Try this Sri Lankan chicken curry, then check out our Keralan chicken curry, Chettinad chicken, chicken biryani and more chicken curry recipes.

In the restaurant Kolamba serves this dish garnished with deep-fried gotukola, which is a herbaceous plant found in Asia. Swap this for fried curry leaves and a pinch of dried chilli flakes, if you like. Read our review of Kolamba restaurant here.


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 8 curry leaves
  • 2 medium, thinly sliced onions
  • 6 cloves, finely chopped garlic
  • a thumb-sized piece, finely chopped ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2, peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • 6 pods, cracked cardamom
  • 5, cracked cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 stick, bruised lemongrass
  • 5cm piece (optional) pandan leaf
  • 8 skinless chicken thighs
  • 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • to serve cooked rice


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


  • STEP 1

    To make the roasted curry powder, put all of the ingredients into a large, deep frying pan and cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned and smelling toasty. Cool, then grind using a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. This will make more than you’ll need but will keep in an airtight jar for a month.

  • STEP 2

    Heat the vegetable oil and fry the fenugreek seeds and curry leaves until the leaves start to brown. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and fry gently for 10 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the ground turmeric, chilli powder, 2 tsp of the roasted curry powder and the vinegar, and stir well.

  • STEP 3

    Add the tomatoes, whole spices, lemongrass and pandan leaf, if using, then add the chicken and season. Stir to coat the chicken pieces in the spices, cover and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat. Add the coconut milk, cover and cook on low for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Stir in the lemon juice and serve with rice.

Feel like chicken tonight? Check out our exciting chicken recipes...

Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

Comments, questions and tips

Rate this recipe

What is your star rating out of 5?

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Overall rating