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Sri Lankan Curry
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5 from 17 votes

The Best Chicken and Black Pepper Sri Lankan Curry

Prepare your own homemade curry powder and traditional curry the fast and easy way!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Marinating time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Low Calorie
Servings: 6 portions
Calories: 268kcal
Author: Elle John


For the homemade Sri Lankan Black Pepper Masala

For the curry: other ingredients


Prepare the Sri Lankan Black Pepper Chicken Curry Masala

  • Start by dry roasting in a pan on a medium flame the green cardamoms, cloves, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cinnamon stick, and star anise until they smell fragrant and have turned golden; once this happens, remove them from the flame and put them on a plate to lightly cool down.
  • After five minutes add the roasted spices to an upside-down grinder together with the black peppercorns and blend until you have a fine powder. This is your Sri Lankan Black Pepper Chicken Curry Masala, which you can set aside.
  • OPTIONAL: this is an optional step, but if following it, I’d recommend turning on the extractor fan and opening the windows. Roast the red chili powder on a low to medium flame until it browns, without burning it; as soon as this is done, remove it from the heat and set it aside.

Start preparing the chicken

  • For the chicken’s first marination, deseed the tamarind pulp and blend it with a couple of tablespoons of water until a rich paste is achieved; using this paste and a little bit of salt, coat the chicken in what is its first marination and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes. Should you not have tamarind pulp, you can use tamarind paste instead to coat the chicken.
  • After 5-10 minutes have passed, pass to the chicken’s second marination and coat it with the Sri Lankan Black Pepper Chicken Curry Masala, roasted red chili powder, and turmeric powder and set it aside.

Start putting the Sri Lankan Black Pepper Chicken Curry together

  • In a deep saucepan, add the coconut oil and allow it to warm up on a low to medium flame; do not allow the oil to overheat.
  • Chop one of the two red onions thinly and add it to the pan with the ginger, garlic, and curry leaves; mix well and allow to cook until the onion turns golden in color and the smell of rawness of the garlic has gone.
  • In the meantime, bled to a paste the other onion and add it to the saucepan once the ingredients have cooked.
  • Allow the onion paste to cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the marinated chicken.
  • Mix the chicken well, browning it on all sides of it and allowing the spices to coat the onions as well; this will take 4-5 minutes on a medium flame.
  • While the chicken browns, add two cups of water to the bowl where the chicken was marinating, trying to take all of the spices in, then add it to the chicken curry.
  • Mix the curry well, put a lid on the pan and allow it to cook until the chicken is thoroughly cooked, which should take about 20 minutes.
  • Allow the curry to rest for 5 minutes, serve and enjoy!


Sri Lankan chicken curry can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days.
This chicken curry can be also frozen in an airtight container, and it will keep for up to 4-6 weeks.
Before serving, always ensure the curry had been reheated thoroughly.


Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 186mg | Potassium: 571mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 968IU | Vitamin C: 70mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 3mg