turmeric chicken

$10.14 recipe / $1.69 serving

I fell in love with Indian food last year and have craved it ever since. I’ve experimented here and there but it’s still completely uncharted territory to me. I recently discovered the show Spice Goddess on the Cooking Channel and I watch it whenever I get a few spare minutes.

Last week I saw her make this Chicken South Indian Style and was totally inspired. Sure, I didn’t have *any* of the spices called for in the recipe, nor did I have time to go hunt them down, but cooking is all about improvising. My yellow jasmine rice is one of my all-time favorite recipes that I’ve ever made for the blog, so I decided to use a similar mix of spices for this recipe.

And of course, there is the jasmine rice. So simple, so aromatic, SO important. This dish just wouldn’t be the same without the jasmine rice. It’s worth hunting down if your local market doesn’t have it. Ethnic markets or major supermarkets with well stocked ethnic aisles should carry jasmine rice in large, 5 lb. bags, which will be a fraction of the cost of the small “gourmet” rice brands. Check the bottom shelf, it’s usually hiding there.

Turmeric Chicken

Turmeric Chicken

4.8 from 12 reviews
turmeric chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $10.14
Cost Per Serving: $1.69
Serves: 6
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.22
  • ½ large red onion $0.65
  • 2 inches fresh ginger $0.30
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic $0.24
  • ½ Tbsp turmeric $0.07
  • ½ tsp cumin $0.03
  • ½ tsp cinnamon $0.03
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1 whole bay leaf $0.15
  • 2 lb. chicken (breast or thigh) $3.98
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes $1.17
  • 1 (13. oz.) can coconut milk $2.15
  • to taste salt & pepper $0.05
  • ¼ bunch cilantro (optional) $0.20
  • 2 cups uncooked jasmine rice $0.88
  1. Combine the jasmine rice with 3 cups of cold water in a medium pot. Place a lid on top and bring up to a boil over high heat. As soon as it reaches a rolling boil, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the heat off and let it sit undisturbed until you are ready to serve it.
  2. Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and grate the ginger using a small cheese grater. Saute all three in a large pot over medium heat with 2 Tbsp. of olive oil.
  3. When the onions have softened, add the turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and red pepper. Saute for 2 minutes. Dice the chicken and add to the pot. Saute until cooked through (7-10 minutes).
  4. Add the can of tomatoes and the bay leaf. Place a lid on top and let simmer for 30 minutes. Turn the heat off and stir in the coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Fluff the rice with a fork. Serve the stewed chicken mixture over a heaping portion of rice. Sprinkle fresh cilantro on top if desired.


turmeric chicken

Step By Step Photos

cook riceStar the rice first and it will be done by the time the chicken is cooked. Combine 2 cups of rice with 3 cups of water. Place a lid on top and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. As soon as it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to the lowest setting and let simmer for 30 minutes. Turn the heat off after 30 minutes and let it sit undisturbed until you’re ready to serve.

onion garlic gingerDice the onion, mince the garlic (if using fresh), and grate the ginger with a cheese grater. You can peel the ginger with either a spoon or a vegetable peeler.

saute aromaticsSaute the onion, garlic, and ginger in a large pot over medium heat with olive oil.

spicesThis is the mix of spices that I used: bay leaf, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Super aromatic and delicious.

cook spicesAdd all of the spices except the bay leaf and saute for about 2 minutes.

add raw chickenCut the chicken into bite sized cubes and add it to the pot. You can use either chicken breast or chicken thighs.

cook chickenSaute until the chicken is cooked through (about 7-10 minutes).

coconut milk tomatoNow it’s time to add some liquid and let it simmer. I always forget the coconut milk curdles like cow’s milk so I made the mistake of adding them both at once.

simmer chickenI would suggest only adding the tomatoes at this point and waiting to add the coconut milk at the end. I added both – oops. So, add the tomatoes and bay leaf, place a lid on top, turn the heat down to medium-low and let simmer for about 30 minutes.

add coconut milkAfter it’s simmered a while, turn the heat off and then stir in the coconut milk. Because mine had been simmering in an acidic solution, it had curdled. It doesn’t taste bad, it just has an undesirable appearance. Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste.

fluff riceFluff the rice just before serving.

turmeric chickenSpoon the chicken along with a good amount of sauce over the rice. Top with fresh cilantro if desired.

Guaranteed to make your house smell good or your money back!

…wait, no, never mind.


  1. Katie says:


    Delicious! However, mine came out fairly runny. Any tips to thicken it? Should it be runny?

    • Yep, it has quite a bit of sauce, which isn’t that thick. But the rice helps soak up all that delicious flavor. :) To make it thicker, you can add just the tomatoes and let that simmer until most of the moisture evaporates away, then add the coconut milk. Using full fat coconut milk will also make it thicker.

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