Make Ahead

Cheap Creamy Chicken Curry

by:
May 15, 2011
38 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

This is a very mild curry that's rich and comforting. The chicken and onions are braised in coconut milk which make this dish creamy and delicious. The total cost for this creamy chicken curry is roughly $10 to serve 4. Using my math team skills, this comes out to $2.50 per person, you just cannot beat it! Enjoy this flavorful, healthy, and cheap dinner. —Table9

Test Kitchen Notes

"Table9's Cheap Creamy Chicken Curry is a lovely, subtle curry that tastes anything but cheap! The spice blend is flawless and packs just the right amount of punch, and the use of coconut milk is canny indeed, lending the dish a wonderful richness and complexity. The only thing I would change is to hold back on half the water, adding more as needed." –wssmom

"Just as others mull the future of the commerce clause, I ponder possibilities for the chicken breast. I always seem to have this protein on hand, and I am in perpetual search for something quick to do with it, using the ingredients I have around the house.

Pleased was I to stumble upon Cheap Creamy Chicken Curry. Most people, even those too young to realize it, like chicken curry. Even mediocre chicken curry gets the job done on a weeknight, but this dish is well beyond that, elevated with an injection of coconut milk and a sort of shake 'n bake technique that more or less seals the lovely spice mix. If you are missing one of the listed spices here, do not fear, as the lime will bail you out in the end.

The main thing I suggest you do with this recipe is make the third step first, so that your chicken is hanging out in its spicy overcoat, maybe watching a little “I love Lucy” reruns while you sauté the onions and garlic. (That isn’t nice I guess. Chunks of chicken breast don’t watch TV. But you get the idea. I will try to show more respect.)

Once your other spices are letting off a nice aroma in the pan, add your chicken. Do not crowd please. Next comes the big show -- coconut milk YUM -- followed by a nice simmer. Do not forget the lime, as it sort of brings all these flavors and the creamy punch of fat together in the pan, finished on the plate with the dash of cilantro. Serve over basmati rice. Have a small slice of cake for dessert. Ask the kids to clean up. Think about what it would be like to visit India, wonder about who has a house there you might scam your way into, think some more about what footwear is best for an Indian sojourn, then go to bed." –Jestei

—The Editors

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 3
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup hot water (optional)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. In a wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, cook for 6-8 minutes or until transparent. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
  2. Stir in cumin, turmeric, 1 teaspoon curry powder, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt- cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste. Mix to combine.
  3. In ziploc bag, toss chicken pieces in remaining curry powder, season with salt and pepper. Add to wok, and cook for about 5-6 minutes until outside is golden brown.
  4. Pour coconut milk into the wok-if coconut milk has separated from the fat, pour the liquid in and add a tablespoon or so of fat until you have the creamy consistency that you desire. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Add hot water if there is not enough liquid, because it has cooked down.
  5. Serve hot with white rice if desired. Sprinkle with cilantro and a squeeze of lime if desired.
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