Chicken Curry (Kerala Style)

This is a simple and delicious chicken curry dish. What makes it different though is the "coconut"and the pearl onions/sambar onions (trust me....even thought its a real pain to peel of the skins, it makes a lot of difference when you use pearl onions instead of the regular red or white onions).

I am sure whenever you hear the word south indian, coconut is the next thing that comes to your mind hehe.....(no offense meant; and none taken, I am a proud Keralite). The best thing about this curry is, you can easily replace the chicken with even prawns or fish.

This recipe was passed onto to me by my mom. Well generally this is how she used to cook prawns (may be with a slight difference in the spices) and for chicken curry she would skip the coconut altogether. All i did was instead of prawns i used chicken. The coconut curry paste used for making this type curry is quite common in some parts of Kerala. The roasted coconut along with the spices gives this gravy a warm earthy taste. It also works best with any type of fish. 

So feel free to use either chicken, prawns or fish. 

You will need:
Chicken (cut into small pieces, cleaned and washed) - 1LB/half kg
Freshly grated coconut - Approx 1 cup
Pearl onions aka sambar onions - 1 cup chopped 
Dried Red chilli - 2 nos. 
Coriander seeds - approx 1 tbsp
Cloves - 5-6 nos
Peppercorns - 6-7 nos
Cinnamon stick - 1 - 2inch 
Bay leaf - 1
Star Anise - 1
Ginger-Garlic paste - 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Tomato - 1 (chopped)
Curry Leaves - 4-5 nos
Coriander Leaves & Mint leaves chopped - For garnishing
Oil for cooking - 3-4 tbsp
Salt to taste

Feel free to adjust the amount of spices depending on how spicy you want the gravy to be. My gravy turned out to be medium spicy.

Prep time: 45mins - 1 hr
Cooking time: 1/2 an hour


1) Clean, wash and cut the chicken into small pieces (or as desired).

2) Dry roast all the spices that is red chilli, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, bay leaf and star anise along with the grated coconut on a medium flame. Roast everything together until the coconut turns brown in color. Be careful enough to not burn the coconut. Let it cool down for some time and then grind it into a nice thick paste in a mixer grinder. 

3) Cut the pearl onions lengthwise and chop the tomatoes into cubes. I used coarsely minced ginger and garlic for this recipe but you can also use ginger-garlic paste.

4) In a deep pan heat about 3 - 4 tbsp of oil. When the oil is hot add the onions, ginger-garlic paste and curry leaves. Saute and cook until the onions become soft and translucent. Once the onions are cooked add the tomatoes and cook until they are nice and tender.

5) Now add the turmeric powder and the coconut paste. Take little water into the mixer bowl clear off any leftover coconut paste and add. Saute for few mins and then add the chicken pieces to it. Do not add any water at this point as the chicken releases water during cooking. You can add water later on if you think the gravy is too thick. Add salt for seasoning.

6) Cover the pan with a lid and cook the chicken on a low to medium flame (for about 15-20mins or until the chicken is nicely cooked) so that all the spices are nicely incorporated in the chicken.

7) Finally garnish with lots of fresh cilantro/coriander leaves and mint leaves.

Serve hot with rice, tandoori roti, bhakri or naan.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe.

Happy Cooking.

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