Tag Archives: Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

Sri Lankan Chicken Curry with Onion Sambal


A festival of tropical textures and flavours, this delicious Sri Lankan chicken curry recipe is sure to become a firm favourite with everyone in the family. Paired up with mouthwatering spicy onion sambal and served with warm roti or fluffy steamed recipe, this recipe stands as a true testament to most Sri Lankan food recipes.

Total cook time: 1-2 hours

Serves: 8


For the onion sambal

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds, ground
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp tamarind puree
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • A handful of curry leaves

For the spice mix

  • 3 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 tsp dill seeds
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder

For the curry

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 small green chilli, cut lengthways
  • 1 lemongrass stem, finely sliced
  • 750g skinless chicken thigh fillets, each cut into pieces
  • 1 tbsp tamarind puree
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • A handful of curry leaves


  • To prepare the onion sambal, heat oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the oil has heated, add in the sliced onions and salt according to taste and cook for about 10-15 minutes until the onions go soft.
  • Next, add the chopped ginger and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes before adding the chili powder, cloves and cardamom. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients for the onion sambal and simmer for about 5-10 minutes until the onions go glossy and translucent.
  • To make the spice mix, lightly dry roast the spices in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant and then tip the sices into a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.
  • To prepare the curry, heat oil in another heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Add in the diced onion and salt and cook until the onions are softened.
  • To this, add the garlic and chilli and cook for another 5 minutes. Add lemongrass and the ground spices and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Then, add in the chicken pieces, mixing well to coat the pieces in the spices. Cook for about 2-3 minutes before throwing in the curry leaves, tamarind puree and coconut milk and simmer for about 10 minutes. Finally, pour in the coconut cream and bring to a simmer, being careful not to let the curry mixture boil over.
  • Remove the sauacpean from heat, cover with a lid and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Drizzle in the lime juice to taste and serve with the spicy onion sambal and your choice of warm, steamed rice, roti or bread.

Sri Lankan Cashew Chicken Curry Recipe


Generously spiced with a homemade Sri Lankan curry powder and combined with rich, coconut milk and cashew nuts, this Sri Lankan chicken curry recipe, paired up with warm roti or rice is the perfect comforting meal.

Total cook time:

1 hour 20 minutes

Serves: 4


  • 200g cashews
  • 500g skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 400g tin of coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 200g tomatoes, chopped
  • 250g green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • A small bunch of coriander leaves, roughly chopped

For the Sri Lankan curry powder

  • 1 tsp basmati rice
  • 4 pods of cardamom, seeds extracted and shells discarded
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 4 cloves


  • To make the Sri Lankan curry powder, add all the ingredients for the curry powder into a large, deep frying pan and dry roast over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes or until the spices turn light brown and they start releasing their aromas.
  • Let the spices cool. Then put it into a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle to grind to a powder.
  • Next, in a pan, add the cashews and toast for about 2-3 minutes or until they start turning golden brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  • In the same pan, heat the coconut oil and cook the chicken thighs for about five minutes on each side or until the chicken is done and golden brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  • In a blender or food processor, add the chopped onion, garlic, ginger and chillies with half of the toasted cashew and about 50 ml of water and grind to a paste.
  • Next, heat some oil in a pan and add the spice mix and cook gently for about a minute. Then add in the cashew paste and saute gently for about 20 minutes until the mixture thickens.
  • To this, add in the coconut milk along with about 250 ml of water, the cinnamon stick, the cooked chicken thighs and the rest of the toasted cashews and allow to simmer for about half an hour until the chicken thighs go really tender.
  • Then add the green beans and let it cook for another five minutes or so. Now, add the tomatoes and cook for a final five minutes, until the beans and tomatoes are cooked.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the lime juice and chopped coriander leaves. Serve this classic Sri Lankan food recipes with warm rice or roti of choice.

5 Sri Lankan Chicken Recipes


Sri Lanka takes great pride in it’s extraordinary culinary legacy, that also gives rise to unique fusion dishes with the island’s South Asian counterparts. Sri Lankan food recipes are distinguished for their tempting aroma, delectable taste and vivid colour. When it comes to chicken dishes, there are all-time favourites in many cultures and Sri Lanka is no exception with Sri Lankan chicken recipes varying from beloved grandmother recipes to modern culinary indulgences.

Here are five mouthwatering chicken recipes that are uniquely Sri Lankan. These Sri Lankan chicken dishes are a foodie’s paradise so give them a go!

Devilled Chicken in Sri Lanka


  • 500g chicken (preferably thigh fillets or drumsticks)
  • 2 tablespoons ginger paste
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 2 big onions, diced
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 3 capsicum chilies, sliced
  • 3 green chilies, slit
  • Curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 pod cardamom
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Oil as required
  • Salt to taste


Start off by marinating the chicken in ginger, garlic and salt paste for a few hours or preferably overnight. Then, deep fry the chicken pieces and set aside. In a pan, heat oil and add cardamom, cinnamon, garlic clove, diced onions and mix well. Next, add in the fried chicken, curry leaves, capsicum chilies and green chilies and saute well. Finally, add salt and sugar to enhance the flavour according to taste and add in tomato sauce generously, mixing well. Serve devilled chicken in Sri Lanka hot with rice, preferably long-grain fried rice.

Sri Lankan Pineapple Chicken


  • 500g chicken (preferably boneless)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 pod cardamom
  • Curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 1 medium bell pepper,sliced
  • 1 small pineapple, chopped into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce
  • Oil as required
  • Salt and sugar to taste


In a large pan or wok, heat oil and saute the cinnamon, cardamom, chopped onion, curry leaves and ginger garlic paste well. Next, add the chicken, oyster sauce, soya sauce and salt and stir-fry on low flame, tossing often. After cooking for about five minutes, add in the pineapple chunks and sliced bell pepper into the mixture and sauté for a further few minutes. Finally, sprinkle sugar on top and cook until the consistency of the gravy is fairly thick. Serve hot with white rice or fresh bread.

Tip: You can also experiment and substitute the pineapples for other fresh seasonal fruits like mangoes.

Sri Lankan Fried Chicken


  • 500g chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 2 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 2 big onions, cut into thin rings
  • 3 capsicum chilies, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 cucumber cut into thin circles
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lettuce shredded


Marinate chicken drumsticks for a couple of hours in ginger, garlic and salt mixture and set aside. Once done, deep fry the drumsticks and place on a kitchen towel to drain off any excess oil. Next, arrange a plate with lettuce, onion rings, diced capsicum, tomato and cucumber. Set the fried chicken on top of the array and squeeze lime over chicken. Serve hot as the main dish or a side dish for rice.

Tip: You can make variations in the salad according to your taste and creativity.

Sri Lankan Chicken Tikka


  • 500g chicken cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons ginger paste
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste

For the Tikka sauce

  • 1 tablespoon butter or ghee
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 cup of curd or yoghurt
  • Salt to taste


Marinate chicken chunks well for a few hours or even overnight in ginger, garlic and salt mixture. Once well marinated, deep fry the chicken in oil and set aside. In a pan, heat the oil and butter and add in the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Next, add the diced onion, ginger and garlic and salt. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until the onions are golden brown and well cooked. Then, add in the coriander, cumin, pepper, and tomato paste and continue to cook until the mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan. At this point, add the fried chicken into the gravy and mix gently, making sugar the chicken is well coated in the mixture. Finally stir in the curd just before serving. Serve hot with parathas or flat breads.

Tip: You can add green chilies to the sauce if you want the dish hotter and spicier.

Sri Lankan Chicken Curry Recipe


  • 500g chicken pieces from a whole chicken
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 large onions, finely diced
  • 1 clove, finely chopped.
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind puree (optional)
  • 1 large tomato, cut into slices
  • 4 green chilies, diced
  • Curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoon cumin ground
  • 1 tablespoon coriander ground
  • 1 teaspoon red chilies ground
  • 1 teaspoon saffron
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil as required


Begin by heating oil in a large pan or wok and sautee the cinnamon, cardamom, chopped onions, clove, curry leaves and ginger garlic paste well. Next, add the diced tomato, green chili and chicken and stir well. In a bowl, mix red chili powder, coriander, cumin, saffron and tamarind puree into the coconut milk. When the chicken is turning brown add the coconut milk mixture and add salt according to taste. Allow the curry to boil in low flame until cooked. Serve hot with saffron rice or Sri Lankan yellow rice.

Tip: Sri Lankan chicken curry recipe is traditionally cooked in clay pots as it is said to enhance the general flavour of any dish.