One-Pot Wonders

Baba's Chicken Curry

September 12, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

My father has made his chicken curry at least once every month since I can remember, and as a little boy my job was to taste it at the end and recommend any adjustment of seasonings. It was never made the same way twice, though the core of the recipe is a braise of dark meat in onions. Tomatoes and coconut are alternately left in or out. Root vegetables go in when on hand. Using plenty of onions and plenty of spice is the thing. After some trial and error, here is my version. You could serve it with rice, naan, or bread. And try some sliced raw onion and cucumber dressed with salt and lemon juice. —asabnis

What You'll Need
  • 4 skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 skinless chicken drumsticks
  • 3 large onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 inches ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 large, waxy potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 3 large carrots, sliced into coins
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (canned is fine)
  • Cumin, ground
  • Coriander, ground
  • Turmeric, ground
  • Cayenne, ground
  • Garam masala
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup dried, unsweetened coconut flakes (or canned coconut milk)
  • Chicken broth (or water)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper, ground
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 Lemon
  • Cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, for garnish
  1. Wash and clean the chicken parts. Coat all over with a dusting of: salt, black pepper, turmeric, cayenne, coriander, cumin, and garam masala. The spices should stick to the chicken and coat it completely.
  2. Prepare coconut milk: 1 cup dried coconut + 2 cups hot water. Run in a blender until smooth. Separate liquid from solids through a fine mesh strainer. Set aside.
  3. Heat a thin layer of vegetable oil in a large heavy pot, like a Dutch oven. Brown the chicken parts on all sides, in batches if necessary, and remove from pot.
  4. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, and cinnamon to the pot, and cook a few minutes until onions soften.
  5. Add 1 heaping tablespoon each of cumin and coriander, and 3 heaping tablespoons of garam masala to the onions. Continue cooking and stir occasionally for a few minutes.
  6. Add chicken, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and coconut milk to the pot. Add enough chicken stock or water so that the top of the chicken is just exposed. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat and cover and simmer for 1-2 hours. Stir occasionally, and near the end of cooking, remove the lid to thicken the curry, simmering for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat.
  7. Taste and correct seasonings. Remove the cinnamon stick. Squeeze in some lemon juice, and toss in a few cilantro leaves, prior to serving.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • KirstenS
  • AntoniaJames
  • asabnis
  • Angela

5 Reviews

KirstenS February 7, 2012
Thank you! This was so simple, but such lovely comfort food. I was looking for a Sunday night stew and something new to do with winter veggies, too, and this fit the bill. I subbed the potatoes with a turnip and some parsnips. I didn't have garam masala on hand, but kitchen king masala, which worked well too. I wish I'd added more cayenne tho!
asabnis June 17, 2012
Terrific! Yes, the recipe is open to all sorts of improvisation.
Angela March 24, 2014
So if I just use canned coconut milk, how much should I use?
AntoniaJames September 17, 2011
Yummmm. I'm craving food like this as summer turns into fall. Great recipe. Thanks so much for posting it! ;o)
asabnis September 18, 2011
You're welcome! Enjoy it and let me know how it turns out.