Coconut Masala Chicken

Coconut Masala Chicken. Tender chicken simmered with earthy Indian spices and creamy coconut milk.

Coconut Masala Chicken

Coconut Masala Chicken 

Bursting with fragrant aromas and a velvety texture, Indian-style Coconut Masala Chicken brings together bone in chicken, the richness of coconut milk, and a handful of spices. Soak up the flavorful sauce with fragrant basmati rice or soft roti. I also like to serve it with a side of kachumber, an Indian style dinner salad.  

Coconut Masala Chicken

Cooking with Dad

My Dad is one of the best cooks I know, he cooked with all heart and no recipes, so when I can manage to get a recipe out of him, I consider myself lucky. My tandoori chicken and tamarind wings are just some of the dishes that are inspired by him. This Coconut Masala Chicken is so ne of those dishes my Dad has made several times, changing things here and there every time (a result of never documenting the recipe). Recently, I was able to pin him down and follow him around the kitchen as he made this creamy coconut chicken, and trust me I know you’re going to love it! 

Coconut Masala Chicken

Key Ingredients 

  • Coconut milk: is the star ingredient that lends its creamy, velvety texture to Coconut Masala Chicken. It not only adds a creamy smooth texture but also compliments the spices, balancing their intensity and creating a harmonious fusion of flavors. The coconut milk, with its delicate sweetness, serves as the perfect canvas to showcase the complexity of the spices, resulting in a sauce that is both comforting and indulgent.
  • Chicken: We’re using a full bone in chicken here in this dish, once marinated in a flavorful mixture of spices and lemon juice which helps tenderize it, it’s infused with the aromatic essence of the spices. When cooked in the creamy coconut sauce, the chicken absorbs the flavors, and the combination of the tender chicken and the creamy sauce creates a delightful dish that’s comforting and delicious. If you’re not a fan of bone in, I would swap in a mix of chicken tenders and thighs. Coconut Masala Chicken


Indian cuisine is known for its diversity, and Creamy Coconut Sauce is no exception. Different regions of India put their unique spin on this dish, adding their own distinct flavors and techniques. For example, in the South of India they may include the addition of curry leaves and mustard seeds for a vibrant burst of flavor. In the coastal regions of Goa and Kerala, the use of tamarind or kokum adds a tangy twist to the creamy sauce. Exploring these regional variations allows you to appreciate the wide array and depth of Indian culinary traditions.

Coconut Masala Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Coconut Masala Chicken. Tender chicken simmered with earthy Indian spices and creamy coconut milk.
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 lb bone in, skinless chicken; cut into 1½ inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 2 cup onions; thinly sliced (about 2 onions)
  • 2 green chilies; thinly sliced
  • 1 cup tomatoes; finely diced (about 2 tomatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1½ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lal mirch; red chili powder
  • 3 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dhaniya powder; ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon jeera powder; ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon haldi; turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon kasoori methi; dried fenugreek
  • 1-2 fresh green chilies; slit in thin slices
  • 2 inch ginger; cut in thin slices
  • ⅓ cup freshly chopped cilantro
  1. Wash and prep your chicken. In a deep bowl add the wet ingredients: neutral oil, lemon juice, and vinegar.
  2. Marinade the chicken with all the dry spices: salt, lal mirch, paprika, black pepper, dhaniya powder, jeera powder, haldi, dry ginger, dry garlic powder, and kasoori methi. Mix with chicken to make sure every piece is well coated. Refrigerate and let marinate for at least 20-30 minutes or up to overnight.
  1. In a deep, heavy bottom pan warm the oil on medium heat. Add the bay leaves, cloves, and cinnamon stick.
  2. Once the spices start to bloom in the hot oil add the onions and cook them down until soft and translucent.
  3. Add the ginger garlic paste and cook for 1-2 minutes before adding the sliced green chilies, and marinated chicken, mix, and cook for 10 minutes until the chicken releases moisture.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes, mixing to ensure nothing sticks.
  5. Cover the pan and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring in between. Uncover, add the coconut milk, mix well and cook for 5-6 minutes.
  6. If the gravy is too thick, add hot water and cook for an additional few minutes. Mix, add the garam masala, taste for salt, and adjust if needed.
  7. Garnish with freshly sliced chilies, sliced ginger, and fresh cilantro.



One thought on “Coconut Masala Chicken

  1. Hi Nisha, this looks great! Can’t wait to try it! Can I use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar?

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