Enjoy a big protein boost with this healthy chicken curry, says nutritionist Gill Cummings-Bell.

This delicious chicken curry is high in calories to replenish those glycogen stores and boost of protein for recovery on those big training days. It is also nutritious and filling. As well as a reasonable amount of protein and carbohydrate provided by the chicken and rice, this delicious dish has coconut milk which can be your friend or foe, depending on which variety you use.

While it is highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous, it is also high in fat. If you need to cut down fat then I recommend the low-fat variety.

Unlike other nut fats, coconut fat is mostly in the form of medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs) such as lauric acid. This is converted by the body into an antiviral and antibacterial compound called monolaurin, which helps you combat disease and viruses, as well as recover from training.

These fats are metabolised into energy in the liver and used quickly by the body and therefore are less likely to be stored as fat. The recipe is also lactose-free, so is good if you have a lactose intolerance.

With a decent amount of carbohydrate, this is also a meal for training athletes. Digested carbohydrate is stored in both muscle and liver as glycogen. Muscle glycogen is accessed by your working muscles for contraction and liver glycogen keeps your blood sugar topped up for the brain. If you run out of carbohydrate in your muscles you would hit the wall, if you also run out in the liver you “bonk” which can make you feel quite unwell.

Stores are limited to between 300-500g, enough fuel to last around 90 minutes of an intense training session. It is important to keep your stores topped up every day.

Per Portion

  • Calories 474
  • Carbs 6 3g
  • Fat 14g
  • Protein 23g


Serves 2

  • 4 x skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 small aubergine, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 sliced green chilli
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp medium curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tin chopped plum tomatoes
  • 2 cups of rice
  • 4 cups of coconut milk
  • 2 cardamom pods, lightly bashed


  1. Lightly fry the aubergine and chicken for a few minutes in oil.
  2. Add the spices, chilli, onions, ginger and garlic along with the chopped tomatoes. Top up with a splash of water so the vegetables are barely covered, simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce thickens and the chicken is cooked.
  3. Add rice and coconut milk to a pan along with cardamom pods. Bring to boil and leave to simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed (top up with water if necessary).