Bengali Coconut Chicken Curry


It’s always the same when I get back from a trip to the UK. All I want to do is eat spicy curries and exotic food. The opposite of what I’d gorged myself on while I was there. Don’t get me wrong, the UK has some of the best Indian restaurants outside of India but I am always tempted back into old (bad) habits of eating fish and chips, pies and general unhealthy cuisine. Once safely back at home I return to my diet of exotic unhealthy food instead. This curry isn’t exactly unhealthy though. It’s from the Eastern region of India, Bengal. Typically they use a lot of mustard and that’s what gives this dish its distinctive flavour. Bengali food is notably different from other parts of India, and a style of food that’s hard to find here in Australia. This is a tasty medium spiced curry that I’m sure you’ll love.


1kg chicken thigh fillets
3 teaspoons turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 lime (juice of)
5 tablespoons mustard oil (or vegetable oil)
3 onions (roughly chopped)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (chopped)
5 garlic cloves (chopped)
2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon chilli powder
400ml coconut milk
2 green chillies (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon sugar
coriander for garnish

Coat the chicken with the turmeric, salt and lime juice and set aside. In a food processor, blend together the onion, ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chilli powder and 1 tablespoon of the coconut milk into a very smooth paste. Heat the oil in a large pan over a moderate heat. When hot, add the onion paste and bay leaves and fry for 4-5 minutes until soft and lightly browned. Add the chicken and chillies and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in the coconut milk, sugar and 200ml water, bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and gently simmer for 35 minutes uncovered until the sauce has reduced into a rich glossy consistency. Remove from heat, add more salt to your taste and serve.

Serve sprinkled with coriander, alongside boiled rice.

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