Sri Lankan Chicken Curry Recipe

The greatest asian contribution to my eating habits would have to be curry. Easy to throw together, although they can use a lot of spices, and slow cook like a stew or casserole. Then so many variations on a theme, from a vindaloo to rangdang, green Thai to Sri Lankan coconut. A quick check of my cookbook collection would show that I have more dedicated to curry than any other category of food. The good news is the leftovers freeze well and often taste even better after reheating. Also being a stew type of dish work well with cheaper cuts of meat.

And if you love chillies the spiciness is easily adjusted to your own personal pain tolerance. For me the ideal amount results in all the pores on your face open at once and getting that pumped up on dopamine feeling where your head is floating above your shoulders.

I have to admit that when I was growing up, and despite several years living in south east asia, I didn’t like curry. I have spoken to numerous people that say the same thing, that as a kid didn’t eat curry and as an adult love it. So other than for breakfast, I now love it. So this is one from Sri Lanka  that I have made several times.

Like all curries a collection of spices is needed, some which require an expedition to the asian / Indian importer. The most difficult to find of these was the fenugreek which is optional but worth including, most of the others were from a local supermarket.

Sri Lankan Chicken Curry Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Sri Lankan chicken curry recipe from scratch.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Curry
Serves: 6
  • 1.5 kg chicken cut up
  • Ghee
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 2 Onions diced
  • 4 - 6 garlic cloves diced or grated
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
Other Spices
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • t tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground fennel seed
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 3-6 finely chopped chillies (add more if you like it hot)
  • 2 tsp salt
Whole spices
  • 6 cardamom seed pods bruised
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 lemongrass stalk
Other ingredients
  • 2 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
Add Before Serving
  • 1 cup coconut cream (or milk)
  • 1 lime (or lemon)
  1. Add fenugreek seeds and curry leaves to heated Ghee.
  2. Over low heat until leaves brown
  1. Add the onion, ginger and garlic
  2. Brown in the hot Ghee
  1. Add the other spices as listed plus the malt vinegar
  2. Mix everything thoroughly to even consistency
  1. Add chicken to pot
  2. Mix / stir until the chicken is evenly covered by spices
  3. Add lemongrass, tomato and whole spices
  1. Cook over low heat for 1 hour
  2. Add lime and coconut cream before serving.
Adapted from The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmain Solomon (2011)


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