Coconut & tamarind chicken curry

This creamy tropical Indian one-pot is perfect for an informal, help-yourself dinner party with friends

  • Prep:30 mins
    Cook:50 mins
    Plus marinating
  • Serves 10
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 466
  • fat 24g
  • saturates 8g
  • carbs 24g
  • sugars 20g
  • fibre 2g
  • protein 40g
  • salt 1.1g


  • 20 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • juice 3 limes
  • 2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying
  • 3 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 1 x 160ml can coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp coriander, chopped
  • 4-6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3 tbsp fresh or dried curry leaves
  • 4 onions, finely diced
  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 75g ginger, finely shredded
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 3 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 450ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp golden muscovado sugar


Preparing tamarind
You can use dried block tamarind instead of prepped pulp in this dish. Soak 175g tamarind in enough hot water to cover and leave until soft before straining. Then add the liquid to the sauce.


  1. Put the chicken in a big mixing bowl, add the lime juice, pepper and turmeric, and mix well. (It’s best to use gloves for this as the turmeric stains fingers.) Set aside for 1 hr.

  2. Make the sauce. Heat the oil in a big pan, toss in the mustard seeds followed by the fresh curry leaves (if you are using dried leaves, add them later with the tomatoes) and fry until it releases a warm, nutty aroma – about 30 secs.

  3. Add the onions, put on the lid, and cook over a low heat for 10-15 mins until meltingly soft, stirring now and then. Take the lid off, turn up the heat, add the garlic and ginger, and fry for 1 min until it gives off a toasty aroma. Stir in the paprika and continue cooking for another 30 secs.

  4. Add the tomatoes, stock and sugar (and dried curry leaves if using). Cook, uncovered, for 15-20 mins until the sauce has thickened and reduced by one-third.

  5. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Meanwhile, fry the chicken. Heat 6 tbsp oil in a frying pan and cook in batches until golden. You may need a little extra oil. Keep warm.

  6. Pour any excess oil from the frying pan and add a ladleful of water – swirl it around and scrape up any juices with a spoon before adding to the tomato sauce.

  7. Put the chicken in a deep roasting tin or ovenproof casserole and pour over the sauce. Cover with foil and oven cook for 15 mins until the chicken is tender. Skim off any oil from the top of the sauce.

  8. Take the chicken pieces out of the tin and transfer to a serving dish. Pour the sauce into a pan and bring to a simmer. Stir in the tamarind pulp, coconut milk and half the coconut cream. Adjust the flavour by adding more sugar or tamarind. Ladle the sauce over the chicken, drizzle with the remaining coconut cream, and scatter with coriander before serving.

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