Curry infused chicken cooks in a rich and creamy tomato-based sauce until fork tender. This easy Coconut Curry Chicken recipe with cauliflower and red bell pepper is the ultimate comfort food!
I’ve been making this Coconut Curry Chicken on the regular for over a decade now. I turn to this recipe again and again when we get that undeniable curry craving. If you are a curry lover, you know exactly what I mean.
If you are new to curry, this easy chicken curry recipe is an excellent one to start with. It’s not as exotic as you might think. I promise! It’s really just a rustic chicken stew with an intensely fragrant and flavorful sauce. Serve it over cooked rice for an incredibly crave-worthy meal.
Our boys had the great fortune to grow up in an area of great diversity, and as a result, have developed some pretty sophisticated palates. They’ve sampled all kinds of cuisine cooked in the homes of their friends and at restaurants around Silicon Valley and now the Portland area.
It is SO important to introduce your little ones to all kinds of flavors while they are young so they will be open to new cuisines and expand their food horizons as they go through life. This yummy chicken curry is an excellent way to introduce your little ones to something new.
- Oil – Use a neutral oil with a high smoke point like vegetable or canola oil.
- Curry powder – I love that this recipe calls for curry powder instead of curry paste since it is so easy to stock. It will stay fresh if stored in a cool, dry pantry for up to 3 to 4 years. Invest in a bottle of curry powder and it will serve you for years!
- Yellow onion
- Red bell pepper – Seeded and cut into julienne strips
- Minced garlic
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts – Cut into ½-inch chunks
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Coconut milk – You’ll need 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk. See the FAQ section below for more details.
- Diced tomatoes – I go back and forth between using regular canned diced tomatoes and fire-roasted. Both work great.
- Tomato sauce
- Sugar– It adds just a hint of sweetness and helps balance the acidity in the tomato-based sauce.
- Crushed red pepper flakes – Use more or less to reach the desired level of spiciness. As written, this is a mildly spicy dish. If you’re feeding little ones or sensitive folks, you can leave it out altogether and instead, add it as desired to individual servings.
- Cauliflower florets – From about half a head of cauliflower.
- Cooked white or brown rice – Prepared according to the package directions.
How to Make Coconut Curry Chicken
- Heat the oil in a large, deep sauté pan or Dutch oven. Add the curry and cook, stirring, for two minutes, to toast the curry. Allow the curry oil to brown but lower the heat, if needed, so that it doesn’t burn.
- Add the onions and bell pepper, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Next, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the chicken, tossing lightly to coat it with the curry oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is cooked through.
- Add the coconut milk, tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, and crushed red pepper and stir to combine.
- Finally, add the cauliflower. Increase heat and cook until the mixture just comes to a boil.
- Reduce the and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower and bell pepper are tender.
How to Serve Chicken Curry
Cook white or brown rice according to the package directions to serve with this Coconut Curry Chicken. It is delicious garnished with cilantro leaves and sometimes we like to add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and a squeeze of fresh lime juice for a nice citrus note.
Store bought naan or flatbread, warmed in the oven or toasted in a dry skillet is a natural fit. Use it to soak up that irresistible sauce.
FAQ and Valerie’s Tips
Coconut milk is a creamy, white liquid made from the flesh of coconut pureed with water. It is a non-dairy ingredient that adds richness, body, and delicious flavor to soups, curries, and sauces. Even if you shake the can well, you’ll most likely notice a layer of rich coconut cream on top when you open it with the thinner coconut milk underneath. Add the entire contents of the can, including the thick top layer.
Look for cans of coconut milk in the international cuisine section of your grocery store. To avoid confusion while you’re shopping, be aware that there are a couple of other products with similar names. You do not want the carton of coconut milk that is stocked in the dairy case with the almond milk and is used as a non-dairy milk substitute. And, you do not want canned coconut cream, which is basically an entire can of the rich top layer you find in coconut milk.
Lite coconut milk is basically more watered down and as a result, it is thinner and contains less fat than regular coconut milk. I have made this Coconut Curry Chicken with both full fat and lite coconut milk but for the most comforting, delicious result, full fat is the way to go. If you are watching fat and calories, you can definitely use the reduced fat version but the curry will not be quite as rich. Sometimes this is a trade-off that’s worth it to me.
The aroma of this Coconut Curry Chicken as it cooks is incredible and I should warn you, it will stick around for awhile. Anyone who comes in your door for the next 24 hours is going to demand that you warm some up for them. That is, if you have any leftovers.
More Comfort in a Bowl
- White Chicken Chili
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
- Chicken and Sausage Stew with White Beans and Spinach
- Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup
Coconut Curry Chicken
- 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into julienne strips
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts,, cut into ½-inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 14 ounces canned coconut milk,
- 14.5 ounces canned diced tomatoes, regular or fire-roasted
- 16 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 2 cups small cauliflower florets, about half a head of cauliflower
- 3 cups cooked white or brown rice, prepared according to package directions
Optional For Serving
- cilantro leaves, plain Greek yogurt, lime wedges
- Add the oil to a Dutch oven or large, deep sauté pan and place over MEDIUM heat. Add the curry and cook, stirring, for two minutes, to toast the curry. Allow the curry oil to brown but lower the heat, if needed, so that it doesn't burn. Stir in the onions and red bell pepper, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add chicken, tossing lightly to coat with the curry oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.
- Add the coconut milk, tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, and crushed red pepper to the pan, and stir to combine. Add cauliflower. Increase heat to MEDIUM-HIGH and cook until mixture just comes to a boil. Reduce heat to LOW and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, approximately 30 to 40 minutes, or until cauliflower and bell pepper are tender.
- Serve over rice.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
Adapted from Allrecipes
This post was originally published on January 18, 2012. It has been updated with new text and images.
Questions and Reviews
I would like to make this for myself (2 servings),. What do you suggest?
You can scale it in half but since you’d have to open cans you might as well use them up. I would suggest making a full batch and freezing what you don’t need for an easy future meal.
I am allergic to tomatoes. Is there something I can use in its stead?
I’d probably have to recommend you search for a curry that is not tomato based. There are some out there. Best of luck!