Kerala chicken recipe – A simple & delicious dish made by simmering chicken in fresh ground kerala spice powder & coconut milk. Kerala cuisine is well known for its unique flavors, delicious taste & simplicity. This kerala nadan curry is no exception to it.
This simple chicken curry has an amazing burst of flavors from the fresh ground roasted spices & the tempering touch that’s given with the fresh curry leaves.
Years ago I happened to try this and just got hooked to it forever. Made it time & again and have always been complimented by my folks.
Preparation for Kerala chicken
1. Marinate chicken with garam masala, salt, turmeric , red chili powder and pepper. Set aside for about 30 to 45 minutes.
2. Dry roast the dry spices and cool them. Make a fine powder and add little water and make a paste.Set aside.
How to make
3. Add coconut oil to a hot pan and fry onions till lightly golden.Then add ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes off.
4. Add the marinated chicken and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on a high flame. Pour the ground garam masala paste, Mix well.
5. Cook covered on a medium to low flame till the chicken is cooked completely. Pour thin coconut milk.
6. Simmer for 5 minutes. Check salt and adjust as needed. Heat a small pan with coconut oil for tempering. Add onions and fry till they turn pink. Add curry leaves and broken chili. when they turn crisp. Switch off the stove.
7. Pour this tempering over the curry.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1½ tablespoons Coconut oil
- ¾ cup onions chopped finely (1 large)
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- ½ cup tomatoes (pureed or chopped) (optional)
- ¾ cup coconut milk (thin milk)
For garam masala (or use 1 teaspoon store bought garam masala)
- 1½ tablespoons coriander seeds
- 1 inch cinnamon piece
- 4 cloves
- 2 pods green cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper corn or ½ teaspoon crushed
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds or ¾ teaspoon fennel powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds (optional)
- 2 to 4 red chilies or ¼ tsp red chili powder (Kashmiri or byadgi)
- 1½ teaspoon coconut oil
- 1 dried red chili (break and remove the seeds)
- 3 to 4 pearl onions sliced thinly (Or shallots)
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- Marinate chicken with chilli powder, salt, turmeric, pepper and garam masala. Keep aside until you prepare the rest.
Prepare Spice Powder
- Skip this section if you have garam masala. On a low flame dry roast coriander seeds, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper and red chilies until they begin to smell aromatic.
- Remove them to a plate and roast fennel seeds along with cumin until both turn aromatic.
- Add these to a grinder or spice jar and make a fine powder. Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons water and blend to a smooth paste. Keep this aside.
Make Kerala Chicken Curry With Coconut Milk
- Heat 1½ tablespoon coconut oil in a pan. Add onions and fry till they turn golden.
- Add ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes away, for 1 to 2 mins.
- Transfer the marinated chicken and fry on a slightly high flame till it turns white in color, for about 3 to 4 mins.
- Then add the ground spice mixture & mix well. Cover and cook on a low flame till the chicken is slightly tender. Keep stirring in between for even cooking.
- Optional – If using tomatoes, then add at this stage and saute further until the tomatoes loose the raw flavor.
- If the pan is too dry, pour ¼ cup hot water. This depends on how much moisture your chicken releases. I did not use additional water, the moisture in the chicken and was enough to cook.
- Once the chicken is tender, pour the coconut milk. Mix well. If using canned coconut milk, shake it well and then use.
- When the coconut milk begins to bubble cover and simmer for 5 mins. Taste test and add more salt.
- Heat a small pan with coconut oil and fry onions till they turn pink. Then add curry leaves and red chili. When the leaves turn crisp, remove and pour this over the Kerala Chicken Curry.
- Serve it with ghee rice, coconut rice, appam, parotta or with chapati.
- You may skip making garam masala and use store bought. But the combination of spices mentioned in the recipe impart the best flavors.
- Add the tomatoes to the curry only after the chicken is cooked. If an acidic ingredient is added before the chicken is cooked, there is a chance for the meat to become tough and hard.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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