Mango Chicken Curry exploding with intoxicating Thai flavors on your table in 30 minutes!
This Mango Chicken recipe is sensationally delicious, ridiculously quick and easy and destined to become a family favorite! Juicy chopped chicken is sautéed with aromatic red curry paste then enveloped in an EASY, coconut-mango blender sauce spiked with ginger, garlic, basil and lime juice for a lusciously creamy, fragrant symphony of YUM. I’ve made this mango chicken recipe with bell peppers and zucchini but you can use whatever veggies you love or have on hand. Serve this mango chicken over rice, cauliflower rice, zoodles, etc. loaded with sweet and juicy mangos and prepare yourself for the barrage of compliments. If you’re feeling extra fancy, serve with chicken satay and Tom Kha Gai for a complete Thai feast! This mango chicken curry also reheats beautifully so it’s fantastic for make ahead meals and meal prep.
If you love this mango chicken recipe, you’ll also love these easy Thai recipes: Pad Thai, Red Curry Chicken, Coconut Chicken Curry, Panang Curry, Yellow Curry, Green Curry, Thai Basil Chicken and Thai Peanut Butter Chicken.
MANGO CHICKEN CURRY
Sweet and juicy mangos + perfectly balanced, complex Thai cuisine = Mango Chicken Curry!
Mangos, oh how I love thee. Mangos are sweet and juicy, mother nature’s candy that I’ve used in sauces, stir fries, soups, salads, salad dressings, dips, chimichurri, smoothies, acai bowls, and even desserts. I’m obsessed.
And then there’s curry. Thai curry recipes make a weekly appearance at our dinner table because it is my favorite cuisine in the world. The layers of flavors create an adept balance of savory, salty, sweet and sour in every bite. I’m a fan. HUGE fan. In fact, we have celebrated every major event at a Thai restaurant from my college graduation, to our wedding engagement to lung transplant anniversaries.
So, today, I’m excited to introduce you to the union of my two favorite foods with this this mango chicken recipe! It’s an exotic, intoxicating complex flavor bomb that’s huge on flavor, low on effort and destined to become an easy weeknight family favorite. It’s made with pantry staples (if you do much Asian cooking), so all you have to do is pick up are a few ripe mangos OR you can use jarred or frozen mangos so you can make this mango chicken any time.
MORE REASONS TO LOVE MANGO CHICKEN CURRY:
- Flavor! This mango chicken recipe is like tasting the rainbow. it tastes like red curry chicken with an underlying mango flavor – just when you thought red curry chicken’t couldn’t get any better. It’s lusciously creamy due to the coconut milk and mangos, boldly flavored due to the red curry paste, lightly sweetened by the juicy mangos and adeptly balanced between tangy lime juice, salty fish sauce, punchy ginger, aromatic garlic, and peppery basil.
- Restaurant delicious. In addition to the sensational mango sauce, the chicken is browned with the blooming red curry and then simmered in the mango sauce so it soaks up the symphony of flavor. The resulting mango chicken curry tastes like it’s been simmering for hours but only takes minutes!
- Flexible: this mango chicken recipe is easily adaptable to whatever veggies or protein you have on hand. I used chopped chicken breasts but you can sub chicken thighs, pork or shrimp. You can also add any veggies your belly desires to make it the best irresistible, healthy, clean-out the fridge dinner.
- Pantry friendly: you won’t need to hunt down exotic ingredients like Thai basil or Birdseye chilies for this recipe! All of the ingredients are easy to find at your local grocery store and you probably have most of them on hand already.
- QUICK and easy: chop the chicken, chop the veggies, blend the sauce in the blender, then stir fry! The whole meal can be on your table in less than 30 minutes; the perfect addition to your weeknight dinner arsenal.
- Custom spice level: keep this mango chicken curry 100% family friendly by omitting the Asian chili paste and just spicing up your own plate or you can load on the chili sauce.
- Great leftovers: the mango chicken reheats beautifully and taste even better the next day for fantastic leftovers!
- Budget friendly: feed the entire family for the fraction of dining out with the bonus of customizing the heat and veggies just how you like.
Now, I’m going to break down this mango chicken recipe and try and answer all your questions as well as offer some tips and tricks. You can use my “jump to recipe” button at the top of the page to skip straight to the recipe.
MANGO QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
The star of this mango chicken recipe are the mangos! Unfortunately, many people are intimidated by both choosing and cutting mangos. In fact, nearly half of Americans not only don’t know how to cut a mango but are more confident in hosting a dinner party than cutting a mango! In light of this fear, I’ve written an entire post on How to Cut A Mango with detailed photos which you can reference to become a mango cutting pro. In short, however, here is what you need to know to make this mango chicken with confidence:
HOW TO TELL IF A MANGO IS RIPE:
Make sure you use ripe mangos for their juicy, sweet freshness. To check for ripeness, focus on FEEL not color because every variety is a different color when ripe. For example, red doesn’t necessarily mean ripe. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness. A ripe mango will give slightly like a ripe avocado.
HOW TO RIPEN MANGOS
- Keep unripe mangos at room temperature. Mangos shouldn’t be refrigerated before they are ripe.
- Mangos will continue to ripen at room temperature, becoming sweeter and softer over several days.
- To speed up ripening, place mangos in a paper bag at room temperature, and store for approximately 2 days or until the mangos are ripe.
- Once ripe, mangos can be moved to the refrigerator to slow down ripening for several days.
HOW TO CUT MANGOS:
- Start by locating the stem. Make sure the step is on top. The long, flat seed runs from stem to nose. We want to cut around this pit.
- Once you locate the stem, make a vertical cut 1/4″ away from this midline then make the same cut on the other side.
- With the mango stabilized on a flat surface, make vertical slices without cutting through the skin. Slice the flesh the other direction without cutting through the skin to create a grid pattern.
- Note: you don’t need to cube the mangos for the mango used in the blender sauce, just the garnish.
- Use a large spoon to detach the flesh from the skin and scoop out the cubes.
MANGO CHICKEN RECIPE INGREDIENTS
The ingredients for this mango chicken recipe might look a little lengthy, but most of the ingredients are just thrown into your blender to create the sauce. Here’s what you need:
- Mangos: you can use fresh, ripe mangos or substitute with thawed, frozen mangos. I would encourage fresh mangos, however, because they’re texture is better for the garnishing mangos.
- Chicken: you can use chicken breasts or chicken thighs for this recipe. I tend to use chicken breasts because they are leaner and emerge wonderfully juicy in the mango-coconut bath, but chicken thighs would also be scrumptious – totally your call. Whichever you choose, make sure not to chop the chicken too small so it’s juicier and harder to overcook.
- Red curry paste: infuses the mango chicken with a wonderfully complex spectrum of savory, spicy, deep earthy flavor from its broad range of ingredients such as red chiles, crushed garlic, ground coriander, peppercorns, lemongrass, shallots, ginger, lime leaves, cilantro – all combined for you. Note that some curry brands are spicier than others (Thai Kitchen is mild, Mae Ploy is spicy).
- Coconut milk: if you want to instantly elevate your Thai food, use Chaokoh coconut milk – my absolute favorite brand (Not a paid endorsement)! I love it so much that when my grocery store stopped carrying it, I started purchasing it on Amazon. Chaokoh is creamier than any other brand I’ve tried by FAR and therefore results in the most lusciously creamy, comforting sauces ever.
- Asian chili sauce: adds a little heat and rounds out the flavors. I use sambal oelek but you can use your favorite. You can customize the spice level by adding additional chili sauce to taste. If you aren’t sure how much to add, you can start with less then stir in more at the end if needed or add it to your individual servings. If you think your mango chicken curry is something is missing – it is probably a kick of chili sauce.
- Fish sauce: I promise fish sauce will not be detectable or make your mango chicken taste fishy! Fish sauce is a primary ingredient in Southeast Asian cooking and adds a fabulous umami flavor. My husband thinks he hates fish sauce but LOVES all of my Thai recipes ;).
- Soy sauce: use low sodium soy sauce so you can control the saltiness of the mango chicken.
- Lime juice: adds freshness and awakens the rest of the flavors. You may use fresh or bottled lime juice. I will freeze lime juice in cubes so I always have some on hand.
- Brown sugar: adds a hint of sweetness to balance the soy sauce and fish sauce. You may need more or less depending on how sweet your mangos are.
- Aromatics: ginger adds a warm, spicy, sharp peppery taste and garlic adds a pungent, herby, warm aromatic flair. Add more or less to taste.
- Basil: adds a layer of savory, peppery and slightly minty flavor. I used dried basil for convenience but you are welcome to use fresh, chopped basil (about ¼ cup).
- Bell peppers: one red or orange and one green for both sweet and earthy.
- Zucchini: adds a fresh, satisfying crunch. Zucchini cooks very quickly so chop it on the thicker side so it doesn’t become soggy.
- Soy sauce: you may substitute fish sauce with soy sauce if you don’t keep it stocked – but you will want to pick some up if you plan on doing more Thai cooking in the future.
- Powdered ginger and garlic: if you don’t have fresh ginger and garlic on hand and need to make this mango chicken NOW (I get you), you may substitute with powders. The typical rule of thumb is 3:1, so one part dried to three parts fresh.
DO YOU HAVE TO USE FULL-FAT COCONUT MILK?
I don’t insist on full fat coconut milk but I HIGHLY suggest it if you would like restaurant-style creamy, flavorful mango chicken curry. Light coconut milk simply isn’t as thick or flavorful so you’re missing out on both flavor and texture. If you do use light coconut milk, I suggest adding 1 tablespoon cornstarch to help thicken it up.
WHERE CAN I FIND RED CURRY PASTE?
Red Paste is much easier to find than yellow curry paste. It should be easy to find in the Asian section of your grocery store. I find Thai Kitchens red curry paste to be the most common and is what I used in this mango chicken recipe. While, I wouldn’t say it’s the best curry paste, it gets the job done, especially because we are going to elevate it with additional aromatics.
CAN I MAKE MANGO CHICKEN CURRY VEGETARIAN?
Absolutely! You can replace the chicken with extra-firm tofu or replace the chicken with extra vegetables or chickpeas. To use tofu, place it in a pie plate, top with a heavy plate and weigh down with 2 heavy cans (to release water). Set aside for 10 minutes while you finish prepping the veggies, then proceed with stir frying it with the red curry paste.
IS THIS MANGO CHICKEN RECIPE GLUTEN FREE?
To make this gluten free mango chicken, replace the soy sauce with tamari. The remaining ingredients should be gluten free but double check the label of your fish sauce and red curry paste.
Mango Chicken Recipe Variations
- Add shrimp. This mango chicken can also be turned into mango shrimp! Instead of adding the shrimp with the curry paste, season the shrimp with the salt and pepper, then cook it separately with some oil just until opaque and cooked through. Remove the shrimp to a plate and add to the sauce at the end of cooking. Sauté the red curry paste without the shrimp in some oil to bloom the spices then proceed with the recipe.
- Other proteins. You can also swap the chicken for cubed pork tenderloin, fish or tofu. When cooking fish, season it with salt and pepper and cook separately.
- Alternate veggies. You can mix and match the veggies based on what’s in your fridge, your favorites, what’s in season or what’s on sale. Some tasty alternatives would be broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, bok choy, snow peas, etc.
- Add pineapple. Mangos and pineapple are spectacular together. Add freshly chopped pineapple to the mango chicken instead of the finishing 1 cup mango or in addition to.
- Add nuts. Cashews add a deeply satisfying, buttery crunch. Take care to purchase raw, unsalted nuts. To elevate your cashews, dry roast them in a skillet until toasted- YUM!
- Add coconut. Garnish with toasted sweetened coconut for extra coco-nutty yum.
- Add sesame seeds. Add a nutty sesame flavor. Take care to use toasted sesame seeds or toast them yourself.
- Add water chestnuts: also add a tantalizing crunch. Water chestnuts are easy to find in a can so you can keep them stocked and ready to go.
- Use Birdseye chilies. You are welcome to substitute the Asian chili paste for minced Birdseye chilies. You will want to remove the seeds and finely chop.
HOW TO MAKE MANGO CHICKEN
- Make blender mango sauce: add coconut milk, mangos, onion, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, basil to your blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Season chicken: while the chicken is still on the cutting board, pat it dry then season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- Cook chicken: Heat oil over medium high heat in large skillet until very hot. Add chicken and red curry paste and cook just until most pieces are no longer pink. Cooking the chicken with the curry paste is the key to unlocking the full flavor of red curry paste. This is essentially toasting the curry in oil which helps the flavor emerge or “bloom” – and it makes a HUGE difference to both the curry and the chicken. Have you ever had chicken in a curry that is bland? Well, they have definitely skipped this step and just boiled the chicken in the sauce as an afterthought.
- Sauté vegetables: Add bell peppers and continue to cook for 2 minutes. This softens the bell peppers and allows the curry to permeate them before we add the coconut milk.
- Add mango sauce. Stir in blender mango sauce followed by zucchini. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the zucchini is crisp-tender.
- Garnish. Garnish with remaining 1 cup chopped mangos, fresh basil, cilantro and chili sauce to taste. Serve with rice, zoodles, etc.
How to make the best mango chicken
The most important part of any recipe is tasting and adjusting to suite your personal tastes because no two palates are the same. That is especially important in this mango chicken recipe because no two mangos are the same. If your mangos are sweeter, you might want more juice, if your mangos aren’t as sweet, you may need more brown sugar. Here’s how to adjust your mango chicken curry:
- sweeten it up with additional brown sugar
- for extra tang or less sweetness, add additional lime juice
- spice it up with additional Asian chili paste
- add salt/more umami with additional fish sauce or salt
- amp up the garlic and/or ginger for a stronger punch of flavor
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR MANGO CHICKEN RECIPE
- Prep sauce and veggies before you start cooking. This mango chicken recipe comes together in MINUTES once you start cooking, so make sure all your veggies are chopped before oil ever touches your pan.
- Don’t overcook chicken. For the juiciest chicken, don’t overcook! Brown it in the skillet but let it finish cooking in the sauce.
- Customize veggies. You can substitute the veggies for your favorites.
- Ginger pro tip. I like to freeze ginger so it’s always at my fingertips. To freeze ginger: grate it, spread it by the teaspoon or tablespoon on parchment paper and flash freeze until solid, about 1 hour. Transfer to an airtight container or plastic bag for up to 6 months. You can add frozen ginger directly to your stir fry.
- Adjust to taste. As previously discussed, tasting the final mango chicken and adjusting to taste is crucial because some mangos are sweeter than others. You’ll also want to add chili sauce to taste depending on your family’s palate and what brand red curry paste you use (Thai Kitchen is mild; Mae Ploy is spicy). If your mango chicken tastes like it’s missing something – it is probably heat or a kick of lime.
HOW TO STORE MANGO CHICKEN RECIPE
This mango chicken recipe makes exceptional leftovers and reheats wonderfully for lunches or dinners.
- How to store: mango chicken should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When stored properly, it is good for up to five days.
- Microwave: transfer a portion to a microwave safe dish, heat for one minute, stir then continue to heat at 30 second intervals.
- Stove: for larger portions, rewarm gently in a large skillet, stirring often. You can microwave the rice as you’re warming the chicken on the stove.
PREP AHEAD MANGO CHICKEN CURRY
This mango chicken curry comes together in less than 30 minutes, but if you want dinner to come together in minutes (if you’re hosting for example) then you can prep everything ahead of time. Here’s how:
- Chop chicken: chop the chicken, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
- Make blender sauce: blend the sauce together 24 hours in advance and store, covered, in the refrigerator.
- Chop veggies: chop the bell peppers and zucchini 24 hours in advance and store in separate air tight containers in the refrigerator.
MAKE AHEAD MANGO CHICKEN CURRY
This mango chicken curry recipe tastes even better the next day as the flavors have time to build and meld which makes it fabulous for meal prep or on-the- go lunches.
For meal prep lunches, simply divide the curry between airtight containers along with rice, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. I like to put the rice on top of the curry so it doesn’t get saturated.
HOW TO FREEZE MANGO CHICKEN
I do not recommend freezing the mango chicken with the bell peppers and zucchini because they become an unpleasant mushy texture. You may freeze the chicken without the veggies or freeze the chicken and sauce separately.
Cook the mango chicken without the veggies if you are making it for the sole purpose of freezing, otherwise, you may want to pick out the veggies of the portion you wish to freeze.
- Let the mango chicken cool to room temperature.
- Transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag and squeeze out excess air to prevent freezer burn and seal.
- Label and freeze for up to three months.
- Thaw in the refrigerator before warming according to above reheating directions.
TO FREEZE CHICKEN & SAUCE SEPARATELY:
- Mango sauce: blend together, transfer to a freezer bag or freezer safe airtight container, label and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Chicken: After you have cooked the chicken, let it cool to room temperature then transfer it to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.
WHAT SHOULD I SERVE WITH MANGO CHICKEN RECIPE?
- Rice: mango chicken is fabulous served with rice to mellow and absorb the flavorful sauce and offers a neutral textural component. I prefer jasmine rice but any rice will work. Just pop the rice in your rice cooker for a hands’ off, easy side. Just make sure to thoroughly rinse your white rice until the water runs clear to achieve the fluffiest rice. You can also use microwave rice pouches if you’re making a serving for one or meal prep.
- Low carb options: cauliflower rice, quinoa, broccoli rice or a blend of brown rice and any of the aforementioned options. You can also use low carb noodles such as zoodles or spaghetti squash.
- Appetizers: turn this mango chicken curry into a feast with Thai Chicken Satay or Peanut Pineapple Thai Chicken Satay, Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps, or Thai Chicken Pizza. It is also delish with other Asian inspired, non-Thai appetizers such as Crab Rangoons, Homemade Egg Rolls, Pineapple Cream Cheese Wontons, or potstickers.
- Bread: Naan or roti bread to soak up the delectable sauce.
- Salad: A simple green salad or Asian Pineapple Salad.
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