This is quite easy to make and has a fresh flavour. Modify the heat level by adjusting the number of chillis and the amount of cayenne pepper.

Make well ahead to allow the flavours to infuse through the chicken. I made a very large batch for a family get together and it came out well.



  • 1 kg skinless chicken thigh fillets cut into 3cm cubes
  • 2 large onions sliced into thin wedges
  • Spice mix:
    • 2 tsp rock salt
    • 1 tsp coriander seeds
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds
    • 10 black pepper corns
    • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1 tsp turmeric powder
    • 10 cloves garlic
    • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger
    • 4 chillis (depending on desired heat) seeded and chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can coconut cream
  • Bunch of basil leaves, torn roughly (about 40)
  • juice of half lime or to taste


Grind the spice mix in a mortar and pestle to a paste. Massage into the chicken. Set aside for at least 1/2 hour.

Sear the onions in oil on a high heat for 3 minutes, allowing them to brown and caramelise but not burn. Remove from the pan.

Cook the chicken in oil for one minute, stirring to toast off the spices.

Return the onions to the pan with the chicken and add the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes until the chicken is just cooked. 

If there is time put the dish in the fridge to allow the flavours to further develop.

When ready to reheat if there is too much liquid, scoop out the meat and thicken the sauce before adding the chicken back to the sauce.

Prior to serving stir in the basil leaves and lime juice and adjust seasoning. Add lime slices and yoghurt to the serving plate.

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