Filipino Chicken Curry: What is it and Where Did it Come From?

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Filipino chicken curry is a type of stew that’s usually served with rice or pan-fried potatoes. It’s a dish that is known for its rich curry sauce and the use of fish sauce (patis).

Although it’s similar to other traditional chicken curry recipes, the Filipino version is special because of the fish sauce, the smooth and creamy sauce, and the tasty bone-in chicken parts.

This recipe differs from the norm in both the items it calls for and those it omits. Filipino chicken curry recipes often use ingredients like fish sauce, bell pepper, celery, and coconut milk or evaporated milk.

This recipe doesn’t include tomato, lemon juice, or yogurt, which are all components of traditional chicken curry.

The dish is also usually cooked with carrots, bell peppers, potatoes, and green peas.

Filipino chicken curry is a popular dish that can be found in many Filipino restaurants. It’s also a popular homemade comfort meal because of its robust flavor and simple ingredients.

Chicken Curry Recipe

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When you think curry, you’re probably thinking of an old traditional Indian recipe or Japanese katsu curry.

But the Pinoy chicken curry recipe is something different. This dish has Spanish and Indian influences.

The Spaniards introduced curry to the Philippines when they colonized the country in the 1500s.

The Indians, on the other hand, brought with the spice turmeric. This is what gives curry its distinct yellow color.

The Philippines was also under the rule of the Americans and Japanese, and both of these cultures have had an impact on the chicken curry recipe as well.

The Americans introduced new ingredients, such as potatoes and carrots, while the Japanese added their own twist with the use of curry powder.

But another possibility is that the Sepoys brought the dish over. They were native Indian soldiers that arrived in the Philippines for a military campaign sometime in the late 1700s.

It’s possible that all these different cultures had an influence on Filipino-style chicken curry.

Now, the chicken curry recipe has become a staple in Filipino cuisine and is enjoyed by many people all over the world!

Cooking up a Delicious Filipino Chicken Curry

When making Filipino chicken curry, it’s important to choose the right meat to ensure that the dish is flavorful and tender. Skinless chicken breast and thigh are the best options as they are lean and absorb the flavors of the sauce well.

Preparing the Sauce

The sauce is the heart of any curry dish, and the same goes for Filipino chicken curry. Here are some tips for preparing the perfect sauce:

  • Use coconut milk powder instead of canned coconut milk for a more concentrated flavor.
  • Saute the spices in oil before adding the liquid to bring out their flavors.
  • Add diced carrots and bell peppers to the sauce for a touch of sweetness and crunch.

Cooking the Curry

Once you have prepared the sauce, it’s time to cook the curry. Here are some tips to ensure that your curry turns out delicious:

  • Simmer the chicken in the sauce for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • If the sauce is too thick, add a little bit of water or chicken broth to thin it out.
  • Pair the curry with steamed rice or naan bread for a complete meal.

With these tips, you can cook up a delicious Filipino chicken curry that will have your taste buds dancing with joy.

Storing and Reheating Your Delicious Filipino Chicken Curry

  • Once your chicken curry is ready, allow it to cool down to room temperature before storing it.
  • Store your chicken curry in airtight containers or resealable bags to keep it fresh.
  • Place the containers or bags in the fridge or freezer depending on how long you plan to store it.
  • If you’re storing it in the fridge, it can last up to 3-4 days. If you’re storing it in the freezer, it can last up to 2-3 months.
  • Label the containers or bags with the date you cooked the curry so you can keep track of how long it’s been stored.

Reheating Tips

  • To reheat your chicken curry, take it out of the fridge or freezer and let it thaw to room temperature.
  • If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to thaw it, you can place the container in a bowl of warm water to speed up the process.
  • Once it’s thawed, pour the curry into a saucepan and heat it on medium heat.
  • Add a splash of water or milk to the curry to bring it back to its smooth consistency.
  • Stir the curry occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the pan and to ensure that it’s heated evenly.
  • Once the curry starts to simmer, turn the heat down to low and let it cook for a few more minutes.
  • If you prefer your curry to be less thick, you can add a bit more water or milk to the pan.
  • Once the curry is heated through, it’s ready to be served.

Nutrition and Meal Planning Tips

  • Filipino chicken curry is a great source of protein and vitamin B-6.
  • To make it a complete meal, serve it with steamed rice or egg noodles.
  • You can also add a handful of steamed vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, or potatoes to make it more nutritious.
  • If you’re cooking for a large family or planning to have leftovers, double the recipe to make sure you have enough to go around.
  • Filipino chicken curry is a family favorite and is perfect for busy cooks who want a delicious meal without spending too much time on prep.

Choosing the Right Chicken for Your Flavorful Filipino Chicken Curry

When it comes to making chicken curry, you can use either dark meat or white meat. However, using dark meat, such as chicken thighs or drumsticks, will give your dish a richer and more flavorful taste. This is because dark meat has more fat and connective tissue, which breaks down during cooking and adds more depth to the dish. On the other hand, using white meat, such as chicken breasts, will result in a leaner and milder flavor.

Bone-In vs. Boneless

Another factor to consider when choosing chicken for your curry is whether to use bone-in or boneless chicken. Using bone-in chicken will add more flavor to the dish, as the bones release their flavors during cooking. However, using boneless chicken can make the dish easier to eat and serve.

Skin-On vs. Skinless

Lastly, you can also choose whether to use chicken with the skin on or off. Keeping the skin on will add more flavor and moisture to the dish, but it can also make the curry greasier. Removing the skin will result in a leaner and healthier dish, but it may also make the chicken drier.

To make a delicious and authentic Filipino chicken curry, use the following ingredients:

  • Chicken thighs or drumsticks (bone-in and skin-on)
  • Coconut milk
  • Spices (garlic, chili powder, yellow curry powder)
  • Vegetables (bell pepper, carrots, potatoes, onion)
  • Rice (to serve)

To cook the dish, follow these steps:

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
2. Add garlic and onion and sauté until fragrant.
3. Add chicken and cook until browned on all sides.
4. Add spices and vegetables and stir to combine.
5. Pour in coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
6. Cover the pot and let the curry simmer for about 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked and tender.
7. Serve the curry hot with rice.

By choosing the right chicken and following these steps, you can make a flavorful and authentic Filipino chicken curry that will surely satisfy your taste buds.

Indian vs Thai vs Filipino Curry: What’s the Difference?

Indian curry is one of the most famous dishes in the world. It is a rich and spicy sauce that contains a variety of vegetables, meat, or fish. The sauce is made by chopping and blending a number of spices and herbs, which are then cooked with the main ingredients. Indian curries are generally hot and contain a range of spices, including cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chili powder. The most popular Indian curries include chicken tikka masala, butter chicken, and lamb vindaloo.

Thai Curry

Thai curry is another popular type of curry that is served in many countries around the world. Thai curries are generally smoother and less spicy than Indian curries. They contain a variety of vegetables, meat, or fish, and are made with a special type of curry paste that includes ingredients like lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves. Thai curries are famous for their unique blend of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors. The most popular Thai curries include green curry, red curry, and massaman curry.

Filipino Curry

Filipino chicken curry is a traditional dish that is popular in the Philippines. It is an excellent way to add variety to your meals and is easy to make. Filipino curry contains chicken, vegetables, and a special type of curry sauce that is rich and flavorful. The sauce is made by cooking a number of spices and herbs together with coconut milk. Unlike Indian and Thai curries, Filipino curry is not generally hot and spicy. It is a smooth and creamy sauce that is perfect for those who prefer milder flavors. Filipino curry is commonly served with rice and is a common dish in local markets.

The Difference

The main difference between Indian, Thai, and Filipino curry lies in the way they are made and the ingredients they contain. Indian curries are generally hot and spicy, while Thai curries are smoother and less spicy. Filipino curry is a milder version of curry that contains coconut milk and is not generally spicy. It is important to check the specific type of curry you are buying or making to ensure that it contains the ingredients you prefer. Each country has its own special way of making curry, and it is up to the individual to decide which one they like best.


So there you have it- everything you need to know about Filipino chicken curry. It’s a delicious and flavorful dish that you can make at home. Just remember to use coconut milk, chicken, and spices, and you’ll be on your way to making a delicious meal. So don’t be chicken, give it a try!

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.