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 roasted chicken into a South Asian-ized curry, ha! I mean, if the Brits coined the term “curry” and came up with “chicken tikka masala”, isn’t it only normal to reverse engineer roast chicken into chicken curry? (I kid, I kid.)
This easy, slow roasted dish is very reminiscent of my favorite Sri Lankan chicken curry. It’s not the same as a traditional curry cooked on the stovetop, but this is my go-to whenever I need a low-effort dish that is still very satisfying. This requires so little work compared to a traditional curry and because of the minimal hands-on time it’s also easy to double or triple the recipe to feed larger crowds. Great for a Sunday night dinner or when you have company but don’t want to make anything fussy.
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. Substituting other fresh herbs such as cilantro or basil also work well if you can’t find curry leaves. For 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 once, on a whim, I added quinoa and a bit more cooking liquid to make it into a soupy dish. Other times I’ve added 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 am happy to re-share. Also feel free to send me any feedback on the recipe!
Oven Roasted Chicken Curry
- 8 chicken, legs or thighs
- 2 handfuls cherry tomatoes
- 1 handful curry leaves
- 10-12 garlic cloves
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1-2 fresh red chillies
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil
- Salt, to taste
- 3/4 cup thick unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 can chickpeas (optional), drained
- 1 handful cilantro (optional), chopped
- 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, until the chicken is cooked through and nearly falling off the bone.
- Remove from oven. Adjust salt and sprinkle with cilantro, if using.
- Serve hot with rice.
To prevent the chicken from sticking, 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. 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.