Right, let’s talk curry. Simple Coconut Curry Chicken, to be precise. She’s a goddess on your dinner rotation: Fresh, easy and loaded with flavor from onions, garlic, ginger. Plus there are all the green veggies: Sugar snap peas, spinach and zucchini – love at first sight ?
On our way back from the UK a few weeks ago, we had one of the most pleasant experiences out there: Spending 6 hours at the airport with two little kids. Six. Hours.
It would have been absolutely horrible, hadn’t we found a Wagamama once finally past security. And, oh. It has made me fall in love with Asian food all over again. I had this amazing bowl of slurpy noodles and veg and steak bulgogi and immediately vowed to make more Asian food once I’m home again. I mean, as one does, right?
So… I came back home, ran to the store and… In my usual scatty self, forgot all about the curry paste. But then I figured out this amazing way to make a curry without any curry paste:
With a few simple ingredients, a bit of chopping (or food processing, if you call such fancy gadgets your own) and you’ll be left with not only a flavourful and creamy, but also a pretty light dish when it comes to coconut milk curry. I call it my cheat’s curry paste method.
Six essential facts about this simple cheat’s coconut curry chicken:
- Light on the oil and coconut milk, light(-ish) on the heaviness.
- The cheat’s homemade curry paste is made up of only 4 ingredients. Yes, that’s right. Four. You’ll be alright on an average Thursday night with this.
- You don’t have to do anything perfectly here. It’s the recipersonification of lazy-ish cooking, which is what I’m all about, baby.
- You can serve this with anything you like. Rice, noodles, naan bread which is totally Indian and this curry is more Thai but go you kitten for being a fusion kitchen savage. Also, you can do cauliflower rice but just don’t tell me about it. It may be an unpopular opinion, but that stuff has no business calling itself rice. Fact.
- Leftovers are mediocre because of the spinach. I’m scared of reheating spinach because of the nitrates. Or nitrites? Which is why this recipe is written for two people. You can easily adjust the serving size right within the recipe card (cool, right?). If you’re planning on leftovers, only add spinach to the portions you’re serving right away.
- Forget it, there won’t be any leftovers. It’s just too delicious.
If I may just add one more thing here: I absolutely adore food from all over the world. Yet, I have only two other curries currently on the blog: This Quick Thai Shrimp Curry with Pineapple and this Healing Turmeric Chickpea Curry.
But I have plans to make 2018 the year of me sharing the kind of food I Love most with the photos I love most and the words I love most… So, here we are. A big, warm welcome to this fab green coconut curry chicken.
And now let’s get cooking!
How to make coconut curry chicken:
Here’s the tl;dr:
- Season chicken
- Make fake curry paste
- Brown chicken
- Add onion paste and cook, covered
- Add coconut milk and water, simmer
- Add zucchini and snap peas, simmer some more
- Stir in spinach
- Bury face in fragrant bowl of curry
Here’s the long version, including a red velvety top that’s going to make you so jealous (just wait and see):
First, you’ll need to chop a bunch of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts… doesn’t matter) into bite-sized pieces. Throw on some curry powder (anything you have in the back of that cupboard will do, even garam masala) and salt.
Don’t squirm, picture of raw chicken coming up. It’s just a part of this cooking game.
Then… Just stir until it’s all covered and set it aside. Red velvety top optional, but highly recommended.
Secondly, you’ll need to separate a bunch of cilantro into the leaves and stalks. Remember how I said this is lazy-ish and imperfect? Yeah. I would never ask you to painstakingly pluck every leaf off the stalks on a tired Thursday night.
So, just roughly separate and it will take 30 seconds:
Drop the stems into a mini food processor (or on a chopping board beneath your knife) with onion, garlic and ginger.
P.S: The fancy gadget inhabiting my kitchen is this Breville beast (I make a commission for purchases made through this link) and I would not ever give it away again.
Look how pretty your cheat’s curry almost-paste is: (I know it’s more very finely minced than paste, but remember? Imperfection is at play here.)
And then it’s time to brown that chicken you smothered in curry powder all over:
After a few minutes, you can add your super-minced onion mix. Don’t fret, it will look ugly.
Put a lid on and forget about it for five minutes on low heat. In the meantime, you can slice the world’s most uncomplicated veg (apart from frozen peas and corn kernels): A zucchini and a handful of sugar snap peas. 2 minutes. done.
They go in right after a small tin of coconut milk and some water. Simmer simmer, chicken dinner.
Once the zucchini and snap peas are tender (do not let them turn into mush or we can no longer be friends), grab yourself some spinach.
(I know what you’re thinking. You do want that red velvet top now.)
No matter what you’re wearing though, drop that spinach like it’s hot. Then stir into the curry until it’s wilted.
If you’ve got a groovy pace going (may I recommend some Cindy Lauper to go with your cooking?), you’ll be looking at minute 30 about now. Not bad, right? Your Thursday night just opened wide up.
And by opening up I definitely mean Netflix and wine in bed.
All that’s left to do while minute 31 is running: Scoop curry on your plate and slay the toppings.
Chopped peanuts, obviously:
And also those cilantro leaves. Some sliced red onion. Maybe some shaved coconut? idk, it’s delicious.
And then feast, my darling. Feast.
P.P.S: If you ever happen to be anywhere near a Wagamama, go eat there. Just do it. You’ll even get pens and a crazy placemat to color in while you wait for your food. That deserves highest praises in my books (but then again I might be suffering from the tiny human bias).
Here’s your recipe:
- 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast OR thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 large onion
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger root
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch cilantro, stalks and leaves roughly separated
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil, or virtually any other oil for cooking, coconut oil just tastes the best here
- 1 5.5-oz can coconut milk
- 1/2 cup water, or more if needed
- 1 kaffir lime leaf, optional
- 1 small zucchini, sliced
- 1 cup sugar snap peas, halved
- 1 large handful baby spinach
- To serve: cooked basmati rice, sliced cucumber, sliced chili, sliced red onion, cilantro, lime wedges, roasted peanuts, shaved coconut... Whatever you love!
- Season the chicken: Place the chicken in a bowl with the curry powder and salt and stir well to coat. Set aside.
- Make the onion paste: Place the onion, ginger, garlic and cilantro stalks (set the leaves aside for serving the curry later) in a mini food processor and process, scraping the sides from time to time, until very finely minced. It should look almost like a paste - the better you do this, the smoother and creamier your curry will be.
- Get cooking: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned chicken and cook until browned. Add the onion paste and stir well for one minute. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the skillet with a lid. Cook like this for 5 minutes.
- Add milk and veg: Once the raw onion smell is gone and the onion paste has cooked gently without browning, pour in the coconut milk and water and add the kaffir lime leaf, if using. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, then add the zucchini and sugar snap peas and simmer for another 4-5 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked (but not mushy). Add more water if it seems dry/is getting too thick.
- Serve: Take the curry off the heat and immediately stir in the baby spinach to wilt it. Serve over rice if you like and garnish with all the trimmings. I usually do cilantro leaves, shaved coconut, red onion, cucumber, roasted peanuts and a squeeze of lime. So, not much at all, ha!
Nutrition (this is an estimate)
P.P.P.S: Make it and then tell me what you think! Or share a photo/story on Instagram with the hashtag #savorynothings. I’d love to chat to you about food!