In this delicious Thai-style curry, succulent chicken pieces are sautéed in coconut oil, then simmered in a creamy broth of coconut milk, peanut butter, garlic, and ginger.
This wonderfully flavorful curry is ready in about 30 minutes, and you can double the recipe if you'd like since leftovers are excellent too.
My late father-in-law introduced me to this delicious Thai-inspired recipe. He loved Asian food, and always experimented with new recipes.
When he served us this curry, it was so good, so tasty and velvety, that I immediately requested the recipe. Sweet and generous as always, he happily gave it to me. I've been making it regularly ever since.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty Thai chicken curry. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Coconut oil: I use refined oil, which is suitable for high-heat cooking. Avocado oil is another good option.
Aromatics: Onions, garlic, and ginger. I make life easy by chopping the onions in the food processor. While jarred minced garlic and ginger are acceptable, it's best in terms of flavor to mince/grate them yourself.
Seasonings: Kosher salt, curry powder, and cayenne pepper. If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.
Chicken: I use boneless skinless chicken breasts in this recipe. I believe that boneless skinless chicken thighs should work too.
Canned coconut milk: Please use full-fat, not reduced-fat. The reduced-fat isn't very good, in my opinion.
Peanut butter: I use natural, creamy, and unsweetened peanut butter. The only ingredients are peanuts and salt.
Chopped cilantro: Used mostly for garnish, although it also adds a nice layer of flavor.
It's so easy to make this Thai chicken curry! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. The basics are simple:
Cook the onion in coconut oil. Add the garlic, ginger, and seasonings and briefly cook them too.
Add the chicken pieces and stir-fry them for a couple of minutes.
Now, stir in the coconut milk and peanut butter. Make sure to stir the coconut milk well before adding it in.
Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 more minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
It's really important to mix the coconut milk well before using it. Sometimes I find it easier to pour the milk out of the can into a mixing bowl, then use a hand whisk to mix it thoroughly.
Frequently asked questions
Curry is a dish made with sauce and spices. It can be based on meat, poultry, fish, or vegetables. Curry can be mild or spicy, but it's always heavily spiced. It typically contains a creamy ingredient such as coconut milk, heavy cream, or full-fat yogurt.
I strongly recommend that you use full-fat coconut milk in this recipe. It imparts so much flavor and creaminess. Reduced-fat coconut milk is not very tasty, in my opinion, and will frankly ruin this dish.
You can use heavy cream instead of coconut milk. The flavor profile will be somewhat different, and the curry might not be as thick. But it should still be very good.
Variations and substitutions
I love this recipe and tend to make the recipe as written. But just in case, here are a few ideas for you for varying the basic recipe:
- Use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts. It will be just as good and possibly even better - the meat will be juicier and more succulent.
- You can replace the peanut butter with almond butter if you wish. Peanut butter is tastier, but almond butter works too.
- If you're not a fan of cilantro, you can use chopped parsley instead. Basil is also good.
Thai chicken curry is very good when served over cauliflower rice, which works well to absorb the tasty sauce.
But usually, I simply serve it in soup bowls with a spoon. It's a complete meal and very filling, so you don't really need to serve it with any sides.
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them very gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power.
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Thai Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or avocado oil
- 1 medium onion chopped (6 oz)
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
- 1 tablespoon curry powder (make sure it's fresh)
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts cubed
- ½ cup canned unsweetened full-fat coconut milk (mix it well before using)
- 2 tablespoons natural creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish
- Heat the coconut oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes.
- Add the onion and kosher salt. Stir-fry until tender, 4-5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder and cayenne. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the chicken pieces. Stir-fry them for 2-3 minutes, until mostly opaque and coated with the spices.
- Add the coconut milk (remember to stir it well before using it) and the peanut butter, stirring to combine.
- Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 more minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.