Easy Thai Coconut Curry Chicken

Thai coconut curry chicken
Alesha Graber / EyeEm / Getty Images
  • Total: 52 mins
  • Prep: 12 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4-5
Ratings (49)

This wonderful-tasting Thai coconut curry chicken is quick & easy to make with the substitution of lime or lemon juice for lemongrass, cutting the prep time in half. Don't be put off by the long ingredients list - this is simply because I prefer to make my own paste from scratch rather than using store-bought curry pastes, making for a fresher, superior-tasting curry. This recipe includes potatoes, a common ingredient in street curries, but other vegetables can be added as well according to your preference (zucchini and green beans are two good ones).

What You'll Need

  • 2 lbs chicken drumsticks (or thighs)
  • 1 can good-quality coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup good-tasting chicken stock
  • 2 medium potatoes (chopped into small chunks)
  • 1/2 tsp. whole cumin seed
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (or 2 bay leaves)
  • 2 medium tomatoes (chopped small chunks)
  • 2-3 tbsp. dry shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • For the Curry Paste:
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal (or ginger)
  • 3/4 tsp. ground turmeric (or 1 tsp. fresh, minced)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1-2 fresh red chilies (minced, OR 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. dried crushed chili from the spice aisle)
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper (or black)
  • 3 tbsp. lime juice (or lemon juice)
  • 3 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 heaping tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. shrimp paste

How to Make It

  1. Place all 'curry paste' ingredients in your food processor or blender. Add 3-4 Tbsp. of the coconut milk to help blend ingredients and blitz to create a fragrant Thai curry paste.
  2. Heat a wok or deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle in the oil and swirl around, then add the curry paste. Stir-fry 1 minute to release the fragrance, then add the chicken pieces. Turn pieces to coat, then add the stock and remaining coconut milk. Also add the potatoes, lime leaves or bay leaves and whole cumin seed. Stir and bring to a gentle boil.
  1. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low, gently simmering 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  2. Add the tomatoes and stir, then continue cooking another 15 minutes, or until chicken has achieved desired tenderness.
  3. While curry is cooking, prepare the topping. Place shredded coconut in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat. Stir until coconut turns light golden brown. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.
  4. When chicken and potatoes are tender, remove from heat. Add 3/4 of the toasted coconut and stir in. Taste-test the curry, adding more fish sauce for more salt/flavor. If you find it too salty or sweet, add more lime or lemon juice. Add more chili for more intense spiciness.
  5. Portion out curry into bowls or plates. Top each one with fresh basil and a generous sprinkling of the toasted coconut. Serve with plenty of steamed jasmine rice on the side.


For a Thicker Curry Sauce: In a cup, simply measure 2 tsp. cornstarch into 3-4 Tbsp. cool water, stirring to dissolve. Pour this into the hot (finished) curry while stirring over medium heat until sauce thickens.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
825 Calories
46g Fat
44g Carbs
63g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)