Using one skillet, this healthy coconut curry chicken is full of earthy and savory flavors best served over a bed of steaming hot jasmine rice. It’s a weeknight dinner keeper!
There’s definitely a correlation between the number of crisp, cool mornings and the amount of times I crave chicken curry for dinner. Curry is one of the most comforting meals — whether it’s a traditional Thai chicken curry (which I leave to the experts at Sisters Thai), Indian curry (thanks to Ohm), or this Southerner’s hybrid of the two using ingredients I have on hand at any given time.
A Thai Coconut Curry Recipe?
Nope. This is my own version that is a blend of a Thai curry with a more traditionally Indian curry. I’m using both red curry paste and yellow curry powder and am not using all of the traditional ingredients you’d typically find in either of these cuisines.
I don’t know a ton about Thai cooking except from my high school friend’s mom (I can still taste her pad see ew), so if you’re looking for a more authentic Thai red curry recipe, this isn’t going to be it…and I don’t want to even pretend this Southern girl can tell you about a traditional Thai meal. From what I’ve gathered through my research, Thai curries often use a combination of sugar, lemongrass, or fish sauce (none of which are in this version).
Think of this curry as a Southerner’s take on Thai-ish/Indian-ish chicken curry take-out using as many every day ingredients in your pantry as possible.
Why I Love This Curry
I have experimented with this recipe for awhile, trying a variety of other’s people’s curry recipes, and I must say — I’ve gotten this recipe to the “in love” status. Here’s what I love about this one:
- Chicken cooks with the rest of the curry, so this meal requires only one skillet.
- No sugar. So many curry recipes call for brown sugar, and while it certainly does the job at making the dish sweet, it’s just really unnecessary. I’ll save the sugar for some chocolate almond torte.
- No special ingredients. Yes, if this was authentic Thai or Indian cuisine, I would need to buy more authentic ingredients like kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass, but this is comfort food using what you’ve got at home.
Speaking of no special ingredients, here are the basics of what you need. Not so bad, right?
- chicken thighs (or breasts)
- fresh ginger
- yellow curry powder
- red curry paste
- red bell pepper
- coconut milk
Tips for Making Chicken Curry
- Chop in advance. There aren’t a ton of ingredients, but there is a decent amount of chopping (garlic, ginger, red peppers, onions). Consider prepping the vegetables the night before so this becomes an even more do-able weeknight dinner.
- Spice it up. I use Thai Kitchen’s red curry paste, which is a mild combination of spices in paste form. If you want to crank up the heat, try adding red pepper flakes, jalapeños, or sriracha.
- Get full fat coconut milk. Don’t use lite coconut milk. The full fat kind allows you to have a silky, rich sauce.
- Buy full fat coconut milk, which is not the same as coconut cream or cream of coconut. Coconut cream is much thicker and cream of coconut is super sweet and used in piña coladas.
Choose Your Protein
While I prefer chicken thighs for this curry recipe because of the moistness of dark meat, shrimp is a close second. Shrimp only need to simmer in the sauce for a couple of minutes until they’re cooked through, so make sure you adapt the cook time accordingly.
You could also use chicken breasts if you prefer all white meat.
Wishing you all the warmth of this curry!
Healthy Coconut Curry Chicken
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced (from a 1 and 1/2 inch piece)
- 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
- 3 tablespoons red curry paste
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 large red bell pepper, sliced into 1/2" strips
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 can full fat coconut milk don't use lite
- 1 lime, squeezed
- 3 cups spinach
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 3-4 minutes until they become translucent and tender. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1 more minute. Add in curry powder, red curry paste, and coriander until vegetables are covered.
- Add red pepper, chicken, and salt and pepper. Add more olive if pan looks too dry. Cook, stirring often for about 4-5 minutes or until the chicken is browned on both sides, but not cooked through.
- Pour in the coconut milk and squeeze the lime. Stir until chicken is cooked through (juices run clear and cooked to 165˚ F). The curry sauce should be slightly thickened at this point. Fold in spinach and then remove from heat.
- Serve curry over jasmine rice. Garnish with cilantro or basil if desired. Enjoy!