Chicken With Curry And Coconut Milk


Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk – Chicken pieces are cooked to perfection in a coconut milk and curry flavoured sauce. Serve your family a sumptuous chicken curry over rice, or on its own. The richness of this dish combined with the exotic flavour of aromatic spices will fill your home with the most amazing aroma!

Coconut chicken curry

Coconut chicken curry

A lighter coconut chicken curry that still packs a flavour-punch! The richness is reduced by only using a little of the coconut cream from a tin of coconut milk, but you still get the wonderful flavour. Serve with freshly cooked rice or cauli rice.

Each serving provides 538 kcal, 35g protein, 11g carbohydrates (of which 7g sugars), 39g fat (of which 20g saturates), 3g fibre and 1.6g salt.

Preparation time

less than 30 mins

Cooking time

10 to 30 mins


Serves 2


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into quarters
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 1½ tbsp sunflower oil
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt

For the sauce

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 15g/½oz fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • ½ x 400g tin coconut milk, watery liquid (around 250ml/9fl oz) and 2 tbsp of the coconut cream from the top
  • ½ red chilli, finely chopped
  • 50g/1¾oz baby spinach or pak choi, thickly shredded


  1. Put the quartered chicken thighs into a bowl with the spices, lime or lemon juice and salt. Toss together well.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium non-stick frying pan and fry the chicken pieces for 4–5 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through, stirring regularly. Set aside.
  3. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a medium non-stick frying pan. Add the cumin seeds and cook for 10–15 seconds, then stir in the onion. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5–6 minutes, or until softened, stirring regularly. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2–3 minutes more, stirring constantly. Pour the coconut water and coconut cream into the pan and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken to the pan and simmer for 3–4 minutes, or until cooked through. Stir in the chilli and spinach (or pak choi) and allow to wilt for 1–2 minutes.
  4. Divide the curry between 2 plates and serve with basmati rice.

Recipe Tips

Any leftover coconut milk or coconut cream freezes well for use in other recipes.

Buy good-quality, full-fat coconut milk as the coconut cream doesn’t separate in some (look for a high percentage of coconut extract in the ingredients list). Chilling the tin in fridge before using will also encourage separation.

Instant Pot Coconut Chicken Curry

Easy & healthy Coconut Chicken Curry made in an Instant Pot in just 30 minutes! This is simple Indian chicken curry recipe is made with ginger, garlic, onions alongside flavorful spices, and finished with creamy coconut milk. Pair this dairy-free & gluten-free curry with fragrant basmati rice. 

Easy Coconut Curry chicken in a white bowl

This is the best coconut and chicken curry that you’ll ever make. Personally, I love curries because they are quickfull of flavor and tastes just as good the following days. This curry is also incredible because it uses basic ingredients,similar to my chicken curry with potatoes, that you most likely have in your kitchen right now.

It’s so healthy because it’s made from scratch and also very quick to make (thanks to the instant pot), you have control over the ingredients in this curry and the most important part is that this curry is mild, therefore perfect for kids (even picky eaters). Your family will love this recipe!

How to make Coconut Chicken Curry?

Before you start making this coconut chicken curry make sure you have all the ingredients prepped and on hand. Dice your onions and cut your chicken thighs into pieces. Keep the spices ready. Now let’s start making this delicious curry.

  • Set the Instant Pot on sauté mode and let it heat.
  • Add ghee or oil along with the cumin seeds. Saute for 30 seconds until they release their aroma. Cumin seeds are optional but do add a wonderful flavor to the curry. If you have ghee, I highly recommend to use it, as it adds so much more flavor to this curry.
  • Now add the diced onions, garlic, ginger, and sauté them for a few minutes.
  • When the onions turn golden brown, add the tomato puree along with the spices and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes. I used canned tomato puree, you can also use fresh tomato puree in this recipe. Blend 2 tomatoes to make a puree.
Onions, tomato and spices in instant pot
  • Add the chicken pieces to the pot. Stir and sauté for 3-4 more minutes. Do not skip this step, as it adds lots of flavor to the curry.
  • Then add the water and mix well. Deglaze well and make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • Switch the Instant Pot to manual or pressure cook on high pressure for 4 minutes with the vent in sealing position.
  • As soon as the Instant Pot beeps, quick release the pressure manually and open the lid.
  • Now stir in the coconut milk, garam masala and let it simmer on sauté mode for 4-5 minutes until the sauce is thickened to your preference. Use full-fat canned unsweetened coconut milk.
Chicken curry with coconut milk in instant pot
  • You are almost ready! Stir in the lime juice and garnish with cilantro.
  • The coconut chicken curry is ready to be served with flavorful rice or Indian flatbreads. Enjoy!
Chicken Curry with coconut milk in an instant pot garnished with cilantro

How to serve this Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk?

You can whip up some basmati rice or cumin rice to soak up all that saucy goodness. This curry goes also very well with Indian flatbreads like roti, naan or paratha with a side of yogurt.

Leftovers and Reheating Tips

Seal any leftover curry in an airtight container, it should last up to 3 days in the refrigerator. But if you’d like to make more for the week or month ahead, I suggest you freeze it. Make sure it’s fully cooled down before sealing. Once the curry is frozen it will keep well for 3-4 months.

You can reheat the curry in the microwave or on the stovetop while stirring well.

Tips & Variations for making the best coconut chicken curry

  • You can use skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs to make this curry.
  • Add all the veggies! You can add roasted cauliflowerbroccoli floretsgreen peas and even baby spinach at the end! If you want to add potatoes or sweet potatoes, cut them in large pieces and add them just before pressure cooking.
  • You don’t want chicken? No problem! You can still make a delicious curry using shrimps like in this Coconut Shrimp Curry.
  • For a plant-based version of curry, try this Vegetable Korma with coconut milk which is also made in an instant pot.

Creamy Coconut Chicken Curry

This coconut chicken curry is a 30-minute dream dinner. A rich tomato and onion base with creamy coconut milk and tender chunks of chicken. This recipe is easy, packed with flavour and is so comforting you’ll probably make it every week. All ingredients from Aldi! Like I said… easy!

Firstly, let me just address something straight away. Whenever “ethnic” dishes are made at Savvy Bites HQ, please understand that we will never make anything that is “authentic”, nor will we ever label something “authentic”. Using ingredients from Aldi only, it just simply wouldn’t be possible. The whole point of SB is that we can still enjoy Indian curries, and Asian/ Italian/ Greek/ Thai food, while making it as easy and affordable as possible. That means being creative with ingredients and making each item in our fridge and pantry do as much as possible in all our recipes.

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All that being said, I very much respect the authenticity and origins of recipes, but Savvy Bites is all about being creative, improvising and keeping it fun and light in the kitchen.

Ingredients needed

  • chicken– we’re not browning the chicken first. Just dice and toss into the sauce to cook. It’s that easy.
  • onion– letting the garlic, ginger and onion really soften a lot before we add anything else is the flavour base for the richness of this curry sauce.
  • garlic– see above
  • ginger– fresh and grated or minced. You may not notice it when it’s there, but you’d miss it if it wasn’t.
  • tomato puree– adds richness and body to the sauce
  • curry powder– no explanation necessary!
  • turmeric– works as a supporting flavour for the curry powder.
  • demerara sugar– helps to balance out all that ginger and garlic. And tomatoes always benefit from a pinch of sugar. You can use white, but the brown brings a deeper flavour.
  • soy sauce– helps to bring a rich umami flavour that only soy sauce can do. Yes. It’s completely unconventional but we’re using all our flavour building ingredients!
  • tomatoes– the base of our sauce
  • coconut milk– unsweetened and full fat! brings all the creamy sweetness.
  • chopped fresh coriander– the perfect way to finish off a curry

Step by step instructions

  • Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a pan and add in the chopped onion, garlic and ginger. Give everything a good pinch of salt. Let everything saute and continue to cook until very soft and translucent and fragrant. This recipe only takes about 30 minutes and half of it is letting the onions, garlic and ginger cook. Don’t rush this step. It really makes a difference to the depth of flavour.  If the bottom of the pan starts to get some colour (see above photo) this is perfect and add flavour. We’ll be scraping up those bits when we add the tomatoes.
  • Once the onions, garlic and ginger are very soft you can add in the tomato paste, and spices.

  • Give everything a good stir to get the onions coated in the tomato puree and spices. This is where you add in the sugar and the soy sauce. Go easy on both. We can add more when the sauce has come together and we taste it. Better to under-do it here rather than overdo it.
  • Now add in the tinned tomatoes and coconut milk. Scrape up any brown bits from cooking the onions and garlic. Give everything a good whisk and taste. Add in anything you think it needs. I added in extra soy sauce and sugar, but you may want more curry powder or chili flakes. Either way, this curry sauce is so flexible that you really can add in extra of whatever you want.

  • Once you’ve got the sauce tasting just right, bring it up to a gentle simmer and add in the diced chicken. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the chopped coriander and squeeze in some lime juice.

What to serve with coconut chicken curry

Obviously big piles of steaming rice (I use basmati) but long-grain white or even brown work well. I’m personally a fan of poppadoms, but a 2 ingredient naan bread situation is also very much appreciated.

Storing, Freezing and reheating

This simple curry keeps perfectly in the fridge for up to 4 days. Before storing it, just make sure that it’s completely cooled and that you put it in an airtight container. Also, a dream to freeze which makes it perfect for batch cooking. You can freeze this curry for up to 3 months, either in a freezer-safe container or in a large ziplock bag with the excess air squeezed out. If you’re freezing it in a bag, lay it flat so it takes up less room.

To reheat from frozen, thaw in the fridge and reheat in a pan on the hob, or in the microwave until hot all the way through. To reheat from the fridge simply pop the curry in a pan on the hob, or in the microwave until hot all the way through.

  • Side note- This coconut curry sauce is amazing to have stashed away in your freezer for nights when you don’t know what to cook, or are too busy to even attempt to cook something.

So, to recap, this curry is:

  • quick (30-ish minutes)
  • healthy (homemade, no secret sauces from a jar)
  • easy (hello, unorthodox pantry flavour builders. Yes, soy sauce- looking at you!)
  • perfect for batch cooking and freezer meals.

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