t touch; you absolutely could pat the skin dry to help them crisp up faster.
- Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until all of the fat has rendered and the skin is crispy and beautifully golden.
- Serve as a garnish with your curry or treat them as your chef’s treat as you prepare this beautiful curry for your loved ones 🙂