Sri Lankan Black Chicken Curry with Roasted Spices

Must Try Recipes

Is this chicken sounding and looking a little familiar to you?  That’s because it’s an adaption of the black shrimp curry that I made just the other day.  I had just a bit of chicken left that I needed to use up so I thought I’d test those same spices and general recipe, which worked so well with the shrimp, on some boneless chicken thighs.

And just like the shrimp, it was a hit.  I hate to play favorites between the two, but if you put a gun to my head, I’d say the chicken was even better.

Sri Lankan Black Chicken Curry with Roasted Spices

Yield: 4 servings


* 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1/3 cup minced shallots
* 1 Serrano pepper, sliced into thin rounds
* 2 teaspoons ground coriander
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* pinch ground cloves
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
* 1 pound boneless chicken, cut into small chunks (I used thighs)
* 1 stalk lemongrass, woody ends removed, and bruised
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* 1 cup water
* 1 cup coconut milk
* cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)


Heat the oil in a large saucepan or large, wide frypan with a cover, over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and Serrano pepper and cook for one minute. Add the coriander, cumin, fenugreek, cinnamon, cayenne, clove, and cardamom and stir to mix well. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture turns a couple shades darker and becomes very fragrant.

Add the garlic and ginger, mix, and cook one more minute. Add the chicken, stir to coat in the spices, and stir fry for three to four minutes. Add the lemongrass, salt, paprika, and water, stir, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add the coconut milk and simmer, uncovered, on low heat until the sauce is hot and the chicken is cooked through.

Top with cilantro leaves, if desired.

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