Authentic, spicy and full of flavor this is hands-down the BEST Sri Lankan Chicken Curry you’ll ever make.
If there’s one Sri Lankan dish that has to be in your cooking repertoire let it be this chicken curry dish. This delicious curry is cooked in our household at least once a week- more if we have company. Or whenever I feel nostalgic about Sri Lanka. It is also a popular dish served in most homes and restuarants.
Why You Should Make This Sri Lankan Chicken Curry
- EASY to make.
- Produces CONSISTENT results every time – if you follow the recipe.
- Uses my home-made Easiest Sri Lankan Roasted Curry Powder that takes just 5 minutes to whip up and makes the dish tantalizinly delicious and authentic.
- Versatile. Spicy or mild – with coconut milk or without – you can take the base recipe and modify to suit your tastebuds.
Whole Chicken or Boneless Chicken?
Good question. I love to use the whole chicken, the dark meat, white meat and the bones – which flavors the gravy aka. the chicken curry sauce. I get my butcher to skin the whole chicken and cut it into 12 to 14 pieces.
OR bone-in chicken thigh or leg pieces work wonderfully too.
If you must go boneless, consider using dark meat – boneless chicken thighs. Or chicken breast if you are in a pinch. But this will reduce the cooking time for about 15-20 min.
Is the Chicken Curry Spicy?
Not really, because you add just one teaspoon of red chili powder or cayenne pepper. The Sri Lankan chili powder can be very spicy. But if your taste buds aren’t seasoned enough to handle the heat just reduce it to half a teaspoon of chilli powder/cayenne pepper . Or use Kashmiri chilli powder. It’s what I use. It gives a bright red hue and it’s mild in heat.
What Makes Sri Lankan Chicken Curry Special?
Without a doubt our homemade roasted curry powder. There is no reason not to make it. It literally takes 5-6 min. You gather and roast in a pan the following spices and grind them into a fine powder. You’ll be rewarded with a wonderfully delicious curry and a fragrant aroma that will salivate those around you.
- Coriander, Cumin and Fennel seeds
- Fenugreek, Mustard seeds and Curry leaves
- Cardomom, Cloves and Cinnamon
- Raw rice
How to Make the Chicken Curry
Marinate: Marinate the chicken in curry powder, chilli, turmeric, vinegear and salt for atleast ten minutes. I marinate the chicken and then proceed to chop and prep the ingredients.
Cook: You sweat the onions, ginger and garlic – add tomatoes, marinated chicken, tomato paste or puree and water cook on high heat until the curry comes to boil.
Simmer: Once the curry comes to a boil you reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Add coconut milk and futher simmer for 10 minutes.
What to Serve the Curry With
- serve on a bed of rice alongside several vegetable curries and salad like we Sri Lankans like to eat
- with white rice, brown rice or cauli rice for the health conscious
- with naan or roti to scoop up the curry
- on a heaping bowl of quinoa (my favorite!)
More curry recipes
This is the Best Sri Lankan Chicken Curry you’ll ever make!
Let me hear all about your curry shenigans and how you enjoyed it.
Sri Lankan Chicken Curry
- Dutch Oven
- 2 lbs chicken whole chicken cut into pieces or any bone-in chicken thigh/leg pieces
- 2 1/2 tbsp Sri Lankan roasted curry powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper or red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, medium chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic minced
- 1 tbsp ginger minced
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- 2 green chillies sliced
- 1 large roma tomato chopped
- 1/4 cup tomato passata/sauce/puree OR 1 tbsp tomato paste with 2 tbsp water
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- Marinate the chicken with roasted curry powder, red chili powder, turmeric,salt and vinegar for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and saute the onions until they become translucent. Add minced ginger and garlic. Fry for 2 minutes.
- Add the marinated chicken, green chili and curry leaves and give it a good stir. Let it fry for 2 minutes. Then add the chopped tomato and let it cook down.
- Add tomato passata/puree and a cup of water. Let the curry come to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium, cover and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add coconut milk and cook uncovered for further 10 minutes. Taste to see if it needs more salt.
- Serve over rice or with naan or roti.
- Boneless chicken- reduce initial simmering time to 15 minutes
- Curry powder- generic store bought curry powder can be used but it will be of different taste.
- Tomato passata- this is uncooked strained pureed tomatoes. You can find it in most supermarkets. If you don’t have any add one more chopped large tomato or 1/4 cup pureed tomato. Or substitute 1 tbsp tomato paste mixed in 2 tbsp water.
- Red chili powder- use kashmiri red chili powder for mild heat but more color.
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