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Smoked Red Curry Coconut Chicken Marinated in Greek Yogurt Recipe

by Jeanette on August 19, 2013 · 23 Comments
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This Smokey Red Curry Coconut Chicken will have your guests guessing what the secret ingredient is. It’s moist and spicy, with a touch of smoke.

Smoked Coconut Red Curry Chicken with Greek Yogurt © Jeanette's Healthy Living

You all know how much I adore Thai flavors…lemongrass, chilies, kaffir lime, fish sauce, and the fragrant curry pastes that include these ingredients. Last year, I made a Grilled Coconut Curry Chicken that fast became a family favorite. However, I’m always experimenting in the kitchen, and decided to add two ingredients to this recipe, which would change the flavor profile and reduce the amount of fat, all for the better.

Smoked Red Curry Coconut Chicken with Greek Yogurt © Jeanette's Healthy Living

Substituting non-fat Greek yogurt for half the coconut milk reduced the fat in half, yet retained the moisture I was looking for in this chicken dish. Adding some smoke using cherry chips was the other “secret” ingredient, lending a richness in flavor and beautiful hue to the chicken.

Recently, I’ve been playing around with smoke on my grill. Although I’ve been curious about smoking for a while, I haven’t tried it largely because I didn’t know how to do it and hadn’t taken the time to study it more.

Smoked Red Curry Coconut Chicken with Greek Yogurt © Jeanette's Healthy Living

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of tasting some spectacular smoked foods, as part of some cooking demonstrations (Chefs Alex Talbot and Chris Plum) at the Culinary Institute of America. Smoke can add savory notes without salt, lending it as an ingredient in low-salt cooking. Since returning to the East coast, I’ve been spending some time reading up on smoking foods, including Barton Seaver’s new cookbook, Where There’s Smoke.

Investing in a smoker is not in my budget at the moment, so I’ve been playing around with smoking on my gas grill. Although true smoke afiaciandos frown upon gas grills – they believe charcoal is the way to go – the convenience of a gas grill suits me for now. I’ll be experimenting more with smoke as an ingredient as I’m curious how it affects the perception of rich and savory foods with less salt needed.

I hope you’ll give this Smoked Red Curry Coconut Chicken a try – the complex flavor is well worth the experiment.

Smokey Red Curry Coconut Chicken Marinated in Greek Yogurt

Rating: 51

Serving Size: 6


  • 1/2 cup non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Juice from one lime
  • 3 1/2 - 4 pounds chicken parts, on the bone
  • cherry wood chips


  1. In a large bowl, combine Greek yogurt, coconut milk, curry paste, turmeric, fish sauce, and lime juice. Add chicken and cover all pieces well. Cover and marinade at least a few hours, or overnight. Place cherry wood chips in smoker box and heat until smokey. Place chicken over direct heat, cover and grill for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, move chicken to one side of grill and cook over indirect heat, covered, until cooked through, about 25 minutes.

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  1. I love the flavours of these chicken thighs. Is it possible to replace curry paste with red curry powder?

    • Thanks Angie – I’ve never tried red curry powder. Is it like Thai red curry but in powdered form? If so, I would think you could reconstitute it and use it in place of the red curry paste.

  2. That looks so yummy. I love coconut chicken, and I’m assuming that’s ok Angie, but I’d like to know myself.

  3. Love these flavors as well Jeanette! So cool you are experimenting with smoking on the grill.

  4. Love anything with red curry paste, but I’ve never tried smoking it. I’m intrigued.

  5. J Eric Mutter says:

    A small note of appreciation for such a wonderful resource and delightful reading. I happened across your web page and now I’m very happy that I did. Love your recipes!!!

    Kindest regards and thank you again.


  6. Alyssa and Lydia – I’ve been having some fun playing with smoking this summer. It definitely adds a different flavor element to food, well worth exploring.

  7. This chicken sounds amazing! Gonna pass it along to my sister, who j think will really enjoy it!

    And we are getting a charcoal grill specifically so we can start smoking things. Glad to know the gas grill works too!

  8. Sounds delicious!

  9. Gorgeous! This chicken sounds SO delicious! :)

  10. Would this recipe work if the chicken was baked instead?

    • Angela – you can bake this instead. It won’t have quite the same flavor, but I’m sure it will still taste great. I would bake it at 375-400 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

      • Thanks, Miss Jeanette; for the oven instructions! Living in apt buildings, don’t have access to a closed top grill so can’t do this chicken on an open one w/much success. I’ve not used curry before, although have eaten quite a bit of it. I also LOVE Thai food, having stayed there many times with my Chinese Sister of the Heart = LEK** She lives in Bangkok and whenever I’m there, we go on a food fest! Flower fests, gold fests, all kinds of living right up to the hilt*!* Thanks again**

  11. I am drooling over these flavors here. Yum!

  12. Oooo I love Thai flavors too! I always see Thai red curry paste in the supermarket, but I never know how to use it. I will try your recipe for sure! Little question though, can I just put it in the oven? I don’t have a smoke box…

    • Cindy, you can bake the chicken in the oven – I would roast it at 375-400 for about 35 minutes for chicken parts.

  13. Sounds so wonderful. Since our current situation leaves us with no grill of any kind but I still want the smoke flavor, do you think adding a pinch of smoked sea salt would work or would it make the whole thing to salty? Look forward to trying this out. Mouth watering.

    • Thanks France – smoked sea salt would be nice – I would probably reduce the fish sauce if you use smoked sea salt.

  14. this will be a lovely variation for weeknight chicken dishes. i love the idea of marinating with coconut milk, yogurt and the red curry paste. will definitely try this. thanks.

    • Rose, the yogurt keeps the chicken moist as does the coconut milk. I love red curry paste – it has such complex flavors.

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