Kerala Style Chicken Curry

I love South Indian food. I already have shared some very popular recipes which I often make, like ‘Chicken Chettinad’, ‘Egg Masala – South Indian Style’ and universal favourite ‘Masala Dosa’. ‘Kerala Style Chicken Curry’ is one of the best chicken curries I have tasted in Kerala. ‘Nadan Kozhi Curry’ or ‘Nadan Chicken Curry’ is the most basic chicken curry from the South Indian state, Kerala. It is though a bit spicy, originally sautéd in coconut oil and lastly a tempering with curry leaves, mustard seeds and whole red chilli makes this one truly traditional and special. But I do not use whole chilli in tempering nor use coconut oil as cooking medium.

The secret to the success of this curry is the sautéing of onions, tomatoes in low flame until they turns light brown and after adding chicken, again sautéing it till all the moisture is absorbed without adding any water….and that makes all the difference! We all know that Kerala is the land of whole spices. It is the state that produces most exotic aromatic spices. The dry masala powder used in the curry also gives an extra flavor and of course the freshly grated coconut gives a very good texture to the curry. Coconut oil imparts the typical country flavor to this curry along with fresh curry leaves. If you ever get a chance to visit Exotic Kerala, I would recommend this curry to try! To make the curry more exotic you can substitute water with coconut milk.

Try this spicy & flavorful ‘Kerala Style Chicken Curry’ ……….you will love this for sure.


For marination:
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 2 Tbsps Oil
For the Masala Powder:
  • 3 – 4 Dry Whole Red Chilli
  • 4 Clove
  • 2” Cinnamon – piece
  • 4 Green Cardamom
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper Corns
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • ¼ tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Coriander Seeds
  • ½ tsp Fennel Seeds
  • For the Chicken Curry
  • 1.5 kg Chicken – (Curry Cut)
  • 1 cup Onion – (Thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup Tomato – (Roughly chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger Paste
  • 2 tsps Garlic Paste
  • ½ cup Onion Paste
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 ¼ tsps Red Chilli Powder
  • 1 cup Freshly Grated Coconut
  • 3 – 4 Green Chilies
  • 2 sprigs Curry Leaves
  • 4 Tbsps Oil
  • To taste Salt
For the Tempering:
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • ½ tsp Black Mustard Seeds/Rai
  • 2 sprigs Curry Leaves


  1. Clean the chicken and in a large bowl marinate the chicken with turmeric powder and oil. Keep it aside till all the ingredients are ready.
  2. In a pan add all the ingredients mentioned under for ‘Masala Powder’. Dry roast on low flame till the spices exudes aroma. Care should be taken not to burn the spices. Remove from heat. Keep aside. Let it be cooled. Grind the roasted spices and keep aside.
  3. Grind the grated coconut in smooth paste.
  4. Heat 4 Tbsp oil in a kadai or wok. Add curry leaves and chopped onion. Sauté on medium flame till the onion becomes translucent.
  5. Add onion paste, ginger paste, garlic paste and fry till light brown in color.
    Next add chopped tomato. Sauté for 3-4 minute, with the help of the spatula mash the tomatoes.
  6. Now add the coconut paste and fry till oil starts separating from sides.
  7. Now add marinated chicken pieces. Mix very well. Sauté, cover & cook in low-medium heat for 10-12 minutes. Do not add water. Stir occasionally.
  8. Add the roasted masala powder, coriander powder and red chilli powder. Mix well cover & cook for 12-15 minutes on low flame. Stir in between. Add water to cover the chicken pieces. But keep in mind that the gravy would be neither thick nor too runny.
  9. Adjust salt and add green chilli. Mix well cover & cook till the chicken pieces are cooked through. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl.
  10. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a frying pan. Temper with curry leaves & mustard seeds. Sauté for few seconds. Turn off the heat when the mustard seeds and curry leaves starts spluttering. Pour this tadka over chicken curry.
  11. Cover for 10 minutes so that the curry will be infused with the aroma of the tadka.
    Serve hot with Steamed Rice or Appam or Romali Roti.



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