Lighter coconut chicken curry

I love a good curry - the spice, the burst of flavors, and the sauce that goes so well with a bowl of rice.  It is pure comfort food for me and I like to eat it all year round.
Spicy with a bit of sweetness from light coconut milk, sweet potatoes, and peas
In the past, we'd head to a restaurant for our curry fix, but now, I mainly make it at home.  You don't need me to tout the benefits of cooking and eating at home.  This recipe is an example of that.  It's lighter than your typical takeout curry and still packed with flavor.  This particular curry is spicy but also a little sweet thanks to not only coconut milk but the sweet potatoes in it.  I am a certified sweet potato fanatic so I love using them in just about anything.  I'd never had curry with sweet potatoes before this and I've discovered that I really enjoy it so I have yet another way to eat sweet potatoes now!

For me, eating a bowl of curry always feels a little decadent but I can readily enjoy this lighter version.  The use of light coconut milk in this recipe cuts down on the fat significantly.  I absolutely adore coconut milk and I really like using the lighter variety.  While it may not be as rich and thick, it still provides plenty of that amazingly aromatic coconut flavor so it's a compromise I'm more than willing to make.  And letting the light coconut milk cook and reduce makes for a thicker sauce and intensifies the flavors in the finished curry.
Of course, this is easy to make!  Ninety percent of the time, I'm all about quick-and-easy cooking! So while it's summer and hot out, this doesn't require a lot of time standing over the stove.  You can make this in under half an hour and serve it right up with some rice for a satisfying dinner.  As with all curries, the other benefit is how great it is as a make-ahead.  The flavors get a chance to meld and intensify and leftovers are all the better.


This is a recipe I adapted from the May 2014 issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray.  Thanks to a little menu planning I've been doing this year, I'm actually cooking a lot of the recipes that catch my eye.  There have been some delicious rewards at the dinner table because of it and this is surely one example.  This curry is easy to make and exceeded my expectations. 
I used skinless chunks of dark meat chicken in this curry.  You could go with chicken breast per the recipe, or I often like to use a mix if you have both on hand.  Use a hot curry powder, or Madras style curry powder.  The kick of a hot curry powder holds up against sweetness from the light coconut milk, sweet potatoes, onion, peas, as well as a touch of brown sugar.  Finishing it with basil also adds a lovely layer of fragrance on top.
This made a very satisfying dinner recently!  I am craving it right now despite the hot temperatures.  My cravings aren't always seasonal.
Have a great 4th of July weekend!  I know you might be thinking more along the lines of barbecue, cool drinks, and ice cream right now instead of curry chicken but hopefully, this might come to mind the next time you crave an easy, tasty curry.
  

Recipe:

Lighter Coconut Chicken Curry
Adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray, May 2014 issue

- Approximately 4 servings - 

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breast), cut into bite-size cubes
2 tablespoons Madras (or hot) curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 teaspoons canola oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into about 1/2-inch pieces
1 (14 oz.) can light coconut milk
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/3 cup basil leaves, thinly sliced

In a bowl, stir the chicken with 1 teaspoon of curry powder and the salt and pepper.

In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat 2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.

Add remaining oil into the same skillet.  Add onion and cook until it begins to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add sweet potatoes and cook 3 minutes.  Add remaining curry powder, cooking and stirring ingredients together for about 30 seconds.  Add coconut milk and brown sugar.  Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until sweet potatoes are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.  

Stir in peas and cook 2 minutes.  Stir in the chicken and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 additional minutes.  Taste, and season with salt if necessary.  Remove curry from the heat, stir in basil.  Serve with rice and enjoy.



40 comments:

  1. I too enjoy a good curry. This looks very delicious and flavoursome.

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    1. Thanks; I love cooking it at home.

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  2. Beautiful in all these great juices and flavors...

    ela h.
    Gray Apron

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    1. It's definitely flavorful, thanks!

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  3. Making take-out dishes at home is one of my favorite things to do. This curry looks fantastic. I rarely make curry, which is something I really should change!

    Have a great July 4th!!

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    1. I know! Feels like such an accomplishment since it's far healthier and cheaper, too! Enjoy the 4th!

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  4. Oh, I'd love to try this! It sounds lovely with the coconut milk and sweet potato, and I love how you made it lighter withiur sacrificing on flavor. What a winner dinner!

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    1. Great dinner. A lot of richness but not overly so and I feel good eating it with some brown rice...yum!

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  5. I love a good curry, and this looks like a really good one Monica, thanks!

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    1. I love all kinds of curries from Japanese to Indian, etc. Lighter versions are great to make at home. Thanks!

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  6. I do too, specially with coconut. This chicken curry looks fantastic!

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    1. Your curries are amazing! Thank you!

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  7. Yum, I love a good curry and yours looks super flavorful and delicious! Using the lighter coconut milk is such a great idea and quick and easy meals like this are so appreciated during this time of year:) Hope you and your sweet family have a wonderful 4th of July Monica :)

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    1. Thanks, Kelly. I hope you have some fun or relaxing plans for the 4th! Take care!

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  8. I love the sweet potatoes in this curry, so nice with the heat. I too am all about quick and easy with summer here. You don't want to be spending your whole day cooking when it is hot outside. Have a super weekend. Take care, BAM

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    1. I've discovered I like a little sweetness in almost anything so the sweet potatoes were wonderful in this curry for me. : ) Thanks, BAM!

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  9. I have to agree with you, Monica! I'm pretty much always craving a good curry. The spices are so comforting...plus the rice (: We have a Thai restaurant on campus that serves the most delicious pumpkin curry. I live for that sauce! I like that your recipe uses light coconut milk too!

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    1. Oh my - I'd love to try that pumpkin curry, Monica. Sounds wonderful!

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  10. Gosh Monica - it looks wonderful - and I can almost smell it. Yum!!! Love cooking at home. There is only one Korean dish I have to eat in a restaurant - dol sot bi bim bop - in the hot stone bowl. Love curry and the hotter the better. Have a wonderful 4th of July!

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    1. Oh - Korean food is awesome and love those stone bowls with the hot rice that sticks to the bottom. : )

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  11. This curry looks gorgeous Monica. I often make a curry, albeit a mild one so the kids can enjoy it too, and I love the addition of the sweet potato here. Super! Have a great 4th July!!

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    1. I hear you, Jo. My son actually likes curry but it does need to be a lot more on the mild side than I want it. : ) It's a great weekend so far, thank you!

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  12. Perfect timing...I have been craving curry. Love your recipe with the sweet potatoes. Pinning

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    1. Thanks, Cindy! Hope you're enjoying the holiday weekend, whatever you're eating. : )

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  13. Loooove curries: it's like my go-to when i need comfort food, and i don't even know why except for that's just my favorite assortment of flavors all in once place. and the veg-laden ones are the best! I love this light version, Monica: sorta perfect for me anytime, but especially in the summer when you just don't feel like being weighed down as much. Lovely!

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    1. Thanks, Shannon. Glad you like it. I love anything loaded with sauce! A little lighter definitely makes me happy. : )

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  14. I pretty much crave curry on a weekly basis, so I am super into this! Making it at home is so much more gratifying than ordering in. :)

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    1. Same here. It's great to learn how to make these take-out/restaurant favorites at home!

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  15. Curry and rice is absolute comfort food. I love that this is a lighter version because in general I eat more when there's curry on the menu. You've photographed it so well..it makes my mouth water!

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    1. I agree; curry is one of those things I'll just keep eating and eating. : )

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  16. And now I want curry, it's only 7.30 am. This looks fabulous, and the thought of the extra hot curry powder is making my mouth water (doesn't help that I'm fasting) :)

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    1. haha - I really admire your fasting...I don't know if I could do it, particularly in this heat right now. This is surely not as good as one of your curries but I do love them all. : )

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  17. I LOVE curries!!!! We eat them almost EVERY day at home!!!!! I completely enjoy eating coconut milk based curries, it just does something very magical to the whole dish. I have never eaten sweet potato in a curry and now I want to try it stat!!!! This curry looks AMAZING! I can see myself scooping it up with a nice buttered piece of flatbread and some rice too!

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    1. Coconut milk is so amazing, I agree. I was a bit skeptical of the sweet potatoes going in but I loved it with that hot curry. I could use some curry, flatbread and rice right now already. haha

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  18. I wasn't remotely hungry when I sat down to the computer. Then I saw this post. For whatever reason I have been thinking curry this week anyway, but when I saw your photos....It is 10pm and I am ready for dinner all over again! I enjoy curry but my husband and son adore it! Whenever it is on the menu at a restaurant (Indian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai), curry is ordered. I don't make it at home very often because I didn't have a recipe we were especially happy with. I will forgo the second dinner tonight and try this tomorrow! I am so glad I can skip cluttering up my house with more magazines and let you blog about the best recipes right here! :) Thanks, Monica!

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    1. haha - I am so with you, Wendy. Curries across the board - among all those cuisines you mentioned - are all so, so good and satisfying! You are very sweet, as usual. Hope you are enjoying your summer, with many good meals (I'm sure!).

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  19. I love chicken and chicken curries. I am constantly trying out and experimenting with new flavors. Would love to try your recipe. Looks so good!

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    1. This is simple enough for someone like me, Asmita. I just love any kind of curry! Thank you.

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  20. I can eat curry every week, and I think curry recipes are contagious (in a good way) that I am tempted to make and eat this! Coconut and curry combination is my kids and my favorite! I'll have a second bowl of rice too! :D

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    1. It is impossible to resist plenty of rice when we're talking curry. I love the Japanese one I learned from you as well, Nami!!

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