3.6/5 rating (14 votes)

Kukul Mass

Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

  • Heat Hot
  • Serves 4
  • Prep 10 mins
  • Cook 50 mins
Kukul Mass

A traditional Sri Lankan style chicken curry that is dark and delicious and is cooked with coconut

Hari says

We were lucky enough to visit Sri Lanka for our honeymoon (many moons ago)! It is such a green and  luscious country that has sadly had a troublesome history. From the wildlife to the mountains and the tea plantations is it truly a spectacular county.

I fell in love with it - the people are warm and welcoming, the food is superb. Lots of fish, lots of spice and a lotta heat too. I love how the use of spices changes with lots of fennel, ginger and even lemon  grass being used.

This dish is my interpretation of the chicken kuri and I have included a number of different options because as always different people cook this classic chicken curry dish in there own way.

I hope you love the deep dark flavours of the sauce combined with a kiss of fennel and the warmth of coconut.

Image by Josh Griggs

  • Ingredients
  • Method
  • 8-10 chicken pieces (thighs and drumsticks - skin on)

Spice Mix

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp paprika (sweet)


  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 cassia bark
  • 3 dried chillies
  • 10-15 curry leaves
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4cm piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 birds eye chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp kewra water (optional)
  • 3 tomatoes finely chopped (optional)
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1 stem lemongrass, bruised


  • 1 tbsp coconut shavings or desiccated


  1. In a pan toast the cumin, coriander, fennel and black peppercorns. If you don’t like using whole spices you can also add the cardamom, cloves, and cassia at this stage rather then in step 4.
  2. Grind everything in a spice grinder to a powder. Add turmeric and paprika to the ground spices and mix well to combine.
  3. Sprinkle the spice mix over the chicken and set to one side.
  4. Heat the coconut oil in a wide pan and add the cardamom pods, cloves, dried red chillies, cassia bark or just the curry leaves if you added the whole spices in step 1. Fry for a minute then add the diced onion and cook until golden.
  5. Stir in the garlic, ginger and chopped chillies - cook for a few minutes. Let it catch a little on the bottom and then if you are using tomatoes you can add them now. Stir to break them down (I prefer this recipe without tomatoes).
  6. Add the chicken to the pan and coated with the onions then sprinkle in 1 tsp salt and kewra water (if using).
  7. Add the coconut milk, the bruised lemongrass, cover and cook on a low heat for 40–50 minutes.
  8. Toast the coconut shavings until golden and sprinkle over the curry to serve.

Served with


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