Kerala Chicken Curry

30 Jul

Kerala Chicken CurryI recently discovered ‘god’s own secret’ in ‘god’s own country’*……..

No it wasn’t a religious pilgrimage; it was a weekend retreat in an enigmatic paradise- Vivanta by Taj – Bekal, Kerala . It’s a parallel universe of natural and man-made beauty where extensive natural foliage unites with beautifully manicured lawns and the alluring backwaters rally around lotus filled ponds. It’s an escape from reality with a chance to rejuvenate and stimulate all your senses.

Photo Credit: Hotel Website

Photo Credit: Hotel Website

If you think the landscape and the world class spa are the only draw to reinvigorate you here, wait till your taste buds are tantalized in the dining room. As expected at a Taj hotel the chefs are experts in global cuisine but since we were in Kerala my prime focus was traditional costal cuisine. Their fluffy appams (pancake made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk), coconut kissed piquant vegetable and meat curries, and fresh seafood further reinforced my love affair with food from the Malabar Coast.

Serving Suggestion

Serving Suggestion

This chicken curry recipe is a slightly adapted version of a Nadan Kozhi Curry (Local Chicken Curry) that I learnt from Chef Dhandapani on this trip. It embodies what I love about Indian coastal curries – several layers of spices that come together harmoniously with a touch of coconut milk. Consider this aromatic and flavorful chicken curry an ode to a wonderful weekend at The Vivanta by Taj, Bekal and a sneak preview to your potential trip to discover “god’s own secret” in “god’s own country”.

Kerala Chicken Curry
Adapted from a cooking demonstration of Nadan Kozhi Curry by Taj Bekal’s Chef Dhandapani
Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 2-3 servings

1 tablespoon vegetable or coconut oil (See note)
1 bay leaf
5 green cardamoms pods, bruised
5 cloves
10-12 curry leaves
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, peeled and diced
1-2 green chilies, seeded and diced
¾ cup of red onion, sliced
1 large or 2 small roma tomatoes, diced
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder,
¼ teaspoon red chili powder
1.5 teaspoons ground coriander powder
1 cup water
1 cup of boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
2-3 tablespoons fresh or canned coconut milk (See note)
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped


  • Traditionally this dish is made in coconut oil.
  • If using canned coconut milk use the full fat one. The light one makes a very runny curry.


1) In a medium to large pot heat the oil on medium heat. Add the bay leaf, cardamoms and cloves and cook for 1-2 minutes until you get the aroma of these ingredients. Now add the curry leaves and cook for another 1-2 minutes so that the leaves turn color but don’t burn.
2) Add the ginger root, green chilies and onions and cook for 8-10 minutes until the onions are lightly browned. Keep stirring the onions occasionally so they don’t stick or burn.
3) Add the diced tomatoes along with a pinch of salt and cook stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked down. Now add the coriander and red chili powder and cook everything together for another minute.
4) Add a cup of water and let it reach a medium temperature (about 1-2 minutes). Add the chicken and cook through.
5) Reduce the heat to low and stir in the coconut milk. Add some more water if you want more gravy. Simmer for 2-3 minutes so all the flavors blend together.
6) Season with salt to taste. Turn of the heat and garnish with cilantro. Serve warm with Basmati rice.

*”Gods own country” is the apt name coined for Kerala and used by the Kerala Board of Tourism and the Incredible India Campaign. “God’s own secret in God’s own country” is officially (and again rightly so) used by the hotel for Marketing purposes.

One Response to “Kerala Chicken Curry”

  1. Dr. Raj Mehta July 31, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    Sounds lovely food. I have eaten a lot of Kerala food but never as good as this recipe sounds.

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