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Burmese Chicken Coconut Curry with Cauliflower

Burmese Chicken Coconut Curry with Cauliflower

Very closely adapted from Desmond Tan, but it was my decision to add the cauliflower. Tan calls for all dark meat, but I always use half white meat because my husband prefers it. Note that this recipe does require a marinade.

Course Entree, Main Course
Cuisine Burmese, Curry, Myanmar


  • 2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken pieces (use at least 50% dark meat)
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1/2 t ground turmeric
  • 2 t salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups finely diced yellow onion
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 1 can (14 oz) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 T fish sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 small head cauliflower, broken into bite-sized florets
  • 1 t curry powder, Madras preferred
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • lime wedges


  1. Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces. Toss with the paprika, turmeric and salt. Set aside while you prep the other ingredients or cover and refrigerate overnight.

  2. Heat a large (at least 6 quarts), heavy Dutch oven or pot over medium high heat with the oil. When it shimmers, add the onions with a pinch of salt.

  3. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook the onions, stirring often to prevent sticking or scorching, for 10 minutes.

  4. Add the garlic and continue to cook, until the water from the onions has cooked off and the oil is beginning to separate, about 5 minutes more.

  5. Add the chicken and stir to roast the spices in the oil.

  6. Add the coconut milk and increase the heat to medium high. Bring to a boil and let it simmer vigorously for about 4 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

  7. Add the fish sauce, water and cauliflower. Bring back to a boil and then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.

  8. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 50-55 minutes. 

  9. Stir in the cayenne pepper and curry powder. Simmer a few minutes longer and then remove from the heat.

  10. Let curry sit for 20 minutes before serving if time permits.

  11. Serve with cilantro and lime wedges. We served over rice.