Coconut Chicken Curry

Hell froze over!

I'm going to give you a recipe ...

No, really, I'm not kidding, it's not April Fool's Day, I've not been possessed, just that I made up a really cool (well, hot) curry last night and I while I followed no recipe, making it up on the spot, I think it's worthy of writing down.

I know, I know ...

I've been down on recipes for, well, forever, what with all the "what if my dodo eggs are larger than yours?", "what if I can't get Tibetan goat tears?", "what can I use instead of Guatemalan psycho-ward chillies?" ... you get my drift ... and I still don't think it worthy of a recipe, it is worth writing down.

So, here goes ...

Coconut Chicken Curry


2-3 Large Chicken Thighs (see, I've already broken the recipe - is it two? is it three?)
1 Large Onion (yes, define "large")
30g Butter/Ghee (or more, if you like more)
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
6-8 Red Chillies (milder chillies are best - we want colour and flavour, and heat)
3-4 Garlic Cloves (three if they're huge like mine, four, otherwise)
Inch Ginger (erm ... yeah, an inch from a thinner part? or thicker, if you like ginger)
2 tsp Poppy Seeds (I guess Nigella Seeds might do ... Mmmmm! Nigella!)
Half tsp Fenugreek Powder
Half tsp Asafoetida Powder
Halt tsp Black Pepper
Pinch Sea Salt
4 Cloves (more, if you like a powerful aromatic blast, less, if you don't want to feel like you've just been to the Dentist)
Can Coconut Milk (how big a can? I don't know ... 200ml?)
2 tbsp Desiccated Coconut


Forget what's written below and do your own thing ... I did.

I jest ...

Peel and chop the onion in half, shredding each half and committing to a large lidded skillet with a damn good knob of butter or ghee. 30g is good. Turmeric over, low heat, let it caramelise and colour in the turmeric.

Take the chillies (seeded), garlic (peeled), ginger, poppy seeds, fenugreek, asafoetida, black pepper and sea salt, and mash into a paste. If you're like me and don't have (space for) one of those heavy pestle and mortar things, a bowl with the business end of a baseball bat will do ya!

Once the onions are caramelised, pour in the paste, fry off for a short while and then add in the coconut milk and the cloves. Sprinkle in the desiccated coconut and bring to the boil.

Lay your chicken pieces in (skinned), lid on and gently simmer for 30-40 minutes, topping up with a little water as necessary, but in the end you want a reduced, thick and sumptuous dish.

Ready to eat?

Serve on the bone into bowls with rice alongside ... or whatever your favourite rice substitute is. For a full dish, no rice or substitute necessary, cubes of squash or sweet potato will do just perfect.

Serves 2

Naturally, I didn't to any of this and my ingredient list did vary a little ... but, who's counting?


Now, who's going to be the first to say, "sod chicken, I went with some firm white fish and it was delicious!"?


  1. We got given some chicken breast so I followed this pretty much. The coconut with chicken was very good!

    1. Hi Jean - Great to hear from you and good to hear you enjoyed this mad method. As I said, I didn't follow it, but the recipe is good to go. Thank you for dropping back in to say how it went.

      Now, if you're likely to try this out with something like lamb or mutton, I'd suggest marinating the meat in cider vinegar for 24 hours beforehand. Strictly, the "Vindaloo" was done by that method in days now gone by ... the meat should be dropped into the curry raw rather than pre-sealed.

      My home town of Bradford has a very strong Kashmiri population and a large Pakistani population for whom I gather that method is their preference, traditionally.

      Cloves are a Kashmiri thing. My favourite "mucky curry shop" Chef has now retired, but his restaurant (the K2 on Lumb Lane in Bradford) was a very well frequented haunt by me and my mates. We never ordered off the menu, just got "Uncle" to cook us something. One day, I was full of cold and he sat me down and said he'd cook me up his healing curry. It was chock full of cloves and a real complex of other spices - I finished my lunch and left his place feeling very much better.

      If you skipped the cloves, try them next time ...