Coconut Curry Chicken

The recipe makes ample sauce for spooning over vegetables, rice or noodles.

Slideshow: Amazing Chicken Recipes

  • Servings: 6 TO 8


  • 15 medium dried red chiles, such as Kashmiri, Guajillo or New Mexico, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 10 medium garlic cloves, halved
  • 3 stalks of fresh lemongrass, tender white inner bulbs only, minced
  • One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium shallots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro stems and leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon dried shrimp paste
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Three 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Asian fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 8 whole chicken legs, separated

How to make this recipe

  1. In a medium heatproof bowl, soak the dried chiles in the boiling water until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain well, reserving the soaking liquid. In a food processor, combine the chiles, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, shallots, chopped cilantro, shrimp paste, curry powder and salt and process to a smooth paste.

  2. Skim 1 cup of the thick cream from the top of the canned coconut milk. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, cook the coconut cream over moderate heat, stirring, until it becomes oily, about 5 minutes. Add the chile paste and fry over moderately high heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Stir in the reserved chile soaking liquid and the remaining coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add the chicken and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Serve the chicken curry garnished with cilantro.

Published May 2002

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