New Twist on Chicken Curry

Spice things up with a dinner party favorite, “Chicken Curry in a Hurry." Pair with a lazy Susan full of toppings and warm naan bread.

Chicken Curry, naan bread, and bowls of toppings
Photography by Leslie Byars Register

By the time September rolls around and the weather begins to cool off a tad, I’m in the mood to fire up the stove and have friends over for a dinner party. But with football season and school activities in full swing, there’s little time to labor over the hot coals! So I thought I would share an easy, fall entertaining idea with this recipe from the past.

Chicken Curry was a dinner party favorite in the ‘70s. This particular “Chicken Curry in a Hurry” recipe comes together in about 30 minutes. If you have a lazy Susan, this is a good time to pull it out; if not, simply rotate trays to allow everyone to choose their desired toppings.

Cook a big batch of Basmati rice during the cocktail hour. Serve warm Naan bread with butter alongside the meal. (Naan bread is found on the bread aisle at most grocery stores.) Pick up an easy, readymade dessert and, well, you’re done! Start making your guest list now.

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Chicken Curry in a Hurry

Chicken curry and naan bread in a bowl


11⁄2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, grated
1 onion, finely chopped

1 1⁄2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 (13.66-ounce) can coconut milk
1 (14.5-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth

1 (4-ounce) jar green curry paste
1⁄2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1 cup frozen peas, optional (if not doing toppings)*

1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Cooked Basmati rice
Assorted toppings: coconut, pineapple, raisins,
green onions, cilantro, red peppers, green apple, peanuts, jalapeños
Naan bread, buttered and warmed

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook garlic, ginger, and onion for 3 minutes until onion is translucent.

Add chicken, and cook until it changes from pink to white (about 5 minutes). Add curry powder, and cook 2 minutes. Add coconut milk, chicken broth, and curry paste. Stir, lower heat to medium, and cook, simmering for 15 to 20 minutes, until sauce reduces and thickens.

Add salt and, if desired, peas. Cook another 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro.

Serve over rice with toppings and buttered Naan bread.

*Note: This recipe is great for a weeknight too. Simply omit the topping bar, and add peas 5 minutes before serving.

Learn from Leslie: For a slightly thicker sauce, combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water and add to chicken curry mixture. For more check out @lesliespartydiaries on Instagram.

Curry powder in a bowl

Curry Fun Fact:

Curry powder is made up of a blend of many spices: coriander, cumin, turmeric, black pepper, chili powder, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay, cayenne, paprika, and more. It’s much handier and cheaper to buy it premixed rather than buying all those ingredients individually. But if you have all of these on hand, it could be a fun project to make your own curry powder.

Spice Things Up

Cinnamon sticks tied around fabric napkins

A couple of cinnamon sticks from your spice cabinet turn an ordinary linen napkin into something special. Use a thin rope or jute to tie them to the napkins.

Change things up a bit by setting a cozy table for four or six by the fire in your den. Add a colorful Kantha throw to establish a vibrant tone for this Indian meal.

A tiered pedestal (top right) not only serves as a centerpiece but makes it easy for all guests to reach the toppings. Place a vase on top of the serving piece and fill with flowers for a pop of color.

These pottery noodle bowls (top right) are the perfect size for the toppings, which can be chopped in advance and kept in the refrigerator.

Steal the blooms off a potted mum that you can plant in your yard afterwards.

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