Curry Coconut Chicken with Split Peas

I didn’t grow up with spices like turmeric, curry or even cumin, but the more I have tried experimenting with these flavors, and losing my fear over cooking with “exotic” spices, the more interesting dinner has become.

And I have been happily surprised to watch my daughter devour dishes with these spices, especially curries. Nothing too spicy, nothing too crazy. But whenever chicken and curry make it to our dinner table, she gobbles up no less than three bowls in one sitting.

coconut curry chicken in process

This dish isn’t just for my daughter though, it was enjoyed all around and was a reasonably easy weeknight meal.  I have no idea whether using split peas is traditional or not, but it’s what I had in my cabinet and it was delicious. You can skip the step of pulling the chicken off the bone and just serve whole pieces or you can also choose to use boneless skinless thighs or breasts if you prefer.

coconut curry chicken1

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1 whole cut-up chicken on the bone, with or without skin

1 Tbsp curry powder

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic

1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger

salt and pepper

10 0z light coconut milk

1/2 cup water

1 large beefsteak or Jersey tomato or 2 plum tomatoes, chopped

3/4 cup yellow split peas

fresh cilantro

Jasmine rice for serving


Combine curry powder, turmeric, cumin, garlic, ginger and half the coconut milk in a bowl. Add chicken and coat well. Allow to marinate for a few hours or overnight.

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and allow excess to drip off of chicken; reserve liquid. Sear chicken with the skin side down until golden brown.

Flip chicken over so skin side is up. Add the marinade, remaining coconut milk, water, split peas and tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce heat to medium-low (simmer) and cover pot. Allow to cook for 45 minutes.

Remove chicken from pot and cook another 15-20 minutes until split peas are completely cooked. While split peas continue cooking, allow chicken to cool slightly and then remove skin and shred chicken from the bone.

When split peas are finished cooking, place shredded chicken back into pot and stir. Serve over jasmine rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.

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