Home Recipes Traditional Chicken Curry

Traditional Chicken Curry

  • Medium
  • Serves 4

With layer upon layer of flavor, bags of depth, a hint of sweetness, and just the right amount of chili heat, this is the perfect chicken curry for your menu.



  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 whole dried red chilies
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 red onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsb grated fresh ginger
  • 6 tbsp fresh curry leaves
  • 8 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 2 cups boneless chicken thighs (skin removed)
  • ¾ cup water or chicken stock
  • 1 small bunch fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • A squeeze of lemon
  • 1 green chili finely chopped (optional)

  1. Toast the coconut in a pan over a low heat, stirring until it turns golden brown.
  2. Remove the coconut to a plate and into the same pan add the cinnamon sticks, dried chillies, peppercorns, star anise and fennel seeds. Roast in the pan for 3-4 minutes then add the ground coriander and chilli powder and stir for a minute. Add half a cup of water to form a paste and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the cinnamon sticks, star anise, and whole chilies and keep for later. Add the toasted coconut, turmeric and salt to the pan. Add everything to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind to a smooth paste.
  4. Heat the oil in the same pan and slowly cook the onions until they are soft—this will take about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a couple of minutes, then turn up the heat and add the curry leaves and stir for a minute.
  5. Add the tomatoes and the spice paste, and then return the cinnamon stick, star anise, and chilies to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring until you end up with a smooth paste and the oil starts to separate out.
  6. Remove half the mixture and freeze, or place in an airtight container, which will keep in the fridge for a week or so.
  7. Add the chicken and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Add ¾ cup chicken stock, remove the lid, and cook for a further 5–10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  8. Remove the star anise, cinnamon, and chili, stir through the lemon juice and green chili (if using) and scatter with the fresh cilantro. Serve with some freshly cooked Basmati Rice.