Coconut chilli chicken

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus marinating
  • Cooking time: 35 minutes
  • Total time: 55 minutes, plus marinating

Serves: 12-15


2kg boneless British chicken thighs, diced
300g whole yogurt
100g desiccated coconut
120ml sunflower oil
12 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground cloves
4 shallots, thinly sliced
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger, plus extra, cut into matchsticks, to serve
2 tbsp crushed garlic
4 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1½ tbsp smoked paprika
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
8 green chillies, quartered lengthways and deseeded
400ml can coconut milk
lemon juice, to taste
handful coriander leaves 


1. Mix the chicken with the yogurt; leave to marinate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put the desiccated coconut and 125ml water in a blender; whizz to a smooth paste. Add 125ml more water, blend again and set aside.

2. In a large frying pan or casserole, heat the oil. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and shallots and cook over a low heat until pale gold. Add the grated ginger, garlic, turmeric, cayenne and paprika. Cook for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes and chillies; cook for another minute, then add the coconut paste. Simmer for about 5 minutes, then add the marinated chicken. Simmer for 15-20 minutes more.

3. Add the coconut milk and simmer for a few more minutes. Season with salt and add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste. Serve scattered with the coriander and ginger matchsticks, plus flatbreads and raita if liked.