I've been making variations of this dish for years, inspired by Jamie Oliver's recipe for tender & crisp chicken legs with sweet tomatoes. I love the original recipe and have adapted it significantly to make this dish, which is more like a curry or stew that is reminiscent of my favorite Sri Lankan chicken curry. It has since been my go-to when I need a low-effort dish that is still very satisfying. This requires very little work compared to a traditional curry and because of the minimal hands-on time, it's easy to double or triple to feed larger crowds.
I use a Sri Lankan curry powder but the recipe also works fabulously with a Madras blend curry powder or any other curry powders. Substituting other fresh herbs such as cilantro or basil also work well if you can’t find curry leaves. For a more substantial one-pot meal, I like to add in canned chickpeas halfway during the cooking process.
A few other things to note:
- To prevent the chicken from sticking, it helps if you first rub or spray a bit of cooking oil all over the bottom and sides of your pot before tossing all the ingredients in.
- Note that some curry powders may contain salt, so be careful not to add too much salt at the beginning. It’s best to taste and adjust after the halfway mark once the coconut milk has been added.
- Use bone-in chicken with the skin on for best results.
- Avoid adding red chillies at the beginning of the process if your spice tolerance is low. You can adjust the amount of heat by adding chopped fresh chillies towards the end, if you need it.
- I often add a small splash of vinegar, lime juice or a small amount of tamarind paste at the end if the dish needs more acidity to balance flavors.
chicken, legs or thighs
red chili powder
fresh red chillies
vegetable or coconut oil
salt, to taste
thick unsweetened coconut milk
can chickpeas (optional), drained
cilantro (optional), chopped
In This Recipe
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Throw all the ingredients except coconut milk, chickpeas and cilantro (if using) into in a snug oven-safe pot (a dutch oven works well) and mix everything together gently, rubbing the spices into the chicken a bit and pushing the tomatoes underneath. Place in the oven and let cook for 1 hour.
After an hour, add the coconut milk and chickpeas (if using) to the pot. Give everything a gentle stir and place back in the oven for another thirty minutes to an hour, until the chicken is cooked through and nearly falling off the bone.
Remove from oven. Adjust salt and sprinkle with cilantro, if using.