The rich aroma of this Thai chicken coconut curry recipe simmering on the stove will make your mouth water! Tender bite-sized chunks of chicken, an aromatic red curry sauce, and just enough spinach to feel healthy make this an all in one dish that you are going to adore! This is a perfect 30-minute dinner that is always a hit with the family.
Thai Chicken Coconut Curry Recipe
In my early 20's, I worked in a doctor's office for a lovely couple from India. During that time, I was first introduced to curry and my obsession with the flavors continued from there. The richness of curry and the lovely aromatic flavors became something I routinely experimented in my own kitchen.
While this chicken curry recipe is not a traditional Indian dish, it is a great starter for anyone unsure if they will like the taste of curry. It contains the basics of most curry recipes but is a little milder and somewhat Americanized. That makes it a perfect way to introduce curry to your diet and share a new spice profile with your family.
What Coconut Milk Should I Use in This Curry?
If you've shopped for coconut milk in the past, you know that there are a few options available. You will find canned coconut milk in the baking and ethnic cuisine aisle of your grocery store. This is often used for drinks, curries, and baking. There are also shelf-stable cartons of coconut milk and typically and option alongside other refrigerated milk.
So, which should you use in this recipe?
As I like to keep it on hand and look at the cost-effectiveness in recipes, I tend to keep 4-5 cartons of the shelf-stable coconut milk in my pantry. It works great in this recipe and most curries. There are benefits to using less processed canned options, but the cost can be a bit offputting. I wouldn't recommend the refrigerated coconut milk for this as it is typically overly sweetened.
Can I Substitute Chicken Thighs?
You can definitely use boneless skinless chicken thighs in this recipe if you prefer them. I recommend trimming off the excess fat and simply following the directions as listed from there.
Note: Chicken thighs are often less expensive and moister than breasts. This makes them much more appealing when meal planning. In most recipes, they fit perfectly in place of breasts.
What Rice Should I Serve with Thai Curry?
In my pantry, you will find both basmati and jasmine rice. While they are not the same, they are, for most recipes, pretty interchangeable. For the curry, however, I tend to reach for basmati most frequently. It has a bit nuttier flavor and seems to hold onto the creamy curry sauces a bit better in my opinion.
When making rice for any dish, I can't say enough about having an actual rice cooker. The results are just so much better than any stovetop method you may have tried in the past. It doesn't even need to be a fancy rice cooker. I use the Aroma Digital Rice Cooker and it cost under $30 shipped to my door. The results made it easier than ever for me to include rice in my meal plan on a regular basis.
What Sides Should I Serve with Thai Chicken Coconut Curry?
In our family, this dish alongside the serving of basmati rice is really all you need for a full meal. That said, I do like to add some extra veggies in there for more nutrition and fiber. Below are some veggies that I think pair well with this creamy curry.
- Roasted cauliflower, broccoli, or brussels sprouts
- Steamed or sauteed carrots
- Stewed cabbage
- Garden salad
- Sauteed kale
- Creamed spinach
What is Red Curry Paste?
This recipe uses red curry paste as the bulk of the flavor in the curry. You can find jars of red curry paste in most ethnic cuisine aisles of the grocery store and in any Asian market.
If you are curious about what this paste is made of, it's a simple combination of red pepper, red chilies, garlic, ginger, shallots, and sometimes green onions. This is ground down into a paste and then mixed with classic curry flavors like coriander, turmeric, salt, and cumin. Sometimes it will have curry leaves ground into the mixture as well.
The flavor has a bit of heat but is mostly nice umami of spices in a paste form that makes seasoning sauces simpler for the home cook who may not have access to all of the typical curry seasonings.
- Coconut oil
- Chicken breasts
- Coconut milk
- Red curry paste
- Brown sugar
- Basmati rice for serving
How to Make Thai Chicken Coconut Curry
In a large deep-sided skillet or dutch oven, melt the coconut oil over medium heat.
Add in onions and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Pour in chicken pieces and stir then cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Add in the garlic.
Stir in ginger powder, coriander and stir to coat the chicken.
Pour in the coconut milk.
Now mix in the shredded carrots, red curry paste, salt, and pepper then stir well to combine.
Let this mixture simmer, stirring occasionally and continue simmering over medium heat for 4-5 minutes stirring occasionally.
Mix in the spinach.
Add in brown sugar stirring well to combine.
Simmer for another 3-4 minutes then remove from heat, top with chopped cilantro and serve over rice.
Can I Make This in the Slow Cooker?
Yes! I love that this is fairly versatile and easy to simply combine in the slow cooker.
Brown the chicken for 2-3 minutes in a skillet before adding with all other ingredients in the slow cooker.
Mix it up well so all flavors combine, then cook on low heat for 4 hours before serving over rice.
Can I Make Thai Chicken Coconut Curry in the Instant Pot?
To make this in the Instant Pot, follow the easy directions below.
Set your pot to saute, and add in the coconut oil, onion, and chicken then stir and cook for 3-4 minutes or until all of the chicken is browned.
Next, add all other ingredients except the spinach and stir well.
Set the Instant Pot to manual high heat for 4 minutes.
Allow it to NPR (naturally pressure release) for 10-minutes before releasing any additional pressure.
Stir in spinach, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving with rice and topping it with chopped cilantro.
My Kitchen Tools
For this recipe, these tools are my go-to. They might be useful to have in your kitchen arsenal as well!
- Deep Cast Iron Skillet or Dutch Oven
- Rice Cooker
- Salad Shooter (best way to quickly shred carrots)
- Kitchen Shears
- Wooden Spoon
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 ½ cups coconut milk (or 1 13oz can coconut milk)
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 2 tablespoon red curry paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups fresh spinach or kale
- ⅛ cup brown sugar
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
- Lime wedges
- 3 cup cooked basmati rice
- In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat and add onions to cook for 1-2 minutes or until just starting to get tender;
- Add in the chicken pieces, stir well, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until all sides are slightly browned;
- Stir in the garlic, ginger, coriander, and stir to combine;
- Pour in coconut milk, red curry paste, salt, and pepper and stir along with shredded carrots;
- Let this mixture simmer over medium heat for an additional 4-5 minutes, stirring it occasionally;
- Add in brown sugar and spinach or kale, and stir then cook for 3-4 additional minutes;
- Serve over rice with chopped cilantro and lime wedges on the side.
Slow Cooker Directions
- Brown chicken for 2-3 minutes in skillet;
- Add to the slow cooker along with all ingredients except spinach and stir;
- Cook on low heat for 4 hours;
- Mix in spinach, and let sit for 15 minutes before serving with rice, cilantro, and lime.
Instant Pot Directions
- Turn your Instant Pot to saute and mix in coconut oil, onion, and chicken stirring together and cooking for 3-4 minutes or until all of the chicken is browned;
- Add in remaining ingredients except for spinach, stirring well and making sure to break up any bits on the bottom of the pot so it doesn't give a burn warning;
- Set the lid to seal, and turn to manual high heat for 4 minutes;
- Allow this to naturally pressure release for 10 minutes, then release additional pressure and stir in spinach or kale;
- Let sit for 5 minutes before serving with rice, cilantro, and lime wedges.
Use kitchen shears to cut your chicken breast into pieces faster and easier than using a knife!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 445Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 620mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 29g