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Burma Superstar Coconut Chicken Curry

Hello and welcome to Sunday Supper! Alex and I independently loved the restaurant Burma Superstar, in San Francisco. We never went there together while we lived in California, but since moving to Athens, we have talked about how much we wish we had gone there before we left California. Eh, well… Fortunately, they have a cookbook! So today, we are making an adaptation of Burma Superstar Coconut Chicken Curry.

Coconut Chicken Curry

This recipe is pretty simple and the ingredients are easy to come by. What makes this different from a typical curry, is the addition of fish sauce, and the consistency – the curry sauce is thin, more like a broth, than a thick curry sauce. Let’s start with a dry spice rub on the chicken.

Spice Rub

This spice rub contains paprika, turmeric and salt. Let the chicken marinate in the spices while we get the onions going.

Building the Sauce

Onions, Garlic and Ginger sautéing

In a dutch oven, or large pot over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering and add the onions. Reduce the heat to medium and gently cook the onions until they are translucent. Then add the ginger and the garlic and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds, until the garlic and ginger become fragrant.

Cooking marinated chicken in onions

Add the chicken and stir to incorporate into the onions. Then add the coconut milk.

Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a near boil. Stir occasionally and let the coconut milk thicken slightly, about 3-4 minutes.

Coconut Chicken Curry

Reduce the heat back to medium and stir in the fish sauce and the 3/4 cup water. Then increase the heat back to medium-high and bring to a boil. Once you reach a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 45-50 minutes. Stir occasionally.

At the end of 45-50 minutes, the liquid will have reduced a bit, thickening the sauce, but it will still be thin compared to thick curry sauce. At this point, add the curry powder and the cayenne pepper. Stir to incorporate and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

Coconut Chicken Curry
Just before the 20-minute rest.

Let it Rest

Now, turn off the heat and let the Coconut Chicken Curry rest for 20 minutes. I found the mixture to be very oily, so this 20 minute rest will not only let the chicken develop more flavor as it cools, but letting it rest without stirring will let the oil float to the top and allow me to skim some fat at the end of the rest.

Coconut Chicken Curry
After the 20-minute rest and skimming most of the fat off the top.

After the rest, skim most of the fat off the top. Turn the heat back on, to medium-high and bring to a very light simmer before serving, just to warm it through.

Serve over rice, or rice noodles and top with cilantro and lime wedges. I warmed some naan bread go alongside.

And that’s it! But if you wanted to do something a little extra (and this deviates significantly from it being Burma Superstar Coconut Chicken Curry), add a little plain yogurt and chutney.

Coconut Chicken Curry with yogurt and chutney

This recipe does take some time, but’s it mostly passive and the long cook and rest time will yield a wonderful, deeply flavored Coconut Chicken Curry. The original recipe calls for red curry paste, but I used yellow curry powder, which is a little sweeter, and less spicy. So, overall this recipe is a bit different because of the yellow curry. You can use Madras curry powder which is also red, and spicy because it contains red chilis. The fact that we have cayenne in there gives this some spice, but it’s much more mild with the yellow curry.

Thank you all so much for joining me today, I hope you give this take on Burma Superstar Coconut Chicken Curry a try. It’s easy, a little different than what you may be used to with a curry, but so delicious! If you’re in the mood for a different spicy chicken dish, try Hot Honey Chicken – it’s addictive! Remember you can follow me on Pinterest and pin recipes for quick access. Take care and be well, everyone. xo Kelly

Burma Superstar Coconut Chicken Curry

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Dinner, Main Course Burmese
By Adapted from Burma Superstar Serves: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cooking Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes Total Time: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes

Deeply-flavored and only slightly spicy, this Coconut Chicken Curry is adapted from Burma Superstar's recipe. The main difference here is yellow curry.


  • 2 ½ pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 1 tbsp. Ground Paprika
  • ½ tsp. Ground Turmeric
  • 2 tsp. Kosher Salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cup Canola oil
  • 2 Small Yellow Onions, or 1 Large Onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh Ginger
  • 2-4 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 can (13 1/2 oz) Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. Fish Sauce
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1 tsp. Red Curry Paste, or Madras Curry Powder, or Yellow Curry Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • Lemon or Lime Wedges for Garnish



Remove excess fat from the chicken and cut into 1-inch pieces.


Mix the chicken with the paprika, turmeric and salt, in a large bowl and allow to marinate while you prep.


In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmery, add the onions and reduce the heat to medium. Gently sauté the onions until translucent.


Add the ginger and garlic. Continue to stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.


Add the chicken to the onion mixture and stir to combine.


Pour in the coconut milk. Increase the heat to bring to a near boil. Let simmer for a few minutes to thicken the sauce.


Reduce the heat, add the fish sauce and water, and increase the heat again to bring back to a boil.


Lower the heat to simmer for about 45-50 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the curry and cayenne at the end of 45-50 minutes and simmer for 5-10 minutes more.


Turn off the heat and let the curry rest for 20 minutes.


At the end of the rest, if desired, skim the fat/oil off the top.


Turn on the heat to medium-high and bring just to a simmer to warm through before serving.

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  • Sharyn D
    May 15, 2021 at 10:41 am

    Oh my goodness Kelly. This post caught my eye because we ate at a small Burmese restaurant a few times while on business trips to SF. They had a delicious tea leaf salad. I dreamt about the wonderful flavors for months! I think it was the same place. I will have to try this curry recipe.

    • Kelly Djalali
      May 15, 2021 at 11:08 am

      Hi Sharyn, Yes! I bet it was the same restaurant: Burma Superstar, they are famous for that tea leaf salad. Give this a try and do let me know what you think. And stay tuned to the blog because I will have that tea leaf salad recipe coming up this summer! Thanks so much for writing in! Have a wonderful weekend, xo Kelly