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Malabar Chicken Curry

Malabar Chicken Curry

Today's chicken curry is a Malabari delicacy. It is always a crowd-pleaser, and besides, there is nothing like an easy to make, heartwarming curry, relished with steamed rice. The chicken curry is creamy and delicious with coconut milk and smoothly ground masala paste as its base. It is a lusciously creamy chicken curry with a tropical flair. For exotic eating, experience, try pairing this curry with neypathal, pathiri, or ghee rice. Sounds exciting, huh? Then check the recipe, it is super simple to make.

This chicken curry is one of our family favorites. Spicy chicken gravy is one curry that I never get bored eating. But once in a while, love to try variations. This recipe is from the worn-out pages of an old cookbook. I obviously cannot comment about the authenticity of this recipe. The word authentic is confusing.  But I guarantee it tastes everything you want from an exotic curry- spicy, tangy, delicious, and rich with the fragrance of coconut milk, coconut oil, and curry leaves. It is a dish that defines Kerala cuisine. Chicken pieces are slowly cooked, in a rich gravy of crispy fried onions, pearl onions, coconut, tomatoes, earthy spices, and cashew nut paste. There are two ways you can make this -with fresh coconut milk or with roasted coconut. Toasting the coconut till golden brown and then grinding it into a paste enhances the flavor of coconut.

Malabar chicken curry is a treat for all chicken lovers. For best results, use a combination of onions and pearl onions. The trick to making a great sauce is to let the onions and tomatoes cook for at least 10-15 minutes until they are almost dry on your pan and oil separates. Let it cool down, blend until smooth.  Cashews and coconut are the key ingredients for a beautiful, creamy sauce. Cashew nuts also add a slightly nutty flavor and help thicken the sauce to that perfect consistency. The enticing flavor is from all the great spices of Malabar. It is a spice blend that you can make at home. Check the recipe below to make your Malabar garam masala.

To make Malabar garam masala
Green cardamom- 3-4
Cloves 3-4
Cinnamon stick 1 inch
Star anise- 1
Fennel seeds- 1/2 tsp
Black pepper- 1/2 tsp
Mace- 1 small piece
Nutmeg- a pinch

Gently toast the garam masala on a low flame till there is a nice aroma. Switch off the flame and let it cool down a bit. Make a fine powder and set aside. This spice blend is good for one chicken curry. You can double or triple the batch and store the leftover spice mix in an airtight container.

Malabar Chicken Curry Recipe
1)Chicken - 1 kg
Turmeric powder- 1/3 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Pepper powder- 1/3 tsp
lemon juice-1/2 lemon

For the gravy
Thinly sliced onion-  2 medium
Pearl onion- sliced- 3/4 cup
Coconut grated- 1/2 cup
Ginger garlic paste-2 tbs
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Chilly powder- 2 1/2 tsp
(adjust according to taste)
Coriander powder- 1 1/2 tsp
Thick coconut milk- 1 cup
Thin coconut milk-2 cup
Cashew nuts- 10-12
Garam  masala powder- 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Coconut oil- 3 tbs

Clean chicken, wash and drain and marinate with ingredients listed under (1) for about 10 minutes.
Soak cashew nuts in warm water for some time and make a fine paste. Gently toast the garam masala on a low flame till there is a good aroma. Switch off the flame and let it cool down a bit. Make a fine powder and set aside.

Heat a little oil in a pan and add onions and saute and fry till crispy. Add half a cup of grated coconut, and roast till golden brown. Add tomatoes and saute till the tomatoes are soft and cooked. Allow this to cool, and using a blender, make a fine paste.

Heat one tsp of oil and add curry leaves and thinly sliced pearl onions. Saute till it changes color to a golden brown. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute till raw flavor disappears. Now add the ground onion paste and simmer till it is reduced, and oil separates. Add turmeric powder, chilly powder, and coriander powder and cook for one minute. Add chicken and mix well. Continue mixing and frying the chicken for about five minutes till the chicken turns pale. Add the thin coconut milk. Cover and cook till the chicken is cooked. Add cashew nut paste and simmer for another two to three minutes. Finally, add thick coconut milk and simmer for a minute and switch off the flame. Enjoy with ghee rice, pathiri, or chapati.

You might also like,

Malabar Chicken Fry
Chicken Ghee Roast
Erachi Choru- Kerala Style Chicken Pulao
Ellum Kappa/ Kappa Biriyani
Potato Masala/ Sadhya Urulakizhangu Masala

Try it,

Happy Cooking!


  1. feel hungry, looking at this delicious curry..

  2. Excellent and irresistible,makes me hungry..

  3. Chicken curry looks rich and delicious.. Very inviting..

  4. Yummy curry...looks it dear...

  5. Am drooling here.. Perfect with some pathiri

  6. Having my lunch rightnow drooling over the recipe.. Yummy recipe, Suja!

  7. Rich gravy and almost like rest style...Terrific work Suja..SO many are slurping here..haha.

  8. Mouthwatering curry n color is gorgeous...

  9. This is my fav. i am feeling hungry. Love the platter. Pls pass it to me dear.

  10. Chicken curry looks fabulous, Suja.

    Today's recipe:

  11. shooo kappal oduneee... I'm hungry... yum yum curry

  12. Makes me feel hungry. Looks very creamy and flavorful !!

  13. Kothipikunna curry...yummy...Love with chapathi...

  14. So appetizing. Delicious currry.

  15. wow looks so delicious Suja, love it

    Cook like Priya

  16. Hi Suja,
    Chicken curry looks delicious..perfect with aything :)

  17. Awesome looking curry...Bookmarked..

  18. Chicken curry looks very delicious...perfect.

  19. Wish i live near you, such an irresistible chicken curry..Inviting.

  20. What a yummy gravy..I have tried out prawns with this.

  21. my favourite. . . .looks delicious:-)

  22. I want to taste this... Looks delish :)

  23. wow suja...i am drooling dear. so thick it

  24. Chicken curry looks amazing. Will surely give it a try. But when to add the red chili powder and turmeric powder mentioned in the gravy ingredients?

    1. Thanks Manju for pointing out,Please add it after oil separates from the ground onion paste. Once the raw flavor disappears add the chicken. Hope you will try this chicken curry :)


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