Sri Lankan curry-poached chicken with cucumber herb salad

Sri Lankan curry-poached chicken with cucumber herb salad
Sri Lankan curry-poached chicken with cucumber herb salad Photo: Katrina Meynink

This poaching liquid is used for the chicken as well as the rice and lentils – it imparts amazing flavour so why stop there – strain it off and reduce it down to spoon over the chicken, or dip some piping hot naan into it.


Poached chicken

1 tbsp rice bran oil (or other flavourless oil) 

1 red onion, chopped

¼ tsp fenugreek seeds

1 tbsp coriander seeds

1 star anise

1 tsp brown mustard seeds

½ tbsp ground turmeric

1½ tbsp Sri Lankan curry powder (or a medium strength curry powder)

10 fresh curry leaves

400ml coconut milk 

100ml chicken stock

500g-600g chicken thighs

Rice and lentils

1 cup basmati rice, rinsed

1 cup red lentils, rinsed

additional chicken stock, if required

Cucumber herb salad

1 continental cucumber, cut into ribbons (using a mandolin)

½ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped

¼ cup mint leaves, roughly chopped

10-12 fresh curry leaves, coarsely torn

½ cup salted coconut chips

To serve (optional)


coconut yoghurt

chilli relish

black sesame seeds


1. To make the poached chicken, add the oil to a heavy based saucepan and place over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the spices, curry powder and leaves and stir constantly to prevent catching. Cook until there is a heady aroma then add the coconut milk and stock. Bring to the boil then add the chicken and immediately remove the pan from the heat. Cover with the lid and let stand for 30 to 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Depending on the size of the chicken thighs, start to check if the meat is cooked from about the 20 minute mark – it should be just firm to the touch; if unsure, slice it to see inside. Remove the chicken from the saucepan, reserving the poaching liquid, and set aside

2. To make the rice and lentils, return the poaching liquid to the saucepan and add the rice and lentils. Place over medium-low heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the lentils are cooked through and the rice is soft. Check it regularly and add more chicken stock if required.

3. While the rice and lentils are cooking, tmake the cucumber heb salad. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss together. 

4. To serve, scoop the rice and lentils into a large serving bowl, top with the chicken and cucumber salad, naan then dollop over some yoghurt, chilli relish and a sprinkling of black sesame seeds, if using.

Find more of Katrina Meynink's recipes in the Good Food Favourite Recipes cookbook.

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