Print Options:

Chicken Curry with Roasted Coconut

Sri Lankan kalu pol chicken
Ratings 5 from 1 votes
Cooking Method ,
Courses ,
Difficulty Beginner
Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 1 hour Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Servings 6

Delicious slow-simmered chicken curry with added Roasted Coconut aka Sri Lankan Kalu-pol chicken curry is a must-try dish to add to your chicken recipes list. Its nutty, sweet, sour, and chicken pieces become fall-off the bone tender. And so aromatic with all the roasted coconut and the spices. 

    For the curry paste
  • 3/4 cups Fresh grated coconut
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder (roasted/smoked chili powder can also be used)
  • 1 tablespoon roasted Sri Lankan curry powder
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 thumb size piece of ginger
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind seedless (substitute: tamarind paste, goraka paste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon powder (substitute: cinnamon stick)
  • salt to your taste
  • Other
  • 600 grams chicken drumsticks or cut up bone-in chicken
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 1 small Pandan lef broken into pieces
  • 1 lemongrass crushed a little bit (use only about 4 inches of the tender part)
  • 1 cup thinned coconut milk ((1 coconut milk : 3 water ratio))
    Make tamarind pulp:
  1. Add your tamarind to a small bowl and add about 3 tbsp of water. Let it soak for about five mins. It would be quicker if you use warm water. Dissolve the tamarind in water using your fingers. Discard any seeds. I use seedless tamarind from a block but can be substituted with fresh tamarind with seeds, tamarind paste, or pulp.

  2. Roast coconut and spices:
  3. Roast your fresh coconut in medium-low heat until they become dark brown and aromatic. Keep stirring continuously to ensure even cooking. As soon as they turn dark brown transfer them into the grinder cup or a different pan. (Highly recommend reading the tips I have given above in the description)

  4. Now add black pepper, cardamom, and cloves to the same pan and roast for about 30-45 seconds so they’re easier to grind. Add them to the grinder cup.

  5. In the same pan, add chili powder and about ½ tsp of salt and slowly roast it until they become darker in color. (read the given tips in the description for more info). Add that to the grinder cup. If you already have roasted chili powder or smoked paprika in hand, you can use that instead.

  6. Make the paste:
  7. Add all the ingredients I’ve mentioned under curry paste in the ingredients list above. Which are roasted coconut, roasted chili powder, roasted Sri Lankan curry powder, cinnamon powder (if you don’t have this, add a piece of cinnamon directly to the curry without grinding) garlic, ginger, cloves, cardamom, black pepper, tamarind pulp, sugar, vinegar, salt, and enough water for your grinder/blender to work. Grind it into a smooth paste.

  8. Taste the paste. It should already taste good. And has to be a little extra salty, sour, and should have some sweetness too. If not you can add a little bit more salt, vinegar, or sugar to match your taste. You are also going to adjust these flavors halfway through as you cook the curry.

  9. Make the curry:
  10. To a clay pot or any pot with a heavy bottom (such as a cast-iron dutch oven or heavy stainless steel pan) add your chicken, the curry paste, Curry leaves, Pandan leaves, finely chopped onions, a 3-inch piece of lemongrass (I didn't have this ingredient at the time, unfortunately) and salt if needed.

  11. Add thinned coconut milk (dilute approximately 1 part thick/canned coconut milk: 3 part water ratio) to the pot and mix well together.

  12. Cover and cook for 20 on medium low heat. After 20 mins taste and adjust salt, vinegar, and sugar to your taste. If it’s too sour then add a little bit of sugar and if it’s too sweet for your liking add a touch of vinegar to balance it out.

  13. Now cook it uncovered on low heat for about another 30 - 40 mins or until the gravy has thickened. Do not mix with a spoon. Whenever you feel like the bottom is getting dry, then shake the pot a little bit. Cooking in low heat is the key to getting the gravy dark and thick and chicken to become very tender. It would get thicker as it cools down.

Keywords: chicken curry, Sri Lankan chicken curry, Chicken curry with roasted coconut, Kalu pol chicken curry, black chicken curry, easy chicken recipe, no oil chicken curry