Indonesian Chicken Curry

In this dish, based on one in SAVEUR editor-in-chief James Oseland’s Cradle of Flavor (W. W. Norton, 2006), cinnamon and lemongrass give the silky sauce fragrance and spice.

Indonesian Chicken Curry Indonesian Chicken Curry
In this dish, cinnamon and lemongrass give the silky sauce fragrance and spice.
Yield: serves 4-6


  • 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 12 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 (4″ piece) ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 5 fresh or frozen Kaffir lime leaves
  • 4-6 (4″ sticks) cinnamon
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, tied into a knot (see Tying Lemongrass)
  • 3 lb. chicken thighs and legs
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 34 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cups cooked jasmine rice, for serving


  1. Finely grind coriander and chile flakes in a spice grinder. Put spice mixture into a small food processor with garlic, onions, and ginger; purée to a paste. Add 1–2 tbsp. water, if necessary.
  2. Heat oil in a 5-qt. Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add paste; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 5–7 minutes. Add lime leaves, cinnamon, and lemongrass. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cinnamon is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium, add chicken, and cook, turning once, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup coconut milk, 1 1⁄4 cups water, and salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender, 40–50 minutes. Add remaining coconut milk; cook for 2 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving with the rice.