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Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

This Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce is incredibly easy to make and absolutely packed with delicious spice and flavor.

Overhead closeup view of a white bowl filled with brown rice and topped with basil chicken in coconut curry sauce with extra fresh basil on top and recipe title at top of image

(This recipe for Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce was originally published in February 2010, but was updated with new photos in 2019).

Sometimes I spend more time trying to decide what to make for dinner than I do actually making dinner. But when I just can’t decide what to make, I usually head over to my favorite blogs and just browse. You all know I’m obsessed with Martha Stewart and everything she does, but her website is not easy to navigate for inspiration.

Most blogs are much easier to browse and find yummy dishes to make. One of my favorite blogs to browse is Simply Recipes. I can head over there when I have NO idea what to make and usually come away with at least three ideas in no time at all. This time one of those ideas was Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce. It went on my must-make list immediately.

BASIL CHICKEN IN COCONUT CURRY SAUCE RECIPE

Please, please don’t be intimidated by the seemingly long list of ingredients in this recipe. Lots of them are spices that you probably already have in your pantry (if not, you should because you’ll definitely use them again!). Despite all those ingredients (spices), this basil chicken in coconut curry sauce is so, so easy.

You can use either chicken breasts or chicken thighs for this recipe, so it’s totally up to you. I will tell you that if you don’t like cooking with chicken breasts because they can be dry and bland, you don’t have to worry about that with this recipe!

Start by mixing all those beautiful spices together in a small bowl. Then put your chicken pieces in a large bowl and sprinkle the spice mixture all over it. Let it the chicken rest for about 30 minutes.

Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and jalapeño and cook for about 3 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Remove the vegetables from the pan and put in a medium sized bowl and set aside.

Collage showing process for making basil chicken in coconut curry sauce, including curry spices in a white bowl, onion and jalapeño cooking in a skillet, and onion and jalapeño with garlic cooked and resting in a bowl

Using the same pan, add another Tbsp of oil and add half of the chicken pieces, spreading them out to make sure they’re not overcrowded. Cook for a few minutes on each side to brown. When they’re cooked through, remove from the pan and add them to the bowl of onion/jalapeño. Repeat with remaining chicken and remove that to the bowl, too.

Cubed chicken breasts covered in spice cooking in oil in a skillet

Now, add the coconut milk to the skillet. Cook on medium-high and stir until it thickens a bit and gets bubbly and then mix in the Worcestershire sauce.

Add the chicken and onion/jalapeño, along with basil and ginger and cook for 2 more minutes.

Overhead view of coconut curry sauce with chicken and basil cooking in it

Serve over rice… brown is always best! But obviously you can use whatever kind of rice you want. Or even quinoa. Or cauliflower rice.

Oh my goodness, this basil chicken in coconut curry sauce is so incredibly flavorful and satisfying! I didn’t scrape the seeds out of my jalapeños (because we love heat in my house!), so this definitely had an extra kick to it.

Head on view of basil chicken in coconut curry sauce sitting on a bed of brown rice in a white bowl

I also decided to add more fresh basil over the top since I legit love fresh basil so much. And since this dish is called basil chicken and all, I figured it needed some extra!

I’ve never actually attempted making my own curry, but this is something I’ll most definitely be doing again. There are sooo many things that can be done with curry and I love it so much. There are also so many kinds of curry and I want to make them all!

Landscape view of a white bowl filled with brown rice that's topped with basil chicken in coconut curry sauce with fresh basil on top

Like I mentioned, you can definitely use chicken thighs for this recipe, but I was really happy I used chicken breasts because they ended up being so moist and flavorful when cooked in the spices and in the coconut curry sauce. Some people prefer using chicken thighs to breasts because breasts can be drier and less flavorful, but that is not the case with this recipe!

Overhead closeup view of a white bowl filled with brown rice and topped with basil chicken in coconut curry sauce with extra fresh basil on top

Really, there is absolutely nothing I didn’t like about this dish. In case you haven’t been able to tell by this whole post. And it’s the perfect warm-up dish for today’s GROSS and RAINY weather in Boston. While watching American Idol, of course. Any early favorite contestants??

Do you like curry sauce?

If you’re looking for more recipes that really highlight basil, check out my Thai Beef Basil with Coconut Milk or my Basil and Garlic White Pizza. If you’re interested in more curry recipes, check out this Vegan Massaman Curry from The Curious Chickpea!

4.91 from 11 votes
Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce -- This Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce is incredibly easy to make and absolutely packed with delicious spice and flavor | wearenotmartha.com
Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Chicken Marinating Time
30 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce is incredibly easy to make and absolutely packed with delicious spice and flavor.

Course: Entree
Cuisine: American, Eclectic, Thai
Keyword: Basil Chicken, Coconut Curry Sauce, Homemade Thai Chicken
Servings: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces (you can substitute for thighs)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion (from 1 large onion)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, minced (remove seeds if you want to cut down on heat in dish)
  • 1 14 oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (plus more for topping, if desired)
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2-3 cups cooked brown rice (can also use white rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, or whatever you desire!)
Instructions
  1. Mix all the spices (from the cumin to the turmeric) in a small bowl. 

  2. Place chicken in a large bowl and sprinkle the spice mixture over it. Let it sit for 30 minutes.

  3. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and jalapeño and cook for about 3 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for one more minute, until fragrant. Remove mixture from skillet and place in a medium size bowl.

  4. Add remaining Tbsp of oil to the same skillet and add half of the chicken pieces, spreading them out to make sure they’re not overcrowded. Cook for a few minutes on each side to cook through and lightly brown. When cooked through, remove from the skillet and add them to the bowl of onion/jalapeño. Repeat with remaining chicken and remove that to the bowl, too.

  5. Pour the coconut milk into the skillet. Cook on medium-high and stir until sauce thickens and starts bubbling a bit. Mix in the Worcestershire sauce.

  6. Add the chicken and onion/jalapeño mixture back into the skillet, along with basil and ginger and cook for 2 more minutes.

  7. Serve basil chicken over rice. Spoon more coconut curry sauce over the top. Top with more basil if desired.

Recipe Notes
Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce -- This Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce is incredibly easy to make and absolutely packed with delicious spice and flavor | wearenotmartha.com #chicken #basil #curry #dinner

35 Responses to "Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce"

  1. Lexi says:

    That looks SO good! I love basil and anything coconut works for me 🙂

  2. Chris Williams says:

    Now I’m starving. Looks like Thai food for lunch. Thanks for the craving Sues 🙂

  3. Sassy Molassy says:

    Ooh, this sounds awesome and not too complicated!

  4. Gillian says:

    Um, wow. This looks so delicious and I might even actually – gasp! – try it. Like for real.

  5. Nicole says:

    I totally agree about the Martha website. It’s overwhelming and sometimes, you just don’t know where to go and to look for a recipe. But, Simply Recipes is awesome. And, their recipes are so simple (obvi)! This Thai dish looks so, so good! I love how there is an abundance of sauce so the brown rice can soak it all up.

    Your Chef’n product raves are the cutest! They really do need to pay you…or maybe just give you more stuff to use/review?

  6. two coast table says:

    This looks delicious Susie. I tagged this under recipes to make and moved it to the top of my list. (steven)

  7. The Duo Dishes says:

    Mmmm! This looks like one to try. There are a lot of sweet and smokey flavors in there. It’d be nice to add even more spice!

  8. The Partial Ingredients says:

    I tried this recipe the other day from simply recipes and it turned out great. I changed a few things around and liked what I came up with.

  9. Barb says:

    Sounds delish! For those who don’t want to invest in many different spices for one dish I think garam masala would pretty much cover the flavour profile they’re aiming for with the ground spices.

  10. Mary Kelleher says:

    Making it now…. can’t wait to try it. But I am looking an there is not curry powder? I am confused by the name?!

  11. Sues says:

    @Mary- Hi! I hope you enjoy it!! So, curry powder is actually a combination of spices that are sold as curry powder. The spices in this dish are the same ones in curry powder, but in a blend that I think is most delicious (there’s no hard and fast rule for the amounts of each spice and everyone likes it a little different!). I hope that helps explain things 🙂

  12. Brittany says:

    Are there any other vegetables you think would add in well?

  13. Sues says:

    @Brittany- Hi! I would recommend red or green bell peppers. Snow peas would be delicious, too!

  14. Julie says:

    Have you ever made this in advance? Or reheated the leftovers (if there could possibly be any – LOL).

  15. Sues says:

    @Julie- Hi! I’ve never made this in advance, but have heated the leftovers and they’re still great! I do always keep the rice and chicken/sauce mixture separate until right before I serve. I also recommend adding some fresh basil on top right before you eat 🙂

  16. Blake says:

    I never comment on recipes but this one was out of this world delicious! I love the depth of the flavors and the heat from the peppers. I will make this recipe over and over again. Mouth wateringly scrumptious!

  17. Keri says:

    This may sound silly but could you use a tablespoon of curry powder in place of the list of spices? I don’t cook a lot with those and I really want to try this!!! Thank you

  18. Sues says:

    @Keri- Not a silly question at all! You can definitely do this. The flavors might be a little different, but it should be wonderful! Let me know if you try it and like it and I will add a note to the recipe for others.

  19. Diana Truro says:

    This is a new family favorite! I worried my kids wouldn’t be into the curry but they both ate it without complaining and my husband couldn’t stop raving. Will definitely make again!

  20. Megan says:

    Do I use sweetened or unsweetened coconut milk?

  21. Sues says:

    @Megan- Unsweetened!

  22. Christie says:

    Do you need to use full fat coconut milk?

  23. Sues says:

    @Christie- Hi! I’ve only ever made this with full-fat coconut milk. I do think you could use light if you’d prefer, but the sauce wouldn’t thicken as much. I’d recommend adding a little cornstarch to it to thicken more. Let me know if you try it!

  24. Jen says:

    Made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious!

  25. T says:

    I made this for dinner tonight. i only used one jalapeño. It is a very quick dinner once ingredients are gathered. I give it a thumbs up!
    It will definitely go on my make again recipe list!

  26. Robin says:

    Wonder if this can be converted to Instant Pot?

  27. Sues says:

    @Robin I haven’t tried and I am not an Instant Pot pro by any means, but I imagine it can converted using an Instant Pot recipe with chicken and a sauce as a guide!

  28. Jaimie Harris says:

    This was sooooo amazing. The flavors of cinnamon, clover and coconut to name a few we’re such a nice balance. We love heavy seasoned dishes like this and had everything on hand to make. All around this is a new staple and can’t thank you enough for the recipe.

  29. Gg says:

    Why not use Garam Marsala?

  30. Sues says:

    @Gg You certainly can! I like to be able to control what spices I use, so tend not to use spice mixes. A garam masala or curry powder would have a similar result, but I like this particular balance of spices 🙂

  31. Nancy says:

    I added some toasted sliced almonds for texture and a few currants as well to break up the heat! It was so good!

  32. Gigi says:

    Do I have to use Worcestershire sauce? Or can I substitute it with something else?

  33. Sues says:

    @Gigi If you have soy sauce, that would do the trick! Otherwise, a little steak sauce or fish sauce would work, too.

  34. Nyree says:

    Eating it right now. Yum! We didn’t have jalapenos, but the chilli powder adds enough heat. I also used coconut aminos and a little extra salt rather than worcestershire sauce.

  35. Heather says:

    Holy crap this is delicious!!! I will definitely be making it again and again.

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