A Simple Curry with Coconut Milk

This adaptable curry recipe enables you to make curry with whatever you have on hand — as long as you have the core ingredients of coconut milk, canned tomatoes and curry powder, all of which should be pantry staples. You can even vary it from Indian-style curry to Thai-style just by substituting curry paste for curry powder and adding a little fish sauce at the end.

This recipe takes well to all kinds of vegetables, from eggplant to sweet potatoes. Last night I used kale. I usually make curry with diced boneless chicken, but you could substitute pretty much any meat or seafood as well, or omit it altogether; just alter the cooking time accordingly. Serve with rice or noodles for a full meal.

Curry with Coconut Milk

Yields: 4 servings
Time to make: ~30 minutes

  • 2 tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 or more other vegetables as desired, sliced or cubed
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. curry powder or curry paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sm. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. fish or soy sauce (optional for Thai-style curry)
  • rice or noodles to serve
  • various garnishes as desired: fresh basil or mint, cashews or other nuts, diced hard-boiled egg, shredded coconut (optional)

Heat the oil over medium. Add the onion and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken and vegetables, and brown, stirring frequently. Add the curry paste or powder and garlic, and stir-fry 1 minute. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a bubble. Add the tomatoes and fish or soy sauce, if using. Stir, cover and reduce the heat. Simmer 10 minutes. Garnish as desired. If making an Indian-style curry, I like a selection of hearty garnishes, such as cashews, hard-boiled egg and coconut. For a Thai-style curry, I prefer fresh herbs and perhaps peanuts.

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20 thoughts on “A Simple Curry with Coconut Milk

  1. Fidel Rich 26 October 2011 at 12:40 am

    Fantastic recipe, i will do it with my girlfriend tonight. Hope i get it right! Cheers

  2. rdo 2 December 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Awesome recipe. I added canned peas carrots and corn mix. And much much more curry powder (3-4 tbsps). Also a bit of cooked rice from yesterday to make it a bit thicker.
    Tastes absolutely F A N T A S T I C!

  3. rebecca 9 January 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Really lovely ; just made it with sweet potatoes added 🙂

  4. Camille 9 February 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I love the idea of curry! I created a sweet potato with rustic carrots and onion dish. delish.
    Thank you

  5. Lynn 10 February 2012 at 3:20 pm

    A great recipe, my 14 year old son made it at school but he ate it before I came home so didn’t get to try it, but his dad said it was lovely!!!
    So he is now in the middle of cooking one for me 🙂

  6. Lily 13 April 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Sounds yummy going to try and cook it.

  7. Travelistic 10 May 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Lovely recipe and very quick! I had a spare can of coconut milk in the cupboard so made something very similar.

    I prefer the thai green pastes with coconut milk but it is just personal preference. Always good with some chopped pepper too.


  8. catewestenhover 9 June 2012 at 3:58 pm

    good method but mine turned out super bland. Up the seasonings is my advice.

  9. Gill 16 September 2012 at 6:41 am

    Brilliant recipe very quick and tasty. Will be making this on a regular basis.

  10. Glenn B. H. 1 October 2012 at 4:35 am

    I marinated my chicken over night in a pepper sauce n used 1can of diced jalopeno tomatoes. Curry paste insted of powder. Absolutly delicious! Try it…

  11. Mary C. 30 October 2012 at 9:01 am

    Such a quick and easy dish but taste very impressive!!! Will make it again!

  12. m. b. 6 November 2012 at 4:17 pm

    even better with homemade coconut milk. I would up the onions and garlic, but that is just how I cook.

  13. Mary M. 17 January 2013 at 11:25 am

    I’m going to make it this weekend and I’m a vegetarian, so I’m going to pre-soak and pre-cook some split peas and just add those in the end for my protein. I’m also going to put in the very spicy Madras Curry paste, put in some nice vegies, and also increase the fresh garlic.

  14. Shannon 17 January 2013 at 11:32 am

    Sounds good, Mary.

  15. Annaliza 12 May 2013 at 9:36 am

    Thanks for the recipe, Shannon! I write a recipe blog for students and so am going to try this out to prove to students it isn’t hard to make your own curry! May even add some sweet potato and spinach.


  16. […] I got the recipe from Simply Cooking, follow the link… […]

  17. rachelannunziello 29 July 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Easy and Delicious! My whole family loved it. Will definitely be making this again!

  18. barb lord 11 September 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Yummy recipe! Will take care of your craving for curry! If your are using sweet curry add more, if you are using hot curry be careful ! Great easy recipe!!!

  19. Shannon 17 February 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Can’t wait to try this — I just had a frozen, gluten-free curry dish that was really good and thought I’d could make something like that myself. Will be making THIS recipe this week.

  20. Louise 13 September 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Thank you for the recipe. I made it with boiled potatoes, carrots and chickpeas. I’d ran out out of rice so I served the curry with couscous. It was really lovely.

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