Creamy coconut chicken curry

November 14, 2021

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Creamy coconut chicken curry

The science of eating well: exotic, healthy, quick and delicious recipes.

As most Tribe members who take note of the TR recipes know by now, I am a curry enthusiast. It doesn’t matter if the curry is hot or mild or whether it’s Asian, African or Caribbean. I’m up for it.

I had my first curry when I was nine years old in a hotel in Fiji. I still remember it. I was travelling between California and Sydney with my parents and we spent a few days stop-over in Suva. It was in Fiji that I also first heard the laughing call of a kookaburra. In those days the Australian Broadcasting Commission began each news broadcast with the kookaburra’s hearty laugh. My father, who was Australian, was catching up with what was going on in the country he left nearly 30 years before as a deckhand on a tramp steamer.

His first best-selling book “The World’s Back Doors” was a chronicle of his youthful travels.

Anyway, back to my first curry. It was laid out as a buffet lunch. There was a wonderous collection of different rices and other additions to go with the actual dish which was, as I recall, a madras beef curry. It was something that the hotel was famous for. I was bowled over, I was seduced. I have never had a curry so good. I discovered mango chutney, too. And desiccated coconut.

I’ll never be able to recreate that first zing of a nine-year-old discovering better than hamburgers. It was WOW!

Today’s recipe is not a Madras curry. It is mild rather than hot (Alicia likes it that way) and it’s definitely not beef.

But it is easy to cook, low on calories and has healthy stuff in it. And, by the way, it tastes great. I’ve made it with chicken this time, but I have made it with firm tofu, shrimp and firm fish (the cooking times are more-or-less the same). I wish I could say it comes from anywhere in particular. It doesn’t. It’s another Murray’s curry. One of the joys of cooking, for a scientist such as I, is experimenting.


  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 kilo (2 pounds) chicken breasts skinless and boneless, cut into bite size pieces
  • ½ teaspoon pepper or to taste
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 tblsp minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 cup low-salt chicken-type stock
  • 400 ml (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
  • ½ cup nonfat yoghurt
  • 4 diced fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoon low-salt passata
  • 2 or 3 tsp sweetener (or 1 tblsp of raw honey)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add the chicken and season with pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes—until the chicken is starting to turn brown. If you’re using tofu you can skip this stage.
  3. Add the (tofu) onion, garlic, curry powder and stir. Cook for 2 more minutes
  4. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, tomatoes, tomato paste and sweetener. Stir everything together, bring to a boil for a few minutes then cover. Turn the heat down and simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes. The liquid should be reduced by about a quarter.

Garnish with parsley and serve over brown basmati rice. This is not a curry that chutney goes with, but desiccated coconut does.

Serves: 8

Energy: 748 kJs (187 calories)

Dr Bob Murray

Bob Murray, MBA, PhD (Clinical Psychology), is an internationally recognised expert in strategy, leadership, influencing, human motivation and behavioural change.

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