Curried Chicken in Cilantro Chili Pepper Sauce

Curry Chicken In Cilantro Chile Sauce

Sometimes the unplanned recipes are the best!  This is simple chicken curry with lot of fresh and deep flavors. Surprisingly, unlike the usual chicken curries, this does not require a whole lot of  spices.

The recipe was born out of an emergency, while a quick dinner was demanded and I was contemplating using up the many fresh bunches of cilantro I had got. I cooked impulsively with what ever I had within reach.

Indian Green Curry Sauce

But the flavors came together really well. The smokey  aroma of the cumin and crushed pepper as they hit the hot oil, the refreshing crisp of the fresh cilantro, chili pepper and lemon and the hint of sweet of the coconut milk blended in so perfectly –  each one subtle but distinct at the same time. If you like fresh cilantro, you are going to love this simple dish.  This was a rather quick and easy curry to make. We all loved it and I ended up making this twice in less than two weeks.

Cilantro Chicken

I had posted Chicken Kolhapuri before, a dish with strong and robust flavors. Many of you wrote back to me saying that you tried and loved this dish. This recipe today is along the lines of the the Kolhapuri Chicken in its flavors but without the many spices, and with the freshness and the lightness of the Chicken Curry with Tomato and Green Chilli Pepper, that is so perfect for this spring time.

(You could use the same sauce and the recipe with Shrimp, Potatoes or Paneer.)

Curry Chicken In Cilantro Chile Sauce

Curried Chicken in Cilantro Chili Pepper Sauce

Ingredients: (serves 3-4 )

2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, (or chicken thighs, of equal weight), cubed

to marinate:

  1. 1 teaspoon chile powder/paprika/cayenne pepper
  2. salt
  3. 1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the Sauce:

  1. 6 tablespoons oil
  2. about 4 turns of  freshly ground black peppercorn
  3. 1.5 teaspoon red crushed pepper
  4. 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  5. 2.5 cups chopped onions
  6. 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  7. 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  8. 2 small tomatoes, grated
  9. salt
  10. 1 teaspoon turmeric
  11. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  12. 3/4 cup base green chutney (recipe follows)

Base Green Sauce/Chutney: (makes approx. 1 1/4 cup)

  1. 3 cups packed fresh cilantro/coriander leaves. tender stems included – washed well and drained
  2. 8 cloves of garlic
  3. 6 hot green chili pepper, (remove seeds and membranes if you do not want it spicy)
  4. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  5. 1 teaspoon sugar
  6. salt
  7. 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  8. 2-3 tablespoon water


To make the green sauce/chutney:

Remove the tough stems of the cilantro before measuring. Blend/puree all the ingredients for the green sauce in a food processor until smooth. You might have some of the chutney/green sauce left over from the recipe above. Use it as a condiment or freeze it for later use.

Wash the chicken and pat dry. Rub the lemon juice, salt and chile powder on the chicken cubes and let them rest for at least an hour, overnight works better.

Heat the oil, add the crushed pepper and black pepper. After a couple of minutes add the cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds start to sizzle, add the chopped onions and the sugar. Fry the onions at high heat for about 8 minutes. They will start to brown on the edges.

Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and add them to the pan. Cook for about 12-15 minutes till all the water evaporates and the chicken starts to brown and the oil comes up on the sides and bubbles. You will have to frequently toss the chicken pieces during this time, so they do not stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add the ginger  paste, grated tomatoes and the chutney/green sauce to the pan; lower the heat, stir everything together in the pan and let it cook covered for 15-20 minutes. Uncover and toss everything frequently to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. The chicken should be cooked at the end of this time.

Uncover and 1 cup of water combined with the coconut milk. Simmer for 10 more minutes uncovered and switch off the heat. Let it sit for about half an hour before you serve. Garnish with more fresh cilantro if you wish.

Serve with rice or flatbreads.

Curry Chicken In Cilantro Chile Sauce

Related Posts:

A simple Chicken Curry

Methi Murgh – Chicken Curry with Fenugreek Leaves

Curried Chicken in Cardamom Infused Coconut Sauce

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40 comments to Curried Chicken in Cilantro Chili Pepper Sauce

  • A magnificent dish! Those flavors are just stunning.



  • wow wht a tempting n drooooooooooolworthy dish… cilantro based curries…ur pics r killing me….looks so so mouthwatering………amazing flavors…love it

  • Soma, the curry cooked in hurry is looking awesome, loved the flavors added to enhance its taste… !

  • Just lovely!!! I marvel at the way you present even the most simple ingredients like coriander in such an exotic manner. Kudos to you 🙂

  • Deepa

    Curried chicken looks simply mouthwatering and delicious. Great recipe.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  • This dish is beautiful!!! The chicken looks so tender. Great flavors 🙂

  • slurp….-)
    looks delicious,,

  • I must admit most the recipes that are made without plan are always great for me. I make something similar and call it green chicken sans the tomatoes so that they really have a green color 🙂 Next time I’m trying this!

    Kulsum, I was actually wanting to see a green color in this dish while i was using the cilantro. maybe the tomato made it not green. also I think if I did not cook the paste and added it towards the end it wld have retained the nice color. I will try to make it green next time:-)

  • you know what…whenever i use coriander leaves in my curries…when i grind them that is…the curry always tirn out bitter..i assume its because of the leaves??? i suppose you never have that issue or does the sugar take away the bitterness?
    on another note..the curry looks gorgeous 🙂

    Nisha, I am not sure why it should bitter. When I make the green chutney with cilantro, and have it raw and I do not taste the bitterness. have you tried tasting the raw mix and seeing if it is bitter? are the leaves too matured? The only suggestion I can give u is, that cook it well or watch the quantity you are adding.. is it too much? I also add lemon juice while making the paste.. don’t know if that would make a difference instead of just using water.

    I do not add the sugar for the bitterness; the sugar is used while frying the onions to kind of caramelize them faster and i like the deep color and the slight hint of the flavor. it is not a requirement. in that little quantity you will not taste the sugar at all, but it does kind of impart an overall balanced taste.

  • I can’t wait to make this, it looks absolutely delicious!

  • Hi there! nice to connect with you on FB – Look forward to checking out your blog 🙂 Cheers Priya

  • This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try out the recipe!

  • I made Cilantro Chicken-the unplanned one once and it turned out great. Looks delicious!

  • I had made something similar long back, but my curry became green in color. I like how yours look. Adding coconut milk was excellent. I think I will make this with Shrimp! 🙂

  • Looks very tempting and simple to prepare, love to make quick dishes, will definitely try this one 🙂

  • anh

    how is this that I want to eat all the food you cook Soma? I am loving the sound of this dish already!

  • mohana

    Yummy !!!! delicious….

  • Jay

    ohh…makes me drool…awesome recipe..
    visiting your blog for the first time…sure you have a lovely collection of recipes…great pics..
    happy to follow u..
    check out mine sometime..:)
    Tasty Appetite

  • Looking very yummy Soma. I love unplanned recipes too. I’m surprised the color is not greener. Perhaps those 2 small tomatoes and onions overpowered it.

  • reading the description my mouth was watering, i’m totally sold out! mesmerising!

  • Cham

    I make something with green sauce base but the color turns almost dark green. The color of chicken is splendid!

  • Wow this looks really great, Soma! I need to make this for my bf. He loves chicken =D.

  • Soma, this looks gorgeous and delicious!! I will file this away to make for my boyfriend. Despite being vegetarian myself I cook him meat dishes on occassion.

    I love the bowl you served the curry in. Gorgeous!

  • […] imabonehead: Curried Chicken in Cilantro Chili Pepper Sauce | eCurry – The Recipe Blog ( […]

  • Soma mindblowing dish and cilantro sauce.. looks so yumm and love the serving bowl.

  • This looks amazing!

  • Anna R.

    Mmmmm …

    Made this last night and it turned out fantastic! I used quite a lot of chilli so the curry turned out very HOT but it was so delicious that my guests (who normally don’t like hot) didn’t mind at all. They just ate huge helpings of brown rice with it 🙂

    Thanks for letting me know! LOL with the hot! So glad that you liked it:)

  • judy

    Hi made this last night for a party was super hit..thanks for posting the recipe..

  • Hello, I hope you don’t mind but I’d like to include this recipe in our next ezine article. No, don’t worry, you will get all the credit. Think of us as merely advertising or marketing this article for you. Our site aims to find the best articles/recipes/news online – all culinary. That’s what we do every week and then we send out ezines to our subscribers. this week we are featuring Indian cuisine and after doing a little Google search, voila! your recipe came up. it’s simple and it seems really delicious.

  • Juhi

    Hi Soma,

    I had tried making chicken Kolhapuri!! it was awsome! my only suggestion to you is if you could try reducing the quantity of Oil used. Kolhapuri was lil greasy and I had drained quite a bit of oil out of it. Taste wise it was unbeatable!!!

    I would be trying more recipes of yours. I had tried the Tomato and bread soup today, taste was good but Indian tomato did not reach the color of your tomato 🙂


    Thank you for trying out and letting me know. regarding the amount of ingredients, like the oil you have mentioned, do adjust to your own liking and taste. My recipes are not rules:) they are written the way we have it at home or on some occasions. So they are merely the guidelines. Even with the spices, you do not have to follow word by word, and do free feel to add anything new or take away as per your tastes. That is how a recipe becomes your own!

  • Tandra


    I made this curry last week and it turned out great…I must have put something more/less so the color was a bit darker, but the curry was awesome so I did not mind that…I shared a little with one of my friends and she asked me the receipe and made again too…

    Thanks for the wonderful receipe…I will try your grilled vegetable flatbread soon…:-)

  • Hannah

    I made this dish today, with a few substitutions. I used potatoes and chick peas since I am vegetarian. I also used tomatillos instead of red tomatoes to keep the green color. The dish was great! I especially love the chutney, even by itself. Thanks for sharing this!

    sorry for this delayed reply. Thank you so much for taking your time and writing to me. and really glad that you enjoyed. This is one of our favorite recipes, with chicken and in a veg. way.. we use potatoes or potatoes and chickpeas together.. just like you did 🙂 Thank you again.


  • This looks fantastic! I think I have all the ingredients. I’m going to make this!

  • Oh I am absolutely smitten with that cilantro chilli sauce! So vibrant and green, and I can almost taste the flavours. Hubby would LOVE it! Also have major prop envy of that gorgeous cloth folded under the bowl 😉

  • Micky

    I had attempted the Chicken Kolhapuri using the recipe from eCurry word for word. It took some effort but it was the best bit of cooking Ive done in a long time..Simply outstanding and super easy.

    Please keep posting these great pictures so desi foodies like me may remember the times from back home in India.

    PS – I miss mom.


  • Nice Blog and nice recipe. Please have a look into this too.
    indian vegetarian recipes from , Lapsi – A gujarati sweet recipe.

  • Devanshi

    Hi. The Recipe looks great. Can I substitute Coconut Milk for something else? Yogurt perhaps?

  • Love the curry. This looks so delicious, love the color and the texture of the dish.

  • Really impressed with how you made such a tedious looking recipe so simple. Definitely worth a try.

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