Coconut & tamarind chicken curry

Coconut & tamarind chicken curry

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(9 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 50 mins Plus marinating


Serves 10
This creamy tropical Indian one-pot is perfect for an informal, help-yourself dinner party with friends

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal466
  • fat24g
  • saturates8g
  • carbs24g
  • sugars20g
  • fibre2g
  • protein40g
  • salt1.1g


  • 20 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • juice 3 limes



    The same shape, but smaller than…

  • 2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp turmeric



    Turmeric is a fragrant, bright golden-yellow root that is most commonly seen and used dried and…

  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying
  • 3 tbsp tamarind pulp



    A seed pod from the tamarind tree that is used extensively in South-East Asian and Indian…

  • 400ml coconut milk
    Coconut milk in a glass, with half a coconut

    Coconut milk

    ko-ko-nut mill-k

    Coconut milk is not the slightly opaque liquid that flows from a freshly opened coconut –…

  • 1 x 160ml can coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp coriander, chopped

For the sauce

  • 4-6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp mustard seed
  • 3 tbsp fresh or dried curry leaf
  • 4 onions, finely diced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 75g ginger, finely shredded



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • 1 tbsp paprika



    A spice that's central to Hungarian cuisine, paprika is made by drying a particular type of…

  • 3 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 450ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp golden muscovado sugar


  1. Put the chicken in a big mixing bowl, add the lime juice, pepper and turmeric, and mix well. (It’s best to use gloves for this as the turmeric stains fingers.) Set aside for 1 hr.

  2. Make the sauce. Heat the oil in a big pan, toss in the mustard seeds followed by the fresh curry leaves (if you are using dried leaves, add them later with the tomatoes) and fry until it releases a warm, nutty aroma – about 30 secs.

  3. Add the onions, put on the lid, and cook over a low heat for 10-15 mins until meltingly soft, stirring now and then. Take the lid off, turn up the heat, add the garlic and ginger, and fry for 1 min until it gives off a toasty aroma. Stir in the paprika and continue cooking for another 30 secs.

  4. Add the tomatoes, stock and sugar (and dried curry leaves if using). Cook, uncovered, for 15-20 mins until the sauce has thickened and reduced by one-third.

  5. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Meanwhile, fry the chicken. Heat 6 tbsp oil in a frying pan and cook in batches until golden. You may need a little extra oil. Keep warm.

  6. Pour any excess oil from the frying pan and add a ladleful of water – swirl it around and scrape up any juices with a spoon before adding to the tomato sauce.

  7. Put the chicken in a deep roasting tin or ovenproof casserole and pour over the sauce. Cover with foil and oven cook for 15 mins until the chicken is tender. Skim off any oil from the top of the sauce.

  8. Take the chicken pieces out of the tin and transfer to a serving dish. Pour the sauce into a pan and bring to a simmer. Stir in the tamarind pulp, coconut milk and half the coconut cream. Adjust the flavour by adding more sugar or tamarind. Ladle the sauce over the chicken, drizzle with the remaining coconut cream, and scatter with coriander before serving.

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Comments, questions and tips

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13th Sep, 2018
I was feeding 3 so I used 1/3 quantities. It was OK but nothing special.
16th Dec, 2014
I took a complete shortcut with this & used chicken breast & made it all on the gas top burner. Delicious & quick & my husband says to most definitely make again. Winner!
18th Aug, 2012
It's ok recipy, made it few nights ago for a dinner party. some guest loved it but others did not think it's anything special. I had to add more tamarind and suger as I felt there is not strong flavours of the curry. even i added a lot more fresh curry leaves .. it's for sure not a bad recipy at all in general.
8th Jul, 2012
Tried to make this curry for two but somehow it came out way too fruity and sour tasting for my liking. If I ever needed to feed ten I might try it again following the a given quantities, otherwise no.
24th Apr, 2012
Absolutely delicious - i made the full amount and the extra seems to freeze well. i used chicken breast and added green chillies as it did need the extra "kick". i also substituted jaggery (palm sugar) for the golden muscovado sugar, as this is what i had available.
22nd Apr, 2012
I tried to half this recipe (giving quantities for 10 wasn't very helpful) and substituted a bit of tomato purée for half a tin of tomatoes and the other half of a tin of cocounut milk instead of the coconut cream. The result: chicken cooked in Heinz tomato soup. It was still tasty though, but tasted too much of tomato and too little of coconut. I have seen a similar recipe to this which omits the tomatoes entirely.
20th Apr, 2012
I like the sound of this and will be making it for my in-laws very soon. Thanks for the tips about the tamarind.
20th Mar, 2012
Thanks Nehal. I'll definitely try this, adding the chillies as you suggest.
15th Mar, 2012
You can get tamarind pulp in any supermarket near the spices rack. BART make one which is quite acceptable. Another way of getting fresh and cheap tamarind pulp: Most stores have an Indian ingredients section (in the world foods bit), they have raw tamarind in a pack. Take about 1/8th of the tamarind from the pack and soak in hot water for at least 4 hours. Strain and use the liquid. It might not be a thick paste, but it will taste a lot better and authentic. I would add finely chopped green chillies to the curry.
15th Mar, 2012
Where can I get tamarind pulp? I've never used it before, but would love to try this recipe.


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