m. c. de marco: The New Kitchen Cookbook

Sri Lankan Coconut Chicken Curry

Peter had a Sri Lankan cooking class for work (just another one of those coronavirus things), and this recipe is adapted from the recipe they made. Another option is The Best Sri Lankan Chicken Curry.

You can make your own Sri Lankan roasted curry powder, buy it (if you can find it), or briefly roast some regular curry powder in a dry pan.

Serves 2.


  • 1 lb. chicken, sliced to the bone or cubed if boneless
  • 3 T. coconut or any cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 fresh green chili peppers (e.g., serranos, or hotter ones if you prefer), unseeded, sliced into circles
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 T. or 1" fresh ginger, crushed
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 6–8 wedges
  • 1–2 sprigs fresh curry leaves (10–20 individual leaves)
  • ¼ c. coconut milk (the canned style)

Dry spices

  • 1 T. roasted curry powder
  • 1–5 tsp. pure chili powder or cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. regular paprika (optional)
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp. fenugreek powder (optional)
  • ½ tsp. salt


  1. Mix the dry spices.
  2. Mix chicken with dry spices. Optionally sprinkle with some water to combine better. Marinate for up to an hour.
  3. Fry onion, chilis, and cinnamon stick in the oil.
  4. Add ginger and garlic.
  5. Add chicken and fry briefly.
  6. Top with tomato and curry leaves, but do not stir. not stirring
  7. Cover and cook on medium for about 5 minutes.
  8. Uncover and stir.
  9. Add 1 cup hot water to the chicken marinating bowl, and from there to the pot. (If you’re using boneless chicken and you’re impatient, you can reduce this to ½ c.)
  10. Cover and boil a few minutes on medium.
  11. Uncover and cook down (at boiling) until the water is mostly reduced. reducing
  12. Reduce heat, add coconut milk, and cook briefly.
  13. Serve over rice.


Slice the chili in half if you need to remove it later.

You can crush the ginger and garlic together.

You can split the curry between roasted curry powder and regular curry powder.

Instead of the marinating/steaming process, you can put the dry spices in after the onion and then add all the liquid (use only ½ c. water) to make a curry sauce. Cook it 10 minutes, then add the raw chicken at the end and simmer 15–20 minutes.