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basil coconut chicken curry.

Not gunna lie:  this likely won’t be the most kid-friendly recipe you’ve ever made.  My fairly adventurous kids wouldn’t give it a second look.

You’ve been warned.

Ok, now moving on.  As some of you know I inherited approximately 47 new spices from my parents during their recent move.  As the honored recipient, I wondered (often aloud):

1.  Where on earth would I keep said spices?

2.  What on earth do you do with spices like cardamom and coriander?

While I’m still working on #1 (Container Store anyone?), this recipe is a start toward the answer to #2.  Let’s hope you, like me, have recently inherited several of these out-of-the-way spices.  If so, you’re set for this recipe!  You’ll find this curry is full of flavor, with a bit of a kick, and because I use light coconut milk you’ll save in the calorie department!

Here’s the spice lineup.

You’re pretty much assured good things happen when you saute onions, garlic and jalapeno peppers.

Cook up the well-seasoned chicken…

…then toss in with the onions, pepper and coconut milk!

Nearly there…

Voila!  No need to order takeout – save the money for a rainy day 🙂

Basil Coconut Chicken Curry

(adapted from Simply Recipes – serves 4)

What You’ll Need:

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs

1 large red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

2 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil

1 14-oz can coconut milk

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

3 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger

Cooked brown rice


In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, salt, ground coriander, cumin, ground cloves, cinnamon, ground cardamom, black pepper, and chili powder. Set aside.

Rinse chicken, pat dry. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Put into a bowl and sprinkle the spice mix over all the pieces. Coat well and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

In a large skillet heat 1 Tbsp oil on medium high heat. Add the onions and jalapeños and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Remove the onions, peppers and garlic from the pan and put into a medium sized bowl. Set aside. Use the same pan for the next step.

Add 1 Tbsp oil to the skillet and heat on medium high heat. Add chicken and brown for a few minutes on each side. When the chicken pieces are cooked through, and no pink remains, remove from pan, add to the bowl with the onions.

Add the coconut milk, minus a couple tablespoons, to the skillet. In a small bowl, mix the remaining coconut with the corn starch to dissolve the corn starch. Add the corn startch mixture back to the skillet with the coconut milk. Cook on medium heat and stir till thick and bubbly. Mix in the worcestershire sauce. Add chicken mixture, basil, and ginger. Cook 2 minutes more to cook through.

Serve over rice.

TOTAL:  $5.95 or $1.48 per serving (not including rice)

Wondering how on earth I arrived at these costs?  Take a look at my shopping guide to show see what I pay for items, per serving, etc.


(not including rice)

316 calories per serving

16 grams of fat

9 carbs

2 grams fiber

34 grams protein

Did you give it a try?  Leave me a comment below or head over to Facebook and let me know what you think!

Join the Frugal Foodie Family Food Blog Community on Facebook

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Cardamom is used for pastry mostly in Northern Europe. That is usually what you smell when you walk into a pastry shop. It comes from the seed of the cardamom flower. By the way it is one of the expensive spices. It runs around $10 now for a bottle of Spice Island brand. I like to add it to sweet yeast dough, coffee cake and tea cakes.

    September 12, 2012
    • I never knew all that! And I’ll make sure to send a thank you card to my parents for the fancy spices 🙂 I had no idea Cardamom was so expensive!

      September 12, 2012
      • It is one of the only expensive one I am willing to buy because I bake alot. It is only a couple of dollars less then vanilla beans. I usually spring for the vanilla paste about once in a couple of years. Both the past and cardamom I treat like gold and use for special baking. I enjoy your blog and your effort to keep costs down.

        September 12, 2012
  2. then it’s a I good thing I haven’t yet got a child… I’ve never used basil in a curry, but it is a great, well thought out idea. I shall have to – this looks divine.

    September 12, 2012
    • Thanks!! I think you’ll enjoy the touch of basil.

      September 12, 2012
  3. so excited that I have everything to make this! 🙂

    September 14, 2012
    • Yay! I love those kinds of recipes! Let me know what you think.

      September 14, 2012
  4. Coconut milk curries are a staple in our house! My boyrfriend is cooking up some lamb curry right now!

    September 15, 2012
    • Yum! I’ve never made lamb curry but I’m sure it is fabulous!

      September 16, 2012

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