Easy Chicken Curry

Craig Lee for the New York Times

This curry is tailor made for weeknight cooking: fast, easy, and infinitely adaptable based on what you have on hand (shrimp, fish, tofu, or chickpeas are all wonderful substitutes for the chicken, and even cook a bit faster). The most time-consuming part of this dish is cooking the onions, which is what builds up the flavor. After that it comes together very quickly. Consider the 2 teaspoons of curry powder a starting point; if you like a strongly flavored curry (as I do), you may want to add more.

Makes: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons canola, corn or other neutral oil

  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 2 teaspoons curry powder

  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk (1 1/2 to 2 cups)

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless chicken, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch chunks

  • 1 cup peeled, seeded and diced tomato (canned is fine; cut up and drain before using)

  • Chopped basil or mint for garnish (optional)


1. Place oil in a large skillet; turn heat to medium-high. A minute later, add onions, along with a generous pinch of salt and some pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft and almost falling apart, 15 minutes or more. Stir in curry powder, and cook, stirring, for another minute or so.

2. Add coconut milk, and cook until it thickens, about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken, and stir, then cook until done, 3 to 6 minutes. (if you are in doubt about whether chicken is done, cut into a piece.)

3. Add tomato, and cook another minute; adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve over rice, garnished with basil or mint, if desired.

Recipe published in The New York Times (Photo: Craig Lee)