Monday, January 21, 2013

Coconut Curry Chicken

One of my New Year's Resolutions (are people still talking about those?) was to try to constantly improve this little blog here and to challenge myself in my culinary conquests.

This weekend will be one of my first steps towards that goal because I signed up for a small, Indian cooking class! I'm looking forward to learning more about a cuisine I'm not particularly knowledgeable on and also seeing what a real cooking class is like! 

In preparation for that class, I wanted to give this Coconut Curry Chicken recipe a try. The first time I attempted to make this in the Crock Pot...I didn't realize exactly what "burned" curry was, but needless to say Cory and I went to 7-11 and had ice cream for dinner that night...

This time I completely changed my approach (trial and error makes us better!). The results were a mildly spicy yet sweet and creamy curry sauce that was infused with browned chicken thighs, bell peppers, fresh ginger, broccoli, and mushrooms. I'm not sure what I expected from my first attempt at this dish, but the second time around the results were exactly what I wanted. The flavor of the coconut still came through despite the bold flavor of the curry, and the ginger added a nice zing at the end of each bite.

I started by slicing one large onion, a red bell pepper, and a yellow bell pepper into long strips. A piece of ginger root is peeled and diced. This is what one might call the "flavor train."

Or maybe I just call it that...

The veggies are sauteed in vegetable oil and a bit of curry powder until tender and just starting to brown.

Chicken thighs are dredged in flour and seared on both sides directly in the same pan as the vegetables.

Non-fat yogurt is melted into the pot along with coconut milk. Once it reduces, water and cilantro come to the party along with frozen broccoli.

Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. The dish is covered and simmers for 30 minutes.

When you have about 5 minutes left, add in some sliced mushrooms and additional curry powder. The dish is finished with more coconut milk just before serving.

The creaminess of the yogurt and coconut milk compliment the spicy curry and all the vegetables soak up the juice for great flavor in every bite. The chicken is hearty and tender and peels right off the bone. I served mine on top of brown rice, and naan bread would be just amazing dipped in the sauce.

Here's what you need for Coconut Curry Chicken:

6 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on (you may take skin off if you prefer)
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 large vidalia onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons curry powder, divided
1 tablespoon ginger, diced fine
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cut water
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped fine
1 cup frozen broccoli
1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Rice, naan, and toasted coconut for serving

Here's what you do:

 Dredge the chicken thighs in the flour, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a heavy bottomed skillet with deep sides, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the peppers, onion, and 1 tablespoon of curry powder. Cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the chopped ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Push the cooked veggies to the edges of the pan and sear to brown the chicken in batches, about 2 minutes on each side.

Add the yogurt and half the can of coconut milk. Stir to coat the chicken and vegetables. When the yogurt has reduced, add the water, cilantro, and frozen broccoli. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 30 minutes, flipping the chicken half way through.

When you have about 5 minutes left, stir in the mushrooms and remaining tablespoon of curry powder. Cook uncovered until the mushrooms have softened and the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the remaining coconut milk. Add more curry here if you prefer a spicier dish.

Serve over rice or naan and top with toasted coconut flakes.


  1. Thank you for such great directions. I am definitely making this for my husband tomorrow!

  2. How many would you say this would serve? 6?

    1. I would say probably 4 to 5 more comfortably, but it can certainly be stretched for 6. I'd add just a little more chicken!

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