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Burma Superstar's easy coconut chicken curry is better than takeout and can be made with pantry staples.

Burma Superstar's Coconut Chicken Curry

This simple coconut chicken curry is made with easy-to-find ingredients, and is truly better than takeout. Recipe adapted from the Burma Superstar cookbook.

Course Main Course
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thigh
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup oil I used olive, but canola works too
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp ginger I buy ginger paste for ease of use, but fresh ground ginger would also work
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced optional, I don't use garlic due to tummy sensitivity and I don't miss it
  • 1 can (13 1/2 oz) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 cup water If you prefer thicker curry, use 3/4 cup
  • 1 tsp red curry paste Madras curry powder also works
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • cilantro for garnish
  • lemon or lime wedges for garnish


  1. Remove excess fat from the chicken and cut into bite-size pieces.

    In a bowl, mix the chicken with the paprika, turmeric and salt, and allow to marinate while you get everything else ready (or as long as overnight).

  2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir for a few minutes to cook a bit. Turn down the heat to medium, and stir in the ginger and garlic if using. Continue to stir to prevent burning, until fragrant and lightly cooked (this just takes a few minutes).

  3. Add the chicken to the onion mixture and stir to combine.

  4. Pour in the coconut milk. Increase the heat to bring to a near boil. Let simmer for a few minutes to thicken the sauce.

  5. Reduce the heat, add the fish sauce and water, and increase the heat again to bring back to a boil.

  6. Lower the heat to simmer for about 55 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the curry and cayanne at the end of the simmer.

Recipe Notes

If there's time, allow the curry to sit for at least 20 minutes to meld the flavors. Bring it back to temperature before serving with cilantro and lemon or lime wedges.