Sri Lankan Chicken Curry Recipe | Indian Recipes | PBS Food

Lidia Bastianich samples Indian food and learns about Hindu wedding traditions when she attends a Punjabi and Sri Lankan wedding in Lidia Celebrates America: Weddings: Something Borrowed, Something New.


Prep time: 45 Minutes

Cook time: 30 Minutes

Total time: 1 Hour, 15 Minutes



  • 3 pounds chicken pieces
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 cloves garlic & 1 inch ginger root, crushed together
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Sri Lankan curry powder
  • ½ tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • 8 curry leaves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ can tomato paste or tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk or fresh milk
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 piece of lemon grass (optional)


  1. Wash chicken pieces and drain thoroughly.
  2. Combine lemon juice, turmeric powder, crushed garlic and ginger, salt, black pepper, curry powder, and cayenne pepper.
  3. Coat the chicken pieces well with the spices and set aside for about 30 minutes.
  4. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry curry leaves for a minute or so.
  5. Add onions and fry until soft.
  6. Add the chicken pieces and stir until chicken colors.
  7. Add cinnamon, lemon grass, cardamom, and cloves and stir until well mixed.
  8. Add tomato paste (or tomato sauce) and stir until all pieces are well coated.
  9. Add chicken stock or water & stir. Cover with a lid and allow the chicken to cook on slow heat for 20 to 30 minutes.
  10. Add the thick coconut milk and bring to a simmer, leaving uncovered. If the curry is too dry, add a little more stock. Salt to taste.
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