November 24, 2013

Kerala Chicken Curry Recipe - Nadan Kozhi Curry Recipe (No Coconut Milk)

This Kerala-style chicken curry is special. I love any gravy with a roasted coconut and spices and this chicken curry uses just that (but no coconut milk). There are tons of different variations to how chicken curry is prepared in Kerala but this is type of chicken masala is probably the most common and loved by all. The gravy is spicy and intense and goes great with milder mains like appam, idiyappam, chapati, dosa, parotta, rice, and pathiri. I also love this chicken curry with a simple vegetable pulao.

This chicken curry was prepared lovingly by our very good family friend Deepa Chechy. Her husband, Rajesh anna, wanted his wife's famous chicken curry to appear on Edible Garden so she made it and brought it over exactly as you see it in the picture above, in the same iron cheenachatti used to make it in. I didn't change a thing in the picture, not even the placement of the curry leaves. The chicken curry was steaming hot as I took pictures. So, huge thanks to Deepa chechy and Rajesh anna for this extra special dish :)

kerala chicken curry-nadan chicken curry kerala style

Note: Store-bought chicken masala (or meat masala) has been used in this recipe and it really makes the job simpler and tasty. You can make chicken masala at home too and I have left a note on how you can do that but if you get Eastern Chicken Masala or Meat Masala where you live, use it.

Other Kerala chicken recipes on Edible Garden - chicken biryani, pepper chicken, Kerala chicken roast, chicken thoran.


Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves 4-6

500gm of chicken pieces, with bone
1.5 cups of sliced onions
1 cup of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp of minced ginger
1 tbsp of minced garlic
3/4 tsp of chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
2 tsp of Eastern meat or chicken masala*, heaped
1 cup of grated coconut
2 tbsp of coconut pieces
2 cloves
1" piece of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of fennel seeds (perumjeerakam)
A fistful of curry leaves
4 tbsp of coconut oil


1. Heat oil in large wok or pan and saute the onions, ginger, and garlic together. Using an iron wok will give the curry a deeper colour as you see in the pics above.

2. Meanwhile, dry roast the coconut until golden brown. Switch off heat and add the whole spices - fennel, cloves, cinnamon - and mix together so they get some heat from the coconut. Cool and grind to a smooth paste with water. Set aside.

3. Once the onions turn a dark brown, add the meat masala, turmeric, and chilli powder and fry for a minute. Then add the chopped tomatoes and saute for another minute.

4. Add the coconut paste, coconut pieces, and washed chicken pieces to the above mixture, top up with 1 cup water and cook covered on low flame for about 20 mins or the chicken pieces are cooked soft. If the gravy is too thick, you can add more water and bring to boil.

5. Add salt and curry leaves on top. Mix again.

* If you want to make your own meat masala powder, I have noted the main ingredients in Eastern meat masala here. Dry roast the following and powder - 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, a few fenugreek seeds, 1 bay leaf, 2 cloves, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 tsp whole black pepper, small piece of cinnamon, nutmeg powder, curry leaves.

Serve chicken curry hot with Kerala appam, chapatis, or rice.

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