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Chicken curry recipe in a large heavy-bottomed pan with aromatics, cilantro, and bell pepper.
5 from 3 votes

Chicken Curry Recipe

This Chicken Curry Recipe, made with a simple and homemade curry paste, is creamy, fragrant, colorful, and bursting with mouthwatering Thai and Indian flavors and spices.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 636kcal


For the Marinade + Chicken

  • 2 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs chopped into bite-size pieces

For the Curry Paste

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole cardamom pods
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion minced
  • 5 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 3-inch piece fresh ginger peeled and chopped
  • 8 dried Thai red chilis
  • 3 tablespoon tomato paste

For the Chicken Curry

  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 1 large white onion peeled and sliced thick
  • 2 bell peppers seeded and sliced root to tip
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water or broth
  • 4-6 tablespoon prepared curry paste
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans coconut milk (or coconut cream)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (plus more as needed - I always add more)
  • fresh cilantro to garnish


For the Marinade + Chicken

  • Add the yogurt, curry powder, paprika, ground cinnamon, and salt to a large bowl. Whisk well to combine. Add the chicken and mis well to coat.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

For the Curry Paste

  • Place a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods to the pan and toast over dry heat for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant, reducing the heat if needed to prevent the spices from burning. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Add 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil to the pan and set over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Mix in the garlic cloves and ginger and cook for an additional 1 minute.
  • Return the toasted cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods, plus the Thai red chilis, to the pan, and mix well to combine. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
  • Reduce heat to medium and combine the tomato paste with the aromatics. Cook, stirring continuously, for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Remove the cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks and set aside. Transfer the remaining ingredients to a small food processor. Process until a thick paste is formed. Set aside or transfer to a sealed container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

For the Chicken Curry

  • Over high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil to the same heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven used to cook the aromatics. Once hot, add the chicken in a single layer and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until brown and just starting to char. Remove chicken to a clean plate and set aside (do not worry if the chicken is not fully cooked on the inside).
  • Scrape out any charred bits stuck to the bottom of the pan and repeat process until all chicken has been cooked (it took me 2 rounds).
  • Wipe down the pot, or clean as needed, and return to medium high heat.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the bell peppers, salt, water (or broth), 4-6 tablespoons of the prepared curry paste, and the reserved cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods. Thoroughly mix to combine and cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in the coconut milk and mix thoroughly. Increase heat to high and bring to a simmer.
  • Immediately reduce heat to medium and return the browned chicken to the pot. Add the sugar and fish sauce, mixing well to combine. Allow chicken and vegetables to simmer for 2-3 minutes, uncovered.
  • Season with additional salt, sugar, curry paste, or fish sauce, to taste. Serve with cooked basmati rice, jasmine rice, or noodles or thick, fluffy naan bread, if desired.


Can you use chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs? Yes. If you choose to use boneless skinless chicken breasts to make this chicken curry recipe keep in mind that they are lower in fat when compared to chicken thighs. Due to this, it's really important to 1. marinate the meat and 2. not to overcook your boneless chicken.
What oil should you use? In most cases you'll find curries made with vegetable oil or peanut oil. If you prefer to use olive oil or coconut oil, that's ok, too.
Looking for even more heat? Add a dash of cayenne pepper or thinly sliced Thai chilis in fish sauce.


Calories: 636kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 149mg | Sodium: 1235mg | Potassium: 719mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1625IU | Vitamin C: 57mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 3mg
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