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Coconut Curry Chicken – winter weeknight dinner

How many days are actually in January and why does it feel like that answer is 2,345? It never fails.  January always feels like the longest month ever.  Always.  Maybe because it directly follows the cheery holiday season.  All the decorations are now put away, the festive twinkly lights are switched off, kids have gone back to school leaving in their wake unmade beds and piles of laundry you keep putting off, and the weather is cold and dreary (especially this year.....mother nature is wreaking havoc!).  Now that we're empty nesters, I find January especially challenging to get my mojo and routine back.  I miss my kids and all the noise in the house, their voices, their help cooking in the kitchen and all the conversations around the dining room table.  I think that's why we tend to crave comfort food on dark winter nights.  Big bowls of soup, or pasta or this very tasty coconut curry chicken, are like a giant hug.  The smells of the spices, the methodical chopping of the ingredients, the aroma as it cooks on the stove is all comforting.  When it comes to curry, you can use whatever is in your pantry, but I highly recommend using vadouvan curry.  It has all the Indian spices with the addition of traditional French spices like fennel and shallots which creates a really beautiful warm, toasty and earthy flavor.  

This coconut curry chicken recipe is one I turn to often.  It's super easy to make (which is a plus, especially on night's you don't have time or don't feel like cooking) and it's also highly adaptable.  The other night I had some red and yellow peppers that were looking a bit sad and wilted, and after about 30 minutes my husband and I ate steaming bowls of this (over rice, of course!) while we finished up watching Drops of God.  OH MY GOSH....have you watched this series yet? It's on Apple+ and is amazing!! You absolutely need to watch it! 


Can I use coconut cream instead of coconut milk?

Absolutely!   But it will make for a richer, creamier curry.  To lighten it up, use less coconut cream (start with 1/2 can) or add some chicken broth. 

Can I use shrimp instead?

Yep!  If you're not a fan of chicken, or want to switch things up, you can absolutely use shrimp or tofu. 

Can I use different vegetables?

This is a really versatile recipe and you can absolutely use other vegetables.  Bok choy, carrots, green beans, zucchini all work.  You can also add chickpeas, butternut squash or eggplant.  Because it's so versatile, it's a great recipe for helping you clean out your veggie drawer.  

Can I use curry paste instead?

Curry powder and curry paste are very different.   Curry powder is dry while curry paste is wet, and there isn't much ingredient crossover between the two besides cumin and garlic.  Curry paste also has chilies in it and curry powder doesn't which means curry paste has a spicier flavor.  Because of the spice, curry paste has a much more assertive and intense flavor.  You can absolutely use either red or green curry paste in this, and the flavor will be delicious, but it will also result in a much different dish flavor wise.  


overhead shot of chicken curry in a blue bowl on a straw mat with limes.

Coconut Curry Chicken

When temps dip, this warming curry is the perfect one pot recipe. Onions, red and yellow peppers are sautéed with spices and coconut milk until the flavors deepen. It all comes together in one pot, so minimum dishes and, even better, minimum effort.
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Course: Dinner
Keyword: chicken, chicken breast, coconut milk, curry, curry chicken
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 1/2 to 2 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
  • 1-2 tablespoon vadouvan curry
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 mangos, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • one 13.5 ounce can full fat coconut milk
  • 3 large skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • Lime wedges


  • Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and bell pepper cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Add the curry powder and cumin, cook for a few more minutes. The spices will absorb some of the oil, so if anything begins to stick too much to the bottom of the pan, add a little more oil to the pan.
  • Add the vinegar and coconut milk to the pan. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat. Scoop the sauce into a blender. Purée the sauce, pulsing until smooth. Return the sauce to the pan.
  • Add chicken pieces to the pan. Return to a low simmer. Cover the pan and let cook for 8-10 minutes. Chicken should be just cooked through. Use a knife to cut open the largest piece to check to be sure it's cooked.
  • Stir in spinach at the very end and continue cooking, on low, until spinach wilts into the curry.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. You might need to add a bit of salt and pepper. Add a squeeze of lime juice before serving.
  • Serve over rice. Garnish with cilantro.
Have you made this recipe?I'd love to know! Leave a comment or recipe rating and tag me @amenuforyou on social media!


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