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Kerala Chicken Curry

Kerala Chicken Curry

Curry leaves are extensively used in southern India, less so in the North. They were introduced to Malaysia by the many South Indians (mostly Tamil) immigrants during the British colonial era.

bar Kerala Chicken Curry
Rumour has it that the word “curry” came from the Indian name for theses leaves which is “kari patta”.

Picture by Jason Lowe

Serves 3-4

4 green finger chillies, roughly chopped
½ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp peeled and finely grated root ginger
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
¼ tsp salt
4 tbsp groundnut oil
5-6 curry leaves (optional)
2-4 cloves
1 large onion, finely sliced
1kg/ 2lb 3 oz chicken drumsticks and thighs, skinned and pricked
200 ml/7 fl oz coconut milk
2 green finger chillies, slit lengthways


In a blender, or with a pestle and mortar, blitz the chillies, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, garlic and salt with 1 tbsp of the oil and 2 tbsp cold water to make a coarse paste. Heat the remaining oil in a heavy-based pan. Add curry leaves, if using, cloves and onions and fry over a medium heat for 3-5 minutes until soft.

Add the paste and fry for a minute. Tip in the chicken pieces and fry for 10 minutes on a medium to low heat. Rinse out the blender or mortar that contained the paste with 200ml/7 fl oz cold water. Add it to the chicken and mix. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Pour the coconut milk into pan and cook for a further 3 minutes. Garnish with green chillies and serve hot with plain basmati rice.


(c) 2012

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