mains, poultry

sri lankan chicken curry and raita

This is a new tool for your curry box.  It really only gets better the next day so don't hesitate to make it ahead of time.  Not an over-the-top-sweat-producing curry but more of a complex, layered, spiced just right one.  Plus you get to do some maybe new things to you like toast rice and add it to a marinade.  And then you can say stuff like, Oh, I sometimes dabble in Sri Lankan cuisine.

Throw together some raita, make some basmati rice, add some store bought naan, mango chutney and you have a small, comforting feast on your table.

sri lankan chicken curry

serves 6

adapted from Mangoes and Curry Leaves

2 1/2 lbs chicken breast, trimmed of fat and cut into strips

for the marinade:

1 T coriander seeds

2 t cumin seeds

1/2 t fenugreek seeds 

3 T cashews

1 T raw white rice

2 T fresh or frozen grated coconut (or dried)

1 1/2" piece of cassia bark (or cinnamon)

3 green cardamom pods

1 T minced garlic

1 t salt

for the sauce:

2T coconut oil

2 bird chilis (or 1 or 3 depending on the level of heat you want)

1/3 c shallots, sliced

2 T minced ginger

handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

2 c coconut milk

salt to taste

Dry toast all of the ingredients for the marinade until fragrant (except the garlic and salt) I know it is tempting to throw all of the spices, etc in a pan at the same time but the smaller spices with burn and turn bitter.  I suggested toasting them separately or at least grouping like-sized items together.  Trust me. Put all of the evenly toasted spices, rice and friends in a spice grinder and pulse until fine.

Combine with the garlic and salt.  Toss the chicken strips in the marinade, taking care to coat each piece well.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours.

In a large heavy pot, over med-high heat, add the coconut oil.

When hot, add the chilis, shallots and ginger.  Saute for a few minutes and then add the chicken, stirring often to color all sides.

Turn down the heat to medium and add the tomatoes.  Cook for a few minutes more, stirring often.  Season with some salt to taste and add the coconut milk.

Turn down the heat to simmer and cook for about 30 minutes longer.  The chicken should be tender and the sauce slightly thickened.


1 large cucumber, peeled and grated

1 c plain greek-style yogurt

1/4 c mint, minced

1 t ground cumin

pinch of ground chipotle or cayenne pepper

salt to taste

squeeze of lime juice

Combine all of the above and refrigerate for about 2 hours before serving.

Serve with naan, mango chutney and basmati rice.