Creamy Coconut Burmese Chicken Curry Recipe

Burmese Chicken Curry is our favourite creamy coconut stew from Myanmar to cook at home.

Traditional Burmese curry recipes feature flavourful ingredients like chicken thighs, garlic, ginger, red chili, turmeric, fish sauce, coconut cream, scallions, peanut oil and crispy fried shallots.

Burmese Chicken is a traditional main course entree served from Yangon to Mandalay with steamed rice or noodles.

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Save our Creamy Coconut Burmese Chicken Curry recipe to Pinterest!
Save our Creamy Coconut Burmese Chicken Curry recipe to Pinterest!

Travel to Myanmar by Cooking Burmese Chicken at Home

I love traveling through Asia.

My first visit had me living in South Korea for a year as a teacher and it’s where I was first introduced to fermented vegetables like kimchi.

After my contract ended in Seoul I travelled throughout southeast Asia for 6 months, visiting PhilippinesIndonesiaMalaysiaSingaporeCambodia, MyanmarThailandVietnam and Laos.

I spent a month traveling to the ancient temples of Bagan, floating communities of Inle Lake, and exploring the capital Yangon while visiting luxury hotels like The Savoy and Sule Shangri-La.

What I found most fascinating is Myanmar’s distinct regional food cultures. Much like the regional cuisines found in GermanyItaly or Spain, each town in Myanmar had its own local speciality.

Burmese curry refers to a diverse array of dishes in Burmese cuisine that consist of protein or vegetables simmered or stewed in an curry base of aromatics. 

Burmese curries generally differ from other Southeast Asian curries in that Burmese curries make use of dried spices in addition to fresh herbs and aromatics, and are often milder and not as spicy.

Burmese curries are readily available in curry houses throughout the country. They are traditionally accompanied with rice and a variety of side dishes, soup, and Burmese salads called athoke. 

Burmese curries may also be paired with flatbreads like naan, a tradition clearly influenced by its neighbours Bangladesh and India.

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Traditional Burmese Chicken Curry recipe ingredients.
Traditional Burmese Chicken Curry recipe ingredients.

Where To Eat Burmese Chicken Curry

If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Southeast Asian restaurant that serves traditional Burmese Chicken.

Haven’t traveled to Myanmar before? It may be helpful to first sample Burmese Chicken Curry at a local restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can assess the spicy heat level of the curry sauce, what type of meat cut to use and what complimentary dishes to serve at the table.

In Toronto and Ottawa, popular restaurants that may serve their own unique Burmese Chicken Curry recipe include Popa and Rangoon Restaurant.

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Prepare homemade Burmese curry paste in a mortar and pestle.
Prepare homemade Burmese curry paste in a mortar and pestle.

Health Benefits

Our Burmese Chicken Curry recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!

Chicken is high in protein and provides B vitamins such as niacin, which helps your body access the energy in foods.   

It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.

Ginger contains at least 14 phytochemicals, many of which have impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a good source of copper, which supports your bones, blood and nervous system. 

Chili has been proven to help reduce the duration of sickness, prevent heart disease, and promote weight loss. 

Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Coconut is rich in fibre and may also offer a number of benefits including improved heart healthy and digestion. It is high in calories and sautéed fat so be sure to eat in moderation. 

A rich source of phytochemicals and vitamin C, limes help boost your immune system and neutralize free radicals that cause disease and skin aging. Lemons also protect against heart disease and help improve blood flow to the brain.

A good source of bone-strengthening vitamin K, coriander is also rich in antioxidants that help protect the eyes from damage by free radicals. 

The star component of turmeric is curcumin, a potent phytochemical that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is often prescribed in Indian Ayurvedic medicine to help relieve arthritis, aid digestion and inhibit the growth of cancers. 

Cook our easy Burmese Chicken recipe in a large pot on the stove.
Cook our easy Burmese Chicken recipe in a large pot on the stove.

Types of Curry

In Southeast Asia, curry refers both to dishes that are made with various types of curry paste and to the pastes themselves. A wet curry is made from curry paste, coconut milk, meat, seafood, vegetables and herbs. 

You’ll find unique regional takes on the curry concept in countries such as Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Thailand is perhaps most famous for its curry repertoire featuring a multi-coloured buffet including Green Curry, Red Curry, Yellow Curry, Penang Curry and Massaman Curry.

In Malaysia Hokkien Mee and Roti Canai are popular curry options while neighbouring Singapore serves Bak Chor Mee and Seafood Laksa.

Vietnam also has a penchant for curry, which is best expressed by comfort food bowls of steaming Ca Ri Ga.

A curry base of fresh onions, shallots, garlic, chilis, ginger, and turmeric is typically used to prepare authentic Burmese curries. Dried spices such as paprika, chili powder, and spice mixes like garam masala can also be found in the ingredient list for many Burmese curries.

Myanmar’s geographic location, between India and Thailand, has influenced traditional Burmese recipes for hundreds of years. Celebrated cooks in Yangon take the finest flavours from aromatic India to fragrant Thailand and make a unique culinary impression on our taste buds.

The most common variety is called sibyan (meaning “oil returns”), which is typified by a layer of oil that separates from the gravy and meat after being cooked. The name itself refers to the cooking technique that is used.

In sibyan, the curry ingredients are simmered in a combination of water and oil until the water has completely boiled off, leaving a layer of oil that separates and rises to the top, which enables the raw and potent curry paste ingredients to properly blend and become milder in taste.

Important to note that the Burmese language does not actually have a unique word to represent “curry;” the closest approximation is the word hin, which is used to describe protein-based dishes eaten with rice. Burmese curries can be generally categorized by cooking technique, used ingredients, or region.

Cook Burmese chicken thighs in coconut curry sauce until tender.
CookBurmese chicken thighs in coconut curry sauce until tender.

Burmese Chicken Curry Cooking Tips

This yummy homemade Burmese Chicken Curry recipe is quick and easy to make at home.

  • We suggest preparing Burmese Chicken in a large pot or Dutch Oven that has a firm fitting lid.
  • Burmese curry paste ingredients are traditionally pounded in a mortar and pestle. You can use a food processor in a pinch.
  • We suggest using skinless, boneless chicken thighs for this recipe as the brown meat is most flavourful and becomes juicy and tender when cooked. We do not suggest using breast meat as it has a lower fat content and dries out easily.
  • We’ve used Thai long red chilies in this recipe but you can substitue for Indian green serrano chilies.
  • Authentic Burmese Chicken recipes are sweetened with palm sugar, which is available for purchase at Asian supermarkets. You can substitute for brown sugar.
  • Burmese Chicken Curry is typically flavoured with peanut oil or blended with sesame oil, which gives the sauce an additional level of flavour. You can substitute for canola oil if you prefer.
  • We’ve garnished our Burmese Chicken Curry bowl with crispy fried shallots, which you can buy at an Asian market or easily make at home.
Serve Burmese Chicken Curry garnished with sliced scallions and crispy fried shallots.
Serve Burmese Chicken Curry garnished with sliced scallions and crispy fried shallots.

What To Serve with Burmese Chicken Curry

Burmese Chicken Curry is typically enjoyed as a main course entree, served alongside a bowl of steamed rice, noodles, flatbread or salad.

If you’re planning the menu for an authentic Burmese feast you may also like to serve Shan Noodles, Ginger Salad, Fermented Tea Leaf Salad, Tomato Salad, Chickpea Tofu and Mohinga.

If you’re hosting a large Southeast Asian-inspired dinner party, we suggest serving some of these yummy homemade recipes:

Creamy Burmese Chicken keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days so store it in an airtight container.

Serve Burmese Chicken with steamed rice or noodles.
Serve Burmese Chicken with steamed rice or noodles.

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Now you're an expert on how to make the best Burmese Chicken Curry recipe!
Now you’re an expert on how to make the best Burmese Chicken Curry recipe!

How To Make Creamy Burmese Chicken Curry

Print Recipe
4.25 from 4 votes

Creamy Coconut Burmese Chicken Curry

How to make traditional homemade Burmese Chicken Curry. Our easy creamy Burmese Chicken features tender thigh meat and coconut curry sauce.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Burmese
Keyword: Burmese Chicken, Burmese Chicken Curry
Servings: 6
Calories: 347kcal

Equipment

  • mixing bowl
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • Mortar and Pestle or Food Processor
  • Large pot
  • French knife

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb Skinless Boneless Chicken Thighs
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Ginger minced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 Red Chiles seeded and minced
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh Turmeric finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 cup Coconut Cream
  • 2 tbsp Scallions finely chopped
  • Fried Shallots garnish

Instructions

  • Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl.
  • Pound together the garlic, ginger, salt, chiles, coriander, turmeric and brown sugar in a mortar and pestle or food processor.
  • Stir the fish sauce into the paste and add to the chicken. Turn and mix the chicken and paste until the pieces are well coated.
  • Place in a heavy pot with a tight fitting lid and stir and mix well. Add water and coconut cream then place over medium-low heat, with lid on, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until all the chicken is cooked through.
  • Serve hot topped with chopped scallions and fried shallots.

Nutrition

Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.5g | Protein: 34.4g | Fat: 20.3g | Saturated Fat: 11.2g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Sodium: 725mg | Potassium: 468mg | Fiber: 1.3g | Sugar: 3.8g | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 2mg

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4 Comments

  1. I am hoping to make this but don’t understand the recipe. Do you not brown the chicken? What is the oil for, you don’t explain in the recipe. Thank you!

    1. You do not brown the chicken as the recipe states you cook the seasoned marinated chicken in coconut cream and water so it simmers in a covered pot. There is no oil in the recipe ingredients list. Enjoy!