This coconut Thai chicken curry is an easy one-pan dinner that’s bursting with flavor from cumin, coriander and mustard seeds, ground ginger, yellow curry powder, turmeric powder and lots of vegetables. Red bell pepper, pineapple and lime juice add freshness and chopped peanuts make for a crunchy finish.
Much of the flavor in this curry comes from spice seeds and ground spices. You will need ground turmeric and ginger, mild or medium yellow curry powder, cumin, coriander and mustard seeds and a fresh garlic clove.
As always, I highly recommend that you use high-quality spices from a dedicated spice shop. This will make a huge difference in any dish but I find that it is especially true for curries and for curry powder.
How to make the curry:
Make an onion puree:
Step 1. Add 1 large, roughly chopped yellow onion, ½ cup water and ½ cup chicken broth to a pot. Boil, uncovered, until almost all liquid has evaporated and the onion is cooked. Let cool a bit.
Step 2. Process the onion into a puree in the food processor.
RECIPE NOTE: The onion puree not only adds flavor to this dish, it also acts as the thickener for this curry and creates a really smooth texture.
Fry the spice seeds:
Step 3. Set the onion puree aside and get out a Dutch oven or a cast iron pan with a lid. (Either one will work but the Dutch oven will do a better job at keeping in any splatter).
Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and then fry the spice seeds in it (¼ teaspoon yellow mustard seeds, ⅛ teaspoon cumin seeds and ⅛ teaspoon coriander seeds).
Fry the onion puree:
Step 4. Once the seeds start to sizzle, carefully add the onion puree (keep a splatter screen ready) and fry for about 7 minutes.
Add the ground spices:
Add 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1 minced or pressed garlic clove and 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder to the pan.
Step 5. Mix the spices into the puree.
Add the chicken:
Step 6. Add in 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces, and fry for 2 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients:
Step 7. Add the remaining ingredients:
- 1 and ½ tablespoons tomato paste
- 13 and ½ ounces coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- ½ red bell pepper, cut into chunks
- 8 ounces canned pineapple chunks, drained
Simmer the curry:
Bring the mix to a boil, cover loosely with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with a little salt and a few drops of lime juice to taste.
Garnish the curry with fresh cilantro, chopped green onion and chopped peanuts and serve over rice with a fresh slice of lime on the side.
The level of spiciness in this Thai chicken curry is determined by the yellow curry powder. I recommend you get mild curry powder for a mild curry and medium for a curry that has a bit of a kick to it.
This curry reheats very well, just store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one day and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Yes, this curry freezes well, just let it cool to room temperature, then transfer it to a freezer bag and freeze.
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Thai Chicken Curry
- 1 large yellow onion
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ¼ teaspoon whole yellow mustard seeds
- ⅛ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- ⅛ teaspoon whole coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
- 1 tablespoon mild or medium yellow curry powder* (depending on how spicy you would like the dish)
- 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast (two medium-sized breast halves), cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can coconut milk (13 ½ ounces)
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 can pineapple chunks (8 ounces), drained
- lime juice
- chopped peanuts, optional
- chopped green onion, optional
- chopped cilantro, optional
- Peel the onion and chop into 2-inch chunks.
- Add the chopped onion to a pot along with chicken broth and ½ cup of water. Boil without a lid until almost all liquid has evaporated.
- Puree the onion in a food processor. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or a cast iron pan to which you have a lid.
- Add mustard, cumin and coriander seeds to the oil and fry on medium-low heat for 2 – 3 minutes. (The seeds need to sizzle but be careful not to burn them.)
- Carefully add the onion puree. (Be careful, this might splatter; keep a splatter screen ready).
- Fry the onion puree for 7 minutes on medium heat.
- Add ginger, turmeric, garlic and curry and stir until you have a homogeneous mix.
- Add the chicken pieces and fry for about 2 minutes.
- Add tomato paste, coconut milk and soy sauce and mix well.
- Add bell pepper and pineapple, bring to a boil, cover loosely with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Season to taste with a little bit of salt, then sprinkle with lime juice to taste and add peanuts, green onion and cilantro as garnish and serve with rice.