Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Thengappalozhicha Naadan Kozhi Curry: Kerala Style Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk

This is a post that has been roosting amongst the drafts in my old blog for more than a year, mainly owing to a bad photography session at the time. Though I had re-shot the curry sometime in February, I didn't get around to editing the photos till now.
The plan was to just edit the photos last night and get the writing part readied later. But that was before my sister, S sent me the photo of what seemed to be a twelve foot long spider that she had found at our home back in Kerala. (Okay, may be twelve is exaggerating it a bit. But you have to make allowances for my mind that has been in an addled state ever since I set my eyes upon the giant. I can tell you one thing though - it certainly does not belong to any stream that even remotely believes in petiteness.)  By the time I made the Techie delete all traces of the offender, I was wide awake and cosy beds and blankets seemed to have lost the charm they held five minutes ago. The good thing is that I was able to get the post ready to be published in a few minutes.

I'm sorry if aphids are not your thing and you would rather not have read the passage above. They are not my thing either and I am not particularly sure why I felt compelled to jot it down.

We will blame it all on S and hop to less animate, but happier things.
This is an everyday chicken curry; simple, comforting and yet full of flavours. All you need to do is rest the chicken in a simple marinade, saute a few ingredients before simmering the marinated chicken in the coconut milk based gravy and then finally, make a very basic tempering of mustard seeds and curry leaves to top it  off. We usually have it with rice, but they go well with rotis and appams too.


The Chicken:
  1. Chicken, cut into small or medium sized pieces - 1/2 kg (A 100 gm or so more is fine.)
The Marinade:
  1. Homemade Meat Masala Powder - 1 tsp.
  2. Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp.
  3. Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp.
  4. Natural White Vinegar - 1/2 tbsp. (See Notes.)
  5. Salt
The Gravy:
  1. Onions, thinly sliced - 1 heaping cup
  2. Ginger, chopped - 1 tbsp.
  3. Garlic, chopped - 1 tbsp.
  4. Coriander Powder - 1 and a 1/2 heaping tbsp.
  5. Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 to 3/4 tbsp. (Use as per your tolerance.)
  6. Thin Coconut Milk - 2 cups. (For a thicker gravy, start with 1 and a 1/2 cups)
  7. Thick Coconut Milk - 1/2 cup
  8. Salt
  9. Oil (Preferably coconut oil. But any neutral tasting oil will be okay too.)
To Temper:
  1. Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp.
  2. Curry Leaves - 1 stalk
  3. Oil (Preferably coconut oil. But any neutral tasting oil will be okay too.)
To Finish: 

Marinate the chicken with the ingredients mentioned under 'The Marinade' and keep aside for half an hour.

Mean while, crush the ginger and garlic together well and keep aside.

Heat up some oil in a pan and saute the onions till they are a medium brown. Add the crushed ginger garlic mix and saute till the raw smell is gone.

Keep the flame very low and add the powders. Stir around for a few seconds and then add the marinated chicken. Increase the heat to a high and stir around everything for a minute. Take care not to burn anything.

Now add the thin coconut milk and once the gravy comes to a boil, reduce the flame to a low. Cook covered till the chicken is well done. Add the thick coconut milk, bring the gravy to a gently simmer and switch off. Add half a teaspoon of the meat masala powder, mix, check for seasoning and adjust.

To make the tadka, heat up a pan with some coconut oil. Add the mustard seeds and once they sputter, add the curry leaves, give a stir and then quickly tumble the whole of the contents (including the oil) on top of the prepared chicken curry.
Let the curry rest for at least half an hour for the flavours to blend.

Mix the tempering with the curry when you are about to serve.
Serve as a side for rice, rotis (flat breads), appams (rice crepes made from a fermented batter) or idiyappams (steamed rice noodles).

  1. The gravy is supposed to be of a medium consistency, though you can adjust it to your liking. You can add a touch of water/more thin coconut milk to the gravy and bring it to a boil before adding the thick coconut milk if you think the curry is too thick. On the other hand, if the curry is too watery, simmer it with the lid open for some time before adding the thick coconut milk. 
  2. I use a natural white vinegar for the marinade. If you think your vinegar is too strong, add less than half a tablespoon in the marinade and the rest if needed once the chicken is cooked and you do a taste test. You want the curry to be balanced, not tangy.
  3. It is better not to use boneless breast pieces alone in the curry. The curry works best with skin-out, bone-in, not-so-lean assorted pieces of a chicken, simmered well in the gravy. However a few pieces of lean meat will be okay.
  4. Use just enough oil when sauteeing as well as tempering. With the oil, coconut milk and the chicken fat (if any), it is possible that a thin layer of oil might form on top of the curry when rested. The good news is that you can just skim it off. 
  5. I have not tried it - but you will be able to do the curry with garam masala. Just run through the ingredients of the meat masala powder and see what you have to add or adjust. (You don't have to be precise.) 


  1. Brings water in my mouth. Those pictures are amazing. Love your shady theme. thumbs up

    1. Thank you so much, Sherin. Glad that you stopped by :)

  2. God... kandittu kothiyayittu vayya.... yummm....

  3. Nalla charu kurugiya chicken curry how I wish I got some for lunch today.
    Btw I have a small brain donoo why u are confusing me with a spider in a chicken curry post :)))

    1. Meena on the contrary, the gravy is of a medium consistency (Will depend on the coconut milk used too. The thin coconut milk should not be too watery or else one will have to up the quantity of the thicker milk.) - and hence best suited for Appams, Idiappams and of course, Rice. I think it looks quite thick because of the glistening gravy.

      Ah, you had to bring it up, didn't you :D Just an idea of what triggers my posting here ;) :)

  4. Hey I was wondering how you make your meat masala powder?

    1. Hi, So sorry about the late reply. It is linked in the ingredient list - but here is the link to the Masala Powder again if you are not able to click through :



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