Authentic Sri Lankan-style Chicken Curry

edited IMG_7482As the topic says, I am sharing an authentic Sri Lankan recipe with you today. Sri Lankans make this curry for special occasions like for get-togethers, parties, weddings and for special lunches, even it is just with family. This probably is the only dish that took me million years no billion years about a year to master. It was really difficult for me to get the correct color of this dish at first. Whenever my mom visited me she used to ask me whether I cook at home or not because the roasted curry powder she gave me sat on the kitchen counter without moving for decades. Well, maybe not for decades, but I am pretty sure I didn’t use it for months.

The difficult part, in my opinion, is to cut the chicken in to pieces. My husband usually does grocery shopping once a week, so we usually cut it right after he brings that home, we arrange it in different zipper bags and store it in the freezer. That way you don’t have to wait until the chicken defrosts to cut it in to pieces.

Before I forget, lemongrass(Sera) does wonders to this dish. Living in Canada, we cannot find lemon grass that easily. Please do add this ingredient if you have it available in the region you live in. Anyways, here is my version of Sri Lankan chicken curry.


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1.25 Kg of Chicken

2 tbsp of chopped onions

3 cloves of garlic – chopped

1 ½ tsp of ginger – chopped

1 ½ tbsp. of roasted curry powder (Badapu thuna-paha)

1 tbsp. of chili powder

5 seeds of cardamom (Karandamungu)

4 seeds of cloves (Karabunati)

Small piece of lemongrass (Sera) – approx.: 2cm

Some curry leaves (Karapincha)

½ tsp of tamarind (Siyambala)

1 cinnamon stick

3 tbsp of cooking oil

Salt for taste

1 – 1 ½ cup of water


Step 01 : In a bowl, mix the chicken with curry powder, chili and salt. Then, let it aside to marinate for about 10 minutes.

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Step 02 : In a cooking pot heat the oil under medium temperature and start stir-frying onions, garlic and ginger until they start to turn to light brown. Then, add a pinch of salt, cardamom, cinnamon, curry leaves, tamarind and lemon grass. Now, continue stir-frying all the ingredients for about 2 minutes.

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Step 03: Now, add the marinated chicken to the pot and stir-fry for about a minute.

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Step 04: After, add 1 to 1 ½ cup of water and mix well. In fact, rather than pouring the water directly to the pot, it is preferred to put the water to the bowl that the meat was in and then transfer to pot. This way, you will be able to use the remaining curry powder in the bowl, as well.

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Step 05 : Now, while frequently stirring, cook under high temperature for about 5 minutes. Then, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.


Remember, if you want a curry with thick gravy (Bora), use ¾ to 1 cup of water.

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Here is the final dish.

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