This is an easy, slow roasted dish that is reminiscent of my favorite Sri Lankan chicken curry.
I’ve been making variations of this dish for years, inspired by a recipe for tender & crisp chicken legs by Jamie Oliver. I love the original recipe and have adapted it heavily — to the point where I don’t know if it’s even fair to say this is an adaptation of a Jamie Oliver creation — Mr. Oliver might take offense that I’ve turned his simple roast chicken into a South Asian style curry! I mean, if the Brits coined the term “curry” and spurred the creation of “chicken tikka masala”, isn’t it only natural for South Asians to reverse engineer roast chicken into chicken curry? (I’m joking. Sorta.)
While not the same as a traditional chicken curry or one that is cooked over the stove, this is my go-to whenever I need a low-effort dish that is still delicious and satisfies my comfort food cravings (which, true to my Bangladeshi roots, typically includes curries, lentils and rice). This requires very little work compared to a traditional stovetop curry and because of the minimal hands-on time it also easily doubles to feed larger crowds. It’s great for a Sunday night dinner when you have errands to run or on evenings when you have company but don’t want to make anything demanding attention.
I use a blend of Sri Lankan unroasted and roasted curry powders for this but the recipe also works fabulously with a Madras blend curry powder or any other curry powders. If you don’t have a curry powder at home, use whatever combination of spices you normally add to your favorite curries or spicy stews (refer to my notes at the end). Substituting other fresh herbs such as cilantro or basil also work well if you can’t find curry leaves. For more flavor you may add ginger and garlic paste, although it isn’t necessary. To create a more substantial one-pot meal, I like to add in canned chickpeas halfway during the cooking process.
We almost always eat this with rice but it also goes well with other grains like quinoa. Often I’ll add different vegetables to the pot — carrots, cabbage, and sturdy cooking greens all work well. Get creative with the combinations, I’m sure you’ll love whatever you come up with.
If you make this dish, do tag me on Instagram (@noorieboorie), I’d love to see what you made and will be happy to re-share it on my social media, if you like. Also feel free to send me any feedback on the recipe.
This is an easy one-pot chicken curry that is entirely slow cooked in the oven. The result is tender roasted chicken with an extremely flavorful gravy of stewed tomatoes, spices and coconut milk.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 8 chicken legs or thighs
- 2 handfuls cherry tomatoes
- 1-2 springs curry leaves (about 8-15 leaves)
- 10-12 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2-3 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1-2 red bird's eye chillies, finely chopped (optional)
- 1/2 - 1 cup coconut milk (use more if adding chickpeas)
- 1 can chickpeas, drained (optional)
- Salt, to taste
- Cilantro (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Throw all the ingredients except coconut milk, chickpeas and cilantro (if using) into in a snug oven-safe pot (a dutch oven works well) and mix everything together gently, rubbing the spices into the chicken a bit and pushing the tomatoes underneath.
- Place in the oven and let cook for 1 hour.
- After an hour, add the coconut milk and chickpeas (if using) to the pot. Give everything a gentle stir and place back in the oven for another thirty minutes to an hour, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender to the point where it's nearly falling off the bone.
- Remove from oven. Adjust salt and sprinkle with cilantro, if using.
- Serve hot with rice.
- If you don't have a curry powder at home, you can substitute 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp chili powder and 1 tsp garam masala powder instead. You can also substitute cilantro for the curry leaves. The final taste is quite different, but also delicious.
- To prevent the chicken from sticking to the cooking vessel, it helps if you first rub or spray a bit of cooking oil all over the bottom and sides of your pot before tossing all the ingredients in.
- If you have a little bit of extra time, it does help maximize flavor if you sautee the onions and sear the chicken with the spices first. You can do all of this in the same pot, just add in the tomatoes later before sticking the pot in the oven. This step helps develop more flavor but isn't necessary though, the curry is delicious regardless.
- Note that some store-bought curry powders contain salt, so be careful not to add too much salt at the beginning. It’s best to taste and adjust after the halfway mark once the coconut milk has been added.
- Use bone-in chicken with the skin on for best results.
- I often add a small splash of vinegar, lime juice or a small amount of tamarind paste at the end if the dish needs more acidity to balance flavors.