Yellow Curry Chicken with Carrots and Turnips

  • By Jess Dang
  • September 10, 2012

Yellow Curry Chicken with Carrots and Turnips 2 | Cook Smarts by Jess Dang

When a new client reaches out to me for in-home cooking lessons, they’re sent a survey that helps me better understand their cooking challenges. I would say 1 out of 3 responses come back with the plea, “I need more ideas on how to cook chicken!” Since chicken is the most common protein cooked in American homes, it’s no wonder most families are constantly looking for new ideas to put into their rotation.

One chicken dish I recommend everyone put in their rotation is one of my childhood favorites yellow curry chicken. My mom often prepared it with bone-in, skin-on dark meat, like drumsticks and thighs, which imparted an extra richness to the sauce (They was also much cheaper than buying boneless, skinless white meat, which I’m sure was the more important consideration in a frugal immigrant household). It was essentially Asian peasant food, filled with cheap vegetables like potatoes and carrots but it tasted and felt so rich. Instead of eating this dish with rice, we sopped up the flavorful sauce with a crusty French baguette until there wasn’t a single drop left. Today in my pre-diabetic state, I swap the potatoes for turnips (which has a lower GI score) and I sadly do without the French baguette. I just lick my plate clean instead now. I’m sure you and your family will too.

Yellow Curry Chicken with Carrots and Turnips
Prep time
10 mins
Cook time
20 mins
Total time
30 mins
Author: Jess Dang
Recipe type: Chicken Entree
Serves: 4
  • Chicken (any type / cut is fine) – 1.5 lbs. (boneless) or 2 lbs. (with bone)
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • White / yellow onion – 1
  • Carrots – 1 lb.
  • Turnips – 1 lb. Carrots and Turnips | Cook Smarts by Jess Dang
  • Canola / vegetable oil – 2 tbs.
  • Coconut milk – 1 cup
  • Yellow curry paste (find in the Asian / ethnic food aisle) – 2 tbs.
  • Chicken stock / vegetable broth – 1 cup
  • Fish sauce – 2 tbs.
  • Brown sugar – 1 tbs.
  • Lime – 1 Ingredients for Yellow Curry | Cook Smarts by Jess Dang
  • Thai basil (optional) – a few leaves
  • French baguette (optional) – 1
  1. Chicken – If using chicken breasts that are quite thick, slice them in half. Season chicken (whatever type you are using) generously with kosher salt & pepper. Tenderize with a fork
  2. Onion – Dice or chop into squares
  3. Carrots / Turnips – Peel and chop
  1. Heat a >4 quart saute pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the pan is warm, add oil. Once the oil has warmed, add the chicken (skin-side down if using skin-on chicken). Sear for 3 minutes each side. If you have more chicken than can generously fit into the pan, sear in batches until all the chicken has a nice golden sear on it. For those using skin-on chicken, pour out the fat between batches Searing chicken for yellow chicken curry | Cook Smarts by Jess Dang
  2. Once all pieces of chicken have been seared on both sides, set chicken aside on a plate
  3. Pour out any remaining oil / fat from the pan and return it to medium heat. Add coconut milk. Once coconut milk bubbles, whisk in the curry paste. Add onions and saute for 3 minutes, allowing the onions to soften
  4. Add stock / broth, fish sauce, and brown sugar and bring to a boil
  5. Once the sauce is bubbling, add carrots and turnips and toss them to coat in the curry sauce Sauteeing carrots and turnips for yellow chicken curry | Cook Smarts by Jess Dang
  6. Nestle your pieces of chicken into the carrot, turnip, curry mixture Yellow Chicken Curry with Carrots and Turnips 1 | Cook Smarts by Jess Dang
  7. Cover and bring to a boil
  8. Lower heat to a simmer. Keeping cover on, cook for 15 minutes (boneless white meat), 20 minutes (boneless dark meat), 40 minutes (bone-in meat) or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees
  9. Season to taste with more fish sauce (for savoriness), brown sugar (for sweetness), curry paste (for herbiness / spiciness). Add juice of half a lime. Slice the other half in wedges and use for garnish
  10. Serve with Thai basil and a crusty French baguette (optional)
  1. Already own red or green curry paste and don’t want to buy an additional jar to crowd your fridge? It’s absolutely fine to use what you already have. The flavors will still be great
  2. Not a fan of turnips? Substitute with potatoes, rutabagas, or parsnips
  3. Double the sauce and spoon out the extra to make a curried fried rice or repurpose as a sauce for a future dinner

For more curry recipes

For more chicken recipes


Try our award winning meal plan service for free


Our Podcast: Strategies to become a smarter cook

Share the love!

Join our community

Enjoy free tips in your inbox

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How can we help you in the kitchen?

Join our community

Enjoy free tips in your inbox

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Sign up for the Cook Smarts Newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Privacy Policy: We hate SPAM & promise to keep your email address safe.

Skip to content