Kerala Chicken Curry
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.
This kerala chicken goes well with plain rice, ghee rice, kerala neychoru, pathiri, appam or any breads like roti, parotta, paratha & chapathi.
More Kerala recipes,
for more chicken curry recipes, check
chicken curry without coconut
chicken butter masala
chicken tikka masala
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.
Kerala Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- ½ kg chicken (500 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder (less spicy variety like kashmiri or byadgi)
- ¼ teaspoon salt as needed
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ¼ teaspoon Crushed black pepper
- 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)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
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.
Follow Swasthi’s Recipes
Just finished making this and the aroma wafting in the air is just so tantalizing! Thanks Swasthi!
Happy to know Reena. Thank you so much!
Agree, another excellent recipe. I used a store bought garam masala only due to time constraints being out all day ( though i did manage to get a dhal makhani into the slow cooker before leaving), and will make own spice blend next time. I did actually make a chicken version, for my better half, and a tofu (semi pressed ) version for me. The chicken version didn’t need extra liquid for sure, while the tofu benefitted from a little. Overall a great success, mild, coconutty and creamy, however I may add a little more spice next time
Thank you Johnnie
Read through the recipe before you start. I made a few mistakes just with what gets cooked when and where. I was frustrated as I would read the next line and realize it. However, once I tasted it all my frustrations went away, I was so excited! I cook Indian food a lot though I am not Indian. This was really good. I did it without the tomatoes. Mine was not at all spicey but I didn’t have the red chilis so that is why. I definitely want them next time I make it.
Thanks for sharing the outcome Kristin
So glad it turned out good.
Hello! This was excellent! I am wondering if this would also work with chicken alternatives (like vegan meat or tofu)? Thanks!
Glad to know! Yes it should work but cut down the spices a bit.
Hi Swasthi, your cooking recipes are really awesome, cooking special foods are my hobbies and i always follow your methods for various menus, keep adding more
Glad to know! Thank you
Swasthi thank you very much for yet another excellent recipe. I have been following many of your recipes and they have come out great. Love your detailed instructions, great pictures and good tips in the end. Thank you very much !
Glad to know Sapna
Thank you so much for the comment.
This was excellent, thanks a lot.
Glad to know Simran
It’s so simple and tasty. Your recipes are really good. Thank you so much for making us better cooks. 😊
Swasthi, this recipe is outstanding and so simple. I already tried it twice in two weeks and my folks were super happy.. it is super yummy😋.. Thank you🙏
Madam Iam following only ur recipes.So tasty recipe ma’am 🙏❤️
Glad to know!
Ma’am, I want to know the taste of this recipe. Ma’am I did not try the recipe but I wrote this in my project and In project I have to also the taste of the recipe. So please ma’am 🙏 tell me the taste of this recipe.
I hope you will help. Looking toward yours positive reply
Tried this recipe today. Absolutely yummm!!! A foolproof recipe..yet again. Thanks a ton Swasthi was making cooking easier for folks like me 🙂
I think I am too late in replying. So glad to know it turned out good.
I am planning to make Kerala chicken tomorrow. Please let me know if this recipe can be doubled for 1kg chicken. Thanks in advance!
Am a big fan of your recipes…they have made cooking super easy for a novice like me 🙂 Am planning to make this Kerala chicken recipe tomorrow with 1kg chicken. Please tell me know if I can directly double the recipe.
Also, I had made your Malabar chicken biryani. It was just yummm! But when I made it the second time with 1kg chicken and 4 cups of rice, the biryani did not taste as the first time. I had directly doubled all the ingredients…could that b the reason for it turning our very spicy. I had done 2 layers of the curry. Please advice
Thank you so much! I know I am too late. While doubling a non-veg recipe, I usually prefer to reduce a bit of ginger garlic, green chili, red chilli and cloves. These are the ingredients to a larger extent alter the flavor of the final dish. Before beginning to cook, just eyeball the spices and reduce them if needed. For example: I always find the quantity of cloves to be a lot when we double the recipes. Hope this helps.
In a cooking class held by two renowned chefs, I learned that whole spices should never be increased when doublin any recipe. But when halving the recipe, you should half them.
Also increase rest of the spices by only 75%.
This information has been very useful for me when increasing quantities without much guidance.
Such a delicious recipe! I had 2 boxes of coconut milk lying in my fridge and decided to try your recipe. Everyone enjoyed it at home! Thank you Swasthi!
Glad you all liked it.
I follow almost all your recipes, all are simple and easy,and ofcourse with a great outcome….I m a keralite living in Hyderabad…my grandmother’s used to put only julienned ginger and garlic, never ever ginger garlic paste both in all varieties of meat and fish… believe me it gives a very special taste..pls try it once with Kerala non veg dishes…????thank you very much for your foolproof recipes dear
Glad to know you! Thanks for sharing your tip. Helps other readers. The only reason I used the paste is these days most people are fussy to eat bits of spices in their food.
Hi Swasthi, How do I make home made garam masala?
You can check this garam masala recipe
Swaasthi Mam Then how can I make coconut milk at home?
Blend chopped or grated coconut with some water in a grinder. Filter and use it
Hi. If I use ready garam masala instead of roasting the spices..how much ready masala should I take? And should I make a paste of the ready garam masala and then add it ? Thanks
I haven’t tried this recipe with ready made garam masala. So not sure. You may start with 1 teaspoon then add more if you want. Add it directly, don’t need to make a paste.
Ok..Just thought I should ask u coz in the recipe it us written in brackets..or use any ready garam masala… Anyways..is there some spice in kerala garam masala which is generally not put in store bought garam masala? So I can adjust accordingly. Thanks.
In the recipe, by writing ready garam masala I meant homemade masala. Usually store bought ones are too pungent, hot and spicy so I was doubtful. The flavors of Pepper & fennel seeds are more prominent in kerala masala which is usually missing in the store bought one. You may crush them and add here. Hope this helps
Ok thanks for the pepper and fennel suggestion.
Swaasthi Mam Can I skip coconut milk?
Coconut milk is the key ingredient here. If you skip, the taste will be different