This Golden Coconut Chicken Curry blows me away every time I make it – and I’ve been making it a lot lately! Such a beautiful spice blend, with turmeric making the coconut curry sauce a warm yellow colour. Thai vibes. Easy. Swoon-worthy!
A really great but easy coconut chicken curry
But on days when I have a hankering for a really good from-scratch curry but don’t have the time for blitzing fresh curry pastes, this is what I’m making on repeat. It’s got Thai vibes with a hint of Indian undertones, like a less shrimpy version of Thai Yellow Curry with a whisper of Massaman Curry.
It’s very, very good. And though not a traditional Thai curry recipe (as far as I know), it tastes very authentic. (You know what I mean!)
-> If you’re after something similar (ie. still easy) but with more Indian vibes, head straight to my Easy Pumpkin Lentil Coconut Curry!
Ingredients in Golden Coconut Chicken Curry
Don’t skip the star anise and cinnamon stick, and really try to use fresh turmeric rather than dried – for maximum flavour.
aromatics and spices
First up, the sauce flavourings:
Turmeric – Been a bit of a trendy ingredient in recent years, revered for its nutritional benefits, most notably arthritis relief. It looks like and has the same texture as ginger but is bright orange inside. When cooked, it turns things bright yellow! Stains like buggery so don’t wear white when using it, and grate onto non-porous things (like a plate).
Turmeric powder – While fresh turmeric will give the best flavour and colour, dried can be used as an easier alternative. I’ve made it with dried turmeric and it’s still delicious!
Ginger and garlic – Fresh is the only way! The jarred stuff is sour and tastes nothing like the real thing. As with the turmeric, we finely grate them, for maximum flavour extraction.
Garam masala – Indian spice mix that’s common these days, in the spice aisle of normal grocery stores. It’s got more flavour than basic curry powders. 🙂 But – your everyday curry powder will be an adequate substitute!
Fennel powder – I know this one isn’t a staple so don’t make a special trip if you don’t have it. Just use more garam masala!
Cumin and coriander – Staple spices!
Add-ins and sauce
Chicken – Thigh is best because it stays juicy. Breast and tenderloin will work but won’t be quite as juicy. Prawns/shrimp and fish pieces are GREAT in this curry – plonk them in in the last 3 minutes.
Broccoli – Cut them into little florets so they are spoon-eating-size. You can also use the stem – just peel and dice.
Coconut cream is thicker so makes the sauce thicker. Also has stronger coconut flavour. Both good things! If using coconut milk, suggest thickening the sauce slightly. Mix 2 teaspoons cornflour/cornstarch with a small splash of water, then mix in towards the end.
Chicken stock/broth – Gives the sauce more flavour. If using just water, it’s just a little lacking.
Onion – For sautéing at the beginning.
Other add-in options
The recipe can be made with any proteins and vegetables that will cook in the 15 minutes total sauce simmering time. Just add them in at the appropriate time. Pumpkin or sweet potato and chickpeas is a firm favourite. A friend made this with shrimp/prawns instead of chicken and reported swoon-worthy results (his words, not mine 🤷🏻♀️). Zucchini and eggplants are also amazing, though my eggplant skin gave the sauce an interesting purplish hue. 😂
I just realised, the coriander / cilantro is not just a garnish. A good handful is mixed into the sauce. Great finishing touch. 🙂
Coriander / cilantro – As mentioned above, a good handful to mix into the sauce plus extra for sprinkling on top.
If you’re in the I Hate Coriander club, feel free to skip this. I’d just sprinkle with green onion slices instead.
Crispy Shallots – Crispy, salty, oily pops of goodness. Find them in the Asian aisle, cheaper at Asian stores. I love them so much and use them so frequently I even wrote about them here.
How to make it
OK! The making part. Nice and straightforward. Just a specific order in which things are toasted / sautéed / simmered / added into the pot. There’s reasons! 🙂
Toast the cinnamon stick and star anise for 2 minutes. This really brings out lovely flavour that is then imparted into the sauce, so don’t skip this step!
Cook chicken – Next, sauté the onion for 2 minutes to soften, then add the chicken. Cook for 3 minutes or until the outside turns white and you can no longer see pink. The inside will still be raw which is what we want – this ensures the chicken is not overcooked by the time the sauce is finished simmering.
Toast spices – Add the grated garlic, ginger and turmeric, and stir for 1 minute. Then add the spice mix and stir for 30 seconds. Toasting the fresh and dried spices is a key step, like with the star anise and cinnamon, to bring out and improve the flavour. So much more flavoursome than just dumpling spices into liquid!
Simmer 12 minutes – Stir in the coconut cream and chicken stock/broth, then simmer for 12 minutes. Simmer energetically, not a slow simmer like when making stocks and stew, because we want the sauce to reduce to concentrate the flavour and thicken slightly. And we want this to happen quick – before the chicken is overcooked!
Broccoli 3 minutes – Next, stir in the broccoli and cook for 3 minutes. That’s all it will take to soften, because you cut the florets into small spoon-size, just as the recipe asks you to do. Right?! 🙂
Finish the coconut curry off by stirring in the fresh coriander. Let it cool for 5 minutes or so – there will be a LOT of heat in that pot! Cooling slightly also allows the sauce to thicken a bit.
Now, the best step – EATING time!
How to serve this curry
Serve over rice with a sprinkle of my favourite crispy fried shallots and some more fresh coriander/cilantro. Jasmine or basmati rice are on point. Otherwise, any other plain rice of choice. Or even cauliflower rice for the low-carbers out there!
Love to know what you think if you make this. Curious to see if it’s just Team RecipeTin that’s madly obsessed with this coconut curry, or if it’s a universal thing. I’m banking on the latter, obviously, which is why I’m sharing this recipe!! 🙂 – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Golden coconut chicken curry
- 3 tbsp coconut oil , vegetable or canola oil (Note 1)
- 3 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 onion , finely diced
- 500g / 1lb chicken thigh fillets , cut into small 1cm / 1/3" slices (Note 2 options!)
- 1 tsp garlic , finely grated
- 1 tsp ginger , finely grated
- 3 tsp turmeric , finely grated (sub 1 1/2 tsp powder, Note 3)
- 2 cups chicken stock/broth , low sodium
- 400g / 14 oz coconut cream , unsweetened (sub coconut milk, Note 4)
- 1 large head broccoli , florets cut small (can use stem too – peel & dice), or other veg (4 heaped cups)
- 1 cup coriander/cilantro leaves , lightly packed, plus extra for garnish (I'd still make without this)
- 1 1/2 tsp cooking/kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp garam masala (Note 5)
- 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp fennel powder (sub more garam masala)
- Spice mix – Mix the spices in a small bowl.
- Toast – Heat the oil in a large heavy based pot over medium high heat. Toast the star anise and cinnamon for 2 minutes.
- Add onion, cook for 2 minutes.
- Add chicken, cook for 3 minutes or it's no longer pink on the outside (still raw inside).
- Add aromatics – Add garlic, ginger and turmeric. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add spice mix and stir for 30 seconds.
- Simmer 12 minutes – Add stock and coconut cream. Stir and bring to an energetic simmer. Cook for 12 minutes (no need to stir) so the sauce thickens slightly.
- Add broccoli florets. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes or until softened.
Life of Dozer
Look who was in the paper on the weekend! And they stuck me in it too. 😂 In case you want to read it, the online version of the article is here.