Cheap Creamy Chicken Curry

May 15, 2011

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: This is such a wonderful theme! I had so many ideas, but I really wanted to be different and stray from pasta or soup so I chose curry. This is a very mild curry, that is actually more a rich stew. 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 $ 10.00 to serve 4. Using my math team skills, this comes out to $ 2.50 a person, you just cannot beat it! Enjoy this flavorful, healthy and dirt cheap dinner. - Table9Table9

Food52 Review: 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. - wssmomwssmom

Serves: 3
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 25 min


  • 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 Tumeric
  • 1 pound Boneless Chicken Breasts, Cut into 1"Bite Size Pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup Hot Water (optional)
In This Recipe


  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, tumeric, 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.

More Great Recipes:
Stew|Chicken|Cumin|Curry|Milk/Cream|One-Pot Wonders|Make Ahead|Entree

Reviews (109) Questions (4)

109 Reviews

Martin December 22, 2018
I've made this a few times and with different brands of coconut milk. With one, it was too coconutty and I would water it down to 1.5 coconut and 0.5 cup water, but with the other, 2 cups of coconut milk was fine. And yes, soya sauce does wonders. I don't remember how much I put, but like a splash, 1 tbsp or something.
locustfeast November 17, 2018
this is a delightful and incredibly easy recipe. I did not have curry powder so i used the thai kitchen (brand) curry paste + i added broccoli florets to make it a complete dinner. LOVED it.
Margie V. November 13, 2018
Really delicious! Increased chicken to 1.5 pounds (increased spices a bit) and then 1 can of coconut milk was the right amount. Did not need cilantro, but lime juice really brightened it up.
Linda D. October 30, 2018
I agree with Martin. This dish is delicious! And like Marty, I used the entire can of coconut milk. I read Ann's comments and will try the roasted cauliflower and potatoes one time.
Martin October 8, 2018
This is delicious. I have never cooked an indian dish and didn't have any of the spices on hand, so I went to the shop to buy them just for this. This is easy and really quick to make; I absolutely love it.
Ann M. September 20, 2018
Skipped the chicken and added roasted cauliflower and potatoes. Yum.
Nohra August 21, 2018
Please, save the ziploc bag to the planet and just toss the ingredients in a bowl
Marty H. April 28, 2018
This is really good! I added in some red bell pepper and a bit of chopped up broccoli. I added the entire can of coconut milk and skipped the water. My coconut milk had indeed separated but when the lumps hit the hot pan, they melt with a bit of stirring. I found it had enough spice and heat. Will definitely make again!
susan__ April 23, 2018
Taste was wonderful , but gritty<br />with the spices . What should I do? Thanks
EC March 20, 2018
LIke many of the commenters, added more spice, tomato paste, and whole can of TJ light coconut milk. Added red peppers while cooking the chicken and, carrots<br />and romancesco that was steamed in the microwave. Easy, comforting, highly adaptable weeknight meal. Great for winter if you want something rich but still healthy. Flavor wise is on the mild, lighter side. Lacks a bit of depth/umami which I fixed with a dash of soy sauce and a little sugar. Also made a little roux with tapioca starch to thicken it slightly. Tastes similar to mild Japanese curry but without all the additives you get in the prefab packs. The cilantro, lime (or acid of choice) and extra condiments like chutney, Japanese ginger, etc. really help to give it some flavor complexity and texture.
alargura January 24, 2018
We add half a bag of frozen petite green peas a few minutes before serving and it adds a nice contrast in flavor and color. Serve with brown rice and chopped peanuts, lime and cilantro and it's delicious.
Simone January 11, 2018
What is a recommended side dish for this curry? I've made it a few times (love it) and always serve it over rice. Curios to know what ppl suggest on the side!?
Poppygold January 11, 2018
Eva E. January 26, 2018
My kids love naan on the side
Sapphyreopal5 December 31, 2017
I decided to double the recipe and added the entire can of coconut milk. So amazing!
marsiamarsia October 8, 2017
I made this recipe using shrimp instead of chicken. Not quite so cheap, but just as delectable! I used shrimp with tails off, and cooked them only about 2½ or 3 minutes, watching them carefully till they turned pink. Absolutely divine! Thanks so much for the recipe, Table9!
SandraH May 21, 2017
Made this tonight and it was Delish! Like others, I increased the spices a bit, used the whole can of coconut (no water) and doubled the tomato paste. Added some grated ginger and some diced carrot and zucchini since I had it on hand. What a revelation of a recipe! Thank you Table9!
Adrienne August 22, 2017
Thanks for your comment! I made with similar alterations with wonderful results.
SandraH August 22, 2017
This is my favourite curry recipe!
Holly S. February 14, 2017
Tried this tonight for the first time. It was great but we ended up making burritos with it. Just put curry chicken and white rice on burrito with cabbage and a little ponzu sauce. So yummy!
Holly S. February 14, 2017
Also I did like several people suggested and put the whole can of coconut milk. The raw cabbage in the wrap really added to it!
Nancy January 15, 2017
Used the whole can of coconut milk and added more chicken. Delish!!
cayt November 13, 2016
My 6th grade son used this delicious recipe for a class assignment. He needed local, seasonal "spotlight" ingredients, so he added potatoes, carrots and broccoli, we tweaked a few measurements - delicious!
cayt November 13, 2016
Like others, we increased the spices, added the whole can of coconut milk, and I doubled the tomato paste too.
shortnsweet November 9, 2016
took a heavy hand with the spices and tomato paste, added some ginger, chickpeas, golden raisins and the whole can of coconut milk, and topped it with cilantro and toasted almonds. oh, yum. yum yum.
Poppygold August 5, 2016
Yes! Will serve with roasted cashews, fresh cilantro and limes atop.