Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

I was inspired to make this curry by the fresh chillies that the vegetable vendor delivered today. This is somewhat similar to Kerala chicken curry, but still has its unique flavour thanks to the spices used and the lemon grass.

Spicy goodness


(Serves 2 persons)

Chicken 500 g, curry cut and marinated

For the marinade:
Vinegar 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder 1 tbsp
Coriander powder 1 tbsp
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Pepper 1 tsp
Salt to taste

For the ground curry masala, dry roast the following:
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Coriander seeds 1 tsp
Whole red chillies 3
Peppercorns 1 tbsp
Rice 1 tbsp
Cloves 2
Fennel seeds 1 tsp
Curry leaves few sprigs

For the curry:
Onion 1 large, sliced
Curry leaves few sprigs
Ginger 1″ piece
Garlic 4 cloves
Green chillies 3, chopped
Cinnamon 1″ piece
Cloves 2
Coriander powder 1 tsp
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Lemon grass 2 sprigs
Coconut oil 2 tbsps
Salt to taste
Water as needed
Coconut milk 1 carton


I have followed the Kannamma Cooks recipe for the most part, though I have modified it according to my family’s tastes. I have left out ginger-garlic paste from the marinade. It is there in the curry and I didn’t want the taste to be overpowering. I have also left out the pandan leaves as it is not easily available at my supermarket, especially in the time of a pandemic.

Marinate the chicken for at least two hours.

Grind the dry roasted spices to a fine powder and keep aside.

Crush the ginger and garlic together in a pestle.

Pour the coconut oil into a wok and add the onion slices. Fry till they become translucent. Add the curry leaves and green chillies. Add the ginger-garlic paste. Fry till the raw smell of the garlic disappears.

Add the coriander powder, turmeric, red chilli powder and pepper powder. Saute for a minute and add the marinated chicken. Add 2 tablespoons of the ground masala powder. Add two cups of water and let it boil. Add the lemon grass and cook the chicken on a medium flame till cooked.

Cook on medium heat till the chicken is cooked and the gravy thickens

Add the coconut milk and let it come to a boil. I use Dabur Homemade or Kara coconut milk, which I feel adds a delicate flavour to the curry. Switch off the heat.

Serve with rice or string hoppers or bread.

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