Coconut chicken curry

This recipe for coconut chicken curry is clearly inspired by Indian cookery. Many Indians, as you probably know, don’t eat either beef or pork: Muslims don’t eat pork at any time, and Hindus can’t include beef in their diet. However, Indian cuisine is rich in strong, intense flavours usually obtained using a spice mix referred to under the generic name of ‘curry’. If you go to India, bear in mind that you will not hear people talk about curry but more probably ‘masala’. Also note that Indian cuisine has its own geographical variations: usually, recipes from the north of the country contain more meat, whilst those from the south emphasise vegetables; both make use of spices and milk products. It seems that our chef has been inspired today by the typical style of northern India, and has made this coconut chicken curry. Let’s see what it’s like.


  • chicken breast 150 grams
  • coconuts 1 unit
  • Tropea red onions ½ red onion
  • cumin
  • ginger
  • coriander
  • salt
  • cornflour
  • yoghurt Plain
30 minutes Total time
10 minutes Active time
Serves 1 person
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Dice the chicken breast, put it in a small bowl, add salt, and a teaspoon of cumin, ½ teaspoon of coriander and 2 teaspoons of ginger. Cut the onion into half-moon slices and cook for a minute in a pan with some oil. Add the chicken and cook for about two minutes. Take the coconut (which you have already opened) and grate about 30g then cut another 30g in small pieces (set aside the liquid). Sauté for two minutes in the pan along with the rest of the ingredients, then add the coconut liquid. Add two teaspoons of cornflour and mix well. When you see it beginning to thicken, remove from the heat, add a teaspoon of ginger and 3 tablespoons of white yoghurt. Serve accompanied by basmati rice.

If you decide to make coconut chicken curry, serve it with chapatis, the typical Indian bread made of flour, water and salt. It’s a type of flatbread, and a distant relative of the Italian ‘piadina’, just to give you an idea, kneaded and baked on hotplate.
Curry is a blend of spices including saffron, cumin and many others that are pounded together in a mortar. The final colour is an intense yellow, like mustard. This curry, which is used for flavouring different types of dishes, is native to India, where it is more normally called masala. Away from India we talk instead of ‘curry’, a generic word to indicate various mixes of spices used in different areas of Southeast Asia, China or Japan. The term ‘curry’ seems not only to have nothing to do with India, but not even with Asia as a whole. It seems to have been invented in Europe, and that it comes from the Tamil noun "cari", indicating a soup. In colonial times, the British arrived in India, borrowed this term and associated it with the masala, spreading the improper use of the word ‘curry’.

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