Chicken curry comes in so many forms that you could have a different one each day of the year, yet there is something so rewarding when cooking a coconut chicken curry with real, fresh coconut, raw almonds, cashew nuts, and chicken (of course!).
It probably just sounded fancy to me when I first heard of it, as – believe it or not – growing up in Italy, I thought the only food that existed was Italian, Chinese (because any city in the world has some nice Chinese option) and, of course, Mc Donald’s, which, I wasn’t sure which cuisine it was, but I knew for sure it wasn’t Italian.
This coconut chicken and potato recipe is another of my mother-in-law’s best; it uses the most traditional spices (well – she uses her homemade masala, but since I finished what she gave me… ) and it is ready in 30 minutes.
As far as an Indian chicken curry recipe goes, this is definitely one of the easiest, yet tastiest ones. The flavors, ingredients, and smell represent South Indian food to its core and you won’t believe how tasty it is when you eat it, after following steps that are quick and easy.
~~ Looking for the VEGAN version of this glorious Mappas? Here it is: Vegan Potato Curry with Coconut
Let’s talk nutrition!
The main ingredients of this recipe are chicken, potatoes, and coconut.
Chicken is a great source of proteins, especially chicken breast offering 31g for every 100g consumed; its high protein amount makes it a great choice for those who want to gain and retain muscle, as well as lose weight. Chicken is also rich in Vitamins, such as B and D as well as nutrients like zinc, iron, and calcium.
Potatoes are a great, naturally gluten-free carb, which is as loved as it is versatile!
Potatoes are a great source of fiber, which makes you feel full for longer; fiber, furthermore, can assist with keeping the levels of cholesterol and blood sugar in check. This vegetable also contains antioxidants and multiple vitamins.
~~ Potatoes are healthy! Yes, they are! Want to know about more good foods with a bad reputation? Read: 10 Foods that are super-healthy and weight-loss friendly, but have a bad reputation – ‘bad’ foods that are good for you
Coconut pulp (or meat) is extremely high in saturated fat and calories, so it should be eaten in moderation, however, it also has many nutritional benefits. The meat of the coconut is the white flesh found inside the brown ‘hairy’ nut and it can be eaten either fresh or dried; this part of the coconut is very rich in fiber and Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs, which are
Medium-Chain Triglycerides – more on this another time) which may offer multiple benefits such as weight loss, improved digestion, and heart health. Coconut is also relatively low in carbs, making it a popular choice for those following the Keto diet.
~~ Looking for other vegetables that are low in carbohydrates?
How to make chicken curry? Specifically: How to prepare South Indian chicken curry?
This simple chicken curry recipe requires very little prep and, except for a grinder, only requires a saucepan and a lid.
Start by grinding to a fine paste the coconut meat, almonds, and cashew nuts; after grinding for about 30 seconds you may need to mix the content with a spoon and add a bit of water to make further grinding easier.
To start this South Indian chicken curry recipe, heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the finely chopped ginger and garlic, as well as the slit chilies.
Once the smell of the rawness of the garlic has gone, add the cubed potatoes, sliced onions, and salt; mix well and allow to cook for a couple of minutes on a medium flame.
At this stage start adding the spices: red chili powder (very little as you don’t want to lose the typical Mappas color), coriander powder, and turmeric powder; mix well and cook for about one minute, until the spices separate from the oil.
Next, add the diced chicken, mix well and allow it to cook for about 10 minutes with the lid on; mix occasionally but allow the chicken to slightly brown around while cooking.
After 10 minutes, the chicken will be nearly cooked, so next add the curry leaves, garam masala, and fennel powder, mix well once again and allow to cook for a further minute.
For the last stage, add the cream of coconut, cashew nuts, and almonds and adjust the water amount according to taste; once the curry is simmering again, put the lid back on and allow it to cook for a further 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked (whichever takes longer).
Enjoy your chicken curry restaurant-style (without the calories)!
Video: Easy Chicken Curry Recipe | How to make Chicken Curry with Coconut | Chicken Mappas
More on chicken curry:
How many calories in chicken curry?
This chicken curry has only 209 calories per portion! The portions are quite generous and filling.
Do I have to use fresh coconut?
Fresh coconut is best, but I use freshly frozen, as where we live there are no good quality fresh coconuts to purchase; most Indian shops will have grated fresh frozen coconut in the same freezer as the pre-prepared chopped frozen vegetables, like the ones from Viswas.
Can I use something else instead of chicken?
You certainly can! If preferred, this recipe can be prepared also only with potatoes, but I have also tried it with boiled eggs and it does taste delish the same! Should you decide to go for eggs, do not overcook them when you boil them and add them at the end of the curry, with the coconut and nuts paste.
~~ Want to try a different version of Mappas Curry? Go for this Egg Curry with Coconut!
I can’t eat nuts, can I skip them?
Yes, you can. The use of cashews and almonds is involved to make the curry richer, however, it is not mandatory; in this case, I would advise that you do not drain the coconut after grinding it (I don’t in any case!) as the consistency will remain creamier this way.
Can I freeze this chicken potato curry?
Yes, you can; ensure the curry has thoroughly cooled down before doing so.
Can I use chicken thighs instead of the breast?
You sure can. Chicken thighs are higher in fat, so tend to stay juicier, and I often choose them for curries (when I have enough calories left!).
Remember to add the extra calories should you be counting, as chicken thighs contain more fat than chicken breast, therefore their calorie content is higher too. 100g of skinless and boneless chicken thigh contains 26g of protein (31g for breast).
~~ Love coconut and chicken curry and would like explore more? This Kolhapuri Chicken Curry does just that!
How nice is this chicken curry?
You need to try this curry, as I know you’ll love it!
I serve it with some plain boiled rice with a light tadka, parathas, chapattis, rotis, or other bread types… all great options to scoop this fantastic gravy up!
- 2 tbsp Sunflower Oil or Vegetable Oil
- 10 g 0.35 oz or about 3 cloves Fresh Ginger, Chopped
- 10 g 0.35 oz or about the same volume as the garlic Fresh Garlic, Chopped
- 4 Green Chilies Slit
- 200 g 7 oz Red Onion, Chopped
- 150 g 5.3 oz Potatoes, Peeled and Diced
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 + ½ Tbsp Coriander Powder
- ½ tsp Red Chili Powder
- 350 g 12.5 oz Boneless and Skinless Chicken Breast, Cut in dices
- 20-30 Curry Leaves
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
- ¼ tsp Fennel Powder
- 10 g 0.35 oz Cashews
- 10 g 0.35 oz Almonds
- 50 g 1.8 oz Fresh Grated Coconut
- Salt to Taste
Start with the prep:
- In a grinder, finely blend the grated coconut, cashews, and almonds and a bit of water if necessary to make it to a rich, creamy paste. Dice the potatoes and the chicken, thinly slice the onions, and chop the ginger and garlic.
- Add the oil to a large pan (should be big enough to contain the whole curry) and warm up on medium heat; once the oil is warm, add the chopped ginger, garlic, and green chilies and mix well.
- Cook these for about one minute, till the rawness of the garlic has almost gone, then add the chopped onion and potatoes and lower the flame to low; add a bit of salt and put a lid on the pan. Allow the onion and potatoes to lightly cook for 3 minutes.
- Once this is done, add the chili powder, coriander powder, and turmeric and mix well; after about one minute the spices will start to separate from the oil, meaning they are cooked.
- At this point add the chicken, mix well and cover with the lid; allow it to cook for 10 minutes that way. The chicken will release some water, which will form the gravy.
- After 10 minutes, add the curry leaves, garam masala, and fennel powder, mix well again and cover for a further 1-2 minutes. Should you at this stage or the step before notice there is not enough liquid in the pan, adjust to taste.
- Add the cream of coconut you prepared at the beginning to the curry, mix well and cook on a medium flame for a further 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and the gravy reaches the desired consistency. You may need to adjust the water again, as the coconut will make the gravy nice and thick.
- Turn the heat off and allow the curry to rest for a couple of minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Should you wish to make this curry spicier, add more green chili; the red chili is added in little quantity as its color would alter the traditional Mappas tint.
Should you not have fresh ginger and garlic but their paste, you can use that instead but be mindful of the quantity, as the paste is normally stronger in taste.
Should you not have red onion, you can use brown, white, or shallots instead.