Goan coconut chicken curry

Goan coconut chicken curry

Indian Food Made Easy
Vanessa Courtier

This creamy curry is typical Goan fare. It is a mild dish that is full of flavour. The triple dose of coconut is not a statement but an easy way of substituting fresh coconut which can be cumbersome to deal with. In an ideal world, one coconut would be cracked open, some flesh ground with water to get thick milk, some ground for thin milk and the remainder grated. I find it easier to substitute three shop-bought alternatives but you can use the real thing if you prefer. Goans often eat their curries with their local bread or red, nutty rice. I think it works well with any rice, naan or even baguette.


Quantity Ingredient
6 tablespoons desiccated coconut
1-2 fresh large red chillies
8g fresh ginger, peeled
15g garlic, peeled
1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons white poppy seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small-medium onion, peeled and sliced
salt, to taste
1kg chicken, skinned and cut into small joints
250ml coconut milk
2 teaspoons tamarind paste, or to taste
50g creamed coconut


  1. Dry-roast the coconut in a small pan over a medium heat until it is golden brown. Grind into a fine paste with the red chillies, ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander and poppy seeds. Add a splash of water to help it grind down.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the onion and fry for 4–5 minutes until it is golden brown. Add the salt and paste and fry for another 5–6 minutes or until all the excess moisture has dried off and the paste has had a few minutes to fry off.
  3. Add the chicken pieces and cook in the paste for 5 minutes over a moderate heat, then stir in the coconut milk and bring to a gentle boil. Turn the heat down to low and cook, covered, for 30–35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. Uncover the pan and stir in the tamarind and creamed coconut; cook for another few minutes or until the gravy is creamy. If there is not enough water in the pan at any time, add a splash or two from the kettle.
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