Sri Lankan Chicken Curry Bake


2 – 3 tbsp coconut oil or vegetable oil

8 bone in, skin on chicken thigh cutlets whole chicken

½ yellow onion diced or sliced

4 garlic cloves minced or finely chopped

1 inch ginger minced or finely chopped

6 – 7 curry leaves or 2 bay leaves

3 tbsp roasted Sri Lankan curry powder (see below ingredients and method)

1 cinnamon stick or ½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp salt plus more to taste

1 tbsp paprika (not smoked paprika)

Optional ½ tsp cayenne pepper for extra heat

1 tbsp tomato paste

3 small roma tomatoes cut into cubes (or 2 medium-sized regular tomatoes)

2 tsp brown sugar

2 tsp lime juice or apple cider vinegar

1x 400ml can full-fat coconut milk


Roasted Curry powder – make enough for 4-5 curries

4 tbsp coriander

3 tbsp cumin

2 tbsp black peppercorns

2 tbsp uncooked basmati or jasmine rice

1 cardamom pods (you will only use the seeds – about 12 – 15 pods)

3 tsp cloves

2 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds




To make the roasted curry powder, remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and discard the husks.


Place the rice in a dry frying pan. Heat over low-medium heat until the rice starts to turn light brown.


Add the rest of the spices and the cardamom seeds to the rice, and pan roast for a further 3 – 5 minutes until the spices start to brown, toast and become aromatic. Take care and keep moving the pan to prevent the spices from burning or your curry powder will be bitter.


Remove from the heat and let the spices cool down.


Once the spices are cooled use a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder) to grind the spice mix into a powder in batches and mix well. Store in an air tight container and use as needed.


Preheat the oven 190°C.


To make the curry, place a large (stove top safe) roasting tray over a medium heat. Add the coconut oil.


Sprinkle the skin of the chicken thighs with a little of the spice mix and salt flakes. Place skin side down into the roasting pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the skin is a light golden brown. Remove and set aside.


Add some more coconut oil to the pan if needed. Add the onion and cook until they start to soften.


Add the garlic and the ginger to the softened onions and cook until the garlic starts to soften making sure it doesn’t burn.


Add the curry powder, paprika, cinnamon, curry leaves and mix to combine. Cook for a few minutes, then add the tomato paste. Stir, taking care not burn, until you can smell the aromatic spices.


Add the tomatoes, sugar and continue to stir. Add the coconut milk and lime juice, stir to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes or until it starts to thicken slightly.


Nestle the chicken thighs, skin side up, into the curry mixture and place into the oven for 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and golden brown on top.


Herbed Yoghurt

Makes 2 cups

Prep time: 5 mins

400g Greek or natural yoghurt

½ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped

½ cup coriander leaves, finely chopped

½ cup mint leaves, finely chopped

Juice of half lemon

Sea salt

Cracked pepper


To make the herbed yoghurt, mix together the yoghurt and the chopped herbs (can just blitz it all in a small food processor if wanted). Add in the juice of the lemon and season to taste with the salt and pepper. Add more lemon if needed. Set aside in the fridge.

Serve with fragrant basmati rice, herbed yoghurt, coriander and more lime wedges.

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