This is one of my go-to meals. The kind that happens at least every couple of weeks when I haven’t made plans for dinner because 1) it always sounds good to me. 2) I know my husband loves it, and (most importantly) 3) I always have the ingredients on hand and it takes about 20 minutes to make…aka…basically no time at all.
I mean, come on, 20 minutes? You can’t even go pick up a pizza and be back in that amount of time, unless you live around the corner from Little Caesars. Which, I guess technically we do…
BUT. I’d much rather have this super easy coconut chicken curry, wouldn’t you?
I fixed this dish a ton when my twins were teeeny, tiny infants. Because, believe it or not, back then there were very few totally planned meals and way more of the winging-it variety. That has changed somewhat, in that I maybe half plan, half wing it now that everyone is older.
IDEAS FOR CUSTOMIZING COCONUT CURRY CHICKEN
I’ve made this dish probably a dozen different ways. Don’t be afraid to add a little something or switch things around if you’ve got a veggie you’re wanting to use up, or add little extra lime or some hot sauce if you love those flavors!
This dish is pretty forgiving and perfect for busy people who love really yummy yellow coconut curry chicken dishes. A few of my favorites, in no particular order:
- Spicy. Pile on that hot sauce. Sriracha is one of our favorites, but you could use a hotter or milder one that you prefer. Or, add red pepper flakes as a garnish or while cooking.
- Not spicy. This can mean more than “leave the hot stuff out.” It can mean adding slightly less curry (not too little, but just a bit), adding milder-tasting veggies, and leaving off the cilantro.
- Extra sweet. While you don’t want to go piling on the sugar, you can make it sweeter in other ways. Grill some pineapple and add it when you’re making up this dish. Drizzle some honey balsamic dressing over the top, or even add roasted sweet potatoes instead (or in addition to) the red cabbage.
- Extra savory. Toss with roasted fresh tomatoes, cooked mushroom or eggplant, or sprinkle on some sesame or sunflower seeds.
- Add nuts. I looooove extra texture and crunch in almost any dish. Chop up some peanuts or cashews and roast them in the oven for a bit (careful they don’t burn). Add a small handful to the top of the dish before serving. Or leave on the side as an optional garnish.
- Swap veggies. Add broccoli instead of cabbage, change red to green pepper (or use both), or try this dish with potatoes and carrots.
CAN YOU USE COCONUT CREAM IN CURRY?
This recipe calls for coconut milk, which is the liquid that comes out of grated coconut pulp, after it’s been extracted (kinda like how they make almond milk). It has a lot of oil in it, which is why, when you open the can, you’ll see a lot of the fat (oil) has risen to the top (this will all mix together as it cooks).
Coconut milk is thinner and more like the consistency of cow’s milk and is used frequently in dishes all throughout Southeast Asia, East Africa, and South Asia, as well as other parts of the world.
Coconut cream is a slightly different animal, though the taste of both milk and cream is roughly the same. Coconut cream, however, is much thicker and richer, as the concentration of coconut milk to water in the extraction process is 4-to-1. The thick fats that rise to the top of the can in the coconut milk is considered cream, in fact. But, you don’t want to add two whole cans of just the cream to this dish, as that would make this dish too thick.
WHAT IS CURRY?
Curry both refers to certain kinds of dishes and is also a spice. The spice blend, which originated in India, comes most often in paste or powder form. It usually contains cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric, and some dried chilis. It’s usually made into a sauce (like we do here) and is served with beef, chicken, or pork.
What people are saying about this Easy Coconut Curry Chicken
“Tried this last night and it was amazing!! It came out perfectly – the best coconut curry chicken I’ve ever had or made. It was a great mix of comfort and adventure I will be using this more in my meal ROTATIONS. Thank you!!” – Jessica
“THIS WAS OUTSTANDING! Thank you for bringing a delicious meal to our home. Even my fussy 14 year old daughter loved it!!” – Kristen
“Made this last night… was easy and delish! Once I got it on my plate, just needed a touch of salt (very little) and a squirt of sriracha.. I’m a Louisiana girl so need just a bit of heat. Would totally recommend this recipe!” – Jennifer
“This was delicious! I made it for the first time tonight and it turned out beautifully! The only ingredient I didn’t put in was the curry paste (couldn’t find it at the grocery store). It had a wonderful flavor even without the paste. I loved the addition of the cilantro on top…such a varied flavor dish! Thank you!” – Esther
Easy Coconut Curry Chicken
- 3-4 3-4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness
- 1 small yellow or white onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 tablespoons yellow curry powder
- 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
- 2 15-ounce cans coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- salt to taste (I usually use about 1 teaspoon, *see note)
- juice of 1 lime (plus additional lime wedges for serving)
- 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
- handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 4 cups cooked white rice, for serving
- Add chicken, onions, and peppers to pan. Saute 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle yellow curry powder over chicken and veggies. Continue to saute 5-7 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Add red curry paste, coconut milk, sugar, and lime juice to pan. Stir over medium heat until sauce is begins to bubble. Stir in cabbage and cook 1-2 minutes just until cabbage is tender (OR you can steam the cabbage or microwave it on high for 2-3 minutes and serve it on top of the curry instead of cooking it into the curry - I usually prefer to serve it on top like this)
- Taste, add salt, and taste again. (Add more salt as needed, see note)
- Serve with cooked white rice and garnish with fresh, chopped cilantro. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing on top.