kerala chicken

Kerala Chicken Curry

By Swasthi on August 11, 2022, Comments, Jump to Recipe

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.

Kerala chicken

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,
Ney choru
Kerala biryani
Egg roast

for more chicken curry recipes, check
chicken kurma
andhra chicken
chicken curry without coconut
chettinad chicken
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.

marinate chicken with spices for kerala chicken

2. Dry roast the dry spices and cool them. Make a fine powder and add little water and make a paste.Set aside.

marinate with spice powders

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.

adding ground masala for kerala chicken

5. Cook covered on a medium to low flame till the chicken is cooked completely. Pour thin coconut milk.

coconut milk for kerala chicken

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 recipe

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

kerala chicken curry

Kerala Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk

Make this easy and delicious popular Kerala Chicken curry under 50 mins. Serve it with ghee rice, coconut rice, appam or any flatbreads like parotta or chapati.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time50 minutes

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

For gravy

  • 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)

  • 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)

Tempering (optional)

  • 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.


  1. You may skip making garam masala and use store bought. But the combination of spices mentioned in the recipe impart the best flavors.
  2. 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.
Source: Julie

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)

Nutrition Facts
Kerala Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk
Amount Per Serving
Calories 610 Calories from Fat 423
% Daily Value*
Fat 47g72%
Saturated Fat 25g156%
Cholesterol 125mg42%
Sodium 138mg6%
Potassium 698mg20%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 34g68%
Vitamin A 785IU16%
Vitamin C 87.9mg107%
Calcium 69mg7%
Iron 4.7mg26%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Kerala Chicken Curry

About Swasthi

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. More about me

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5 stars
Made this on a whim and didn’t have any tomatoes. It was fantastic! My kids devoured it and said it was the best curry ever! Thank you for always sharing your delicious recipes. Can’t wait to make again.

P.S. can I sub the chicken for chick peas to make it vegetarian?

5 stars
Hi Swasthi: I am a Kerala native living in Washington, DC the US capital.
I wanted to make a tasty chicken curry and searched on the internet. I stumbled on your Kerala chicken curry. Recently, I have made this several times and shared the recipes with my sisters. Following the recipe measurements, I am going to make it for 20 people for a church festival. My family as well as my sisters’ family liked the curry. Thanks so much for the detailed recipe and nutritional information, since I am careful with the carbs. I will be making Gulab Jamun from your recipe. Thanks for a wonder recipe site.

This recipe looks delicious, so I’ll try it tonight. What parts of the chicken do you use: boneless, skinless chicken breasts, bone-in breasts with skin, chicken thighs, etc.? Thank you.

Thank you.

5 stars
Is made this for the first time to celebrate the bounty of my curry leaf plant. It was delicious!

5 stars
Made this with cubed firm tofu and it’s fantastic.

5 stars
Another great recipe, thank you so much! I discovered your site a while ago and already tried various recipes, they’re always a success! I’m not Indian but I love Indian food and have cooked my fair share of dals and currys over the years, but I have to say since I found you everything I make tastes even better . I love your authentic recipes,
your detailed instructions with the pictures, it almost feels like I have a friend in my kitchen teaching me the secrets of this wonderful cuisine! You’re my go-to for Indian cooking, in fact I stopped looking around for other recipes since I found you. So thank you thank you and thanks again, keep up with your great work! Oh and it would be great if you had a recipe for Mango Chicken Curry 🙂

5 stars

5 stars
Just finished making this and the aroma wafting in the air is just so tantalizing! Thanks Swasthi!

5 stars
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

5 stars
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.

5 stars
Hello! This was excellent! I am wondering if this would also work with chicken alternatives (like vegan meat or tofu)? Thanks!

5 stars
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

5 stars
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 !

5 stars
This was excellent, thanks a lot.

5 stars
It’s so simple and tasty. Your recipes are really good. Thank you so much for making us better cooks. ?

5 stars
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 ?❤️

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

5 stars
Tried this recipe today. Absolutely yummm!!! A foolproof recipe..yet again. Thanks a ton Swasthi was making cooking easier for folks like me 🙂

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

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.