Kerala style chicken slow cooked in spices and coconut cream

kerala chicken

I’ve been making this recipe for couple of years now and it’s a home classic! But last night, a few improvisations made it even more delectable.

So what is this recipe?

I’d say, “Well, this is a Kerala style chicken curry of sorts!” Trust me, foodies familiar with Kerala cuisine will undoubtedly say that’s quite vague. For a start, almost all curries originating from Kerala will feature coconut in some form or the other. That much is granted! The curries will usually highlight one spice, such as red chillies or black pepper, or a combination of several traditional spices.

In taste, this curry comes close to variations traditional in the southern parts of Kerala.

What makes this recipe insane is the unbelievable amount of flavour that gets packed in with simple rustic techniques! For slow cooked Indian curries, general rule of the thumb is to use thigh fillets over other cuts. Thigh fillets have just the right amount of fat in them to make the curries taste delicious when combined with spices. But one of the other secrets to make this recipe hit home is to use chicken thighs on the bone.  Enough said, let’s get down to making this delicious dish..

Chicken cooked with traditional Kerala spices

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: 6 serves

Chicken cooked with traditional Kerala spices

This dish goes exceptionally well with Kerala Porottas. But you can also serve it with your choice of bread or white rice!


  • Spices & Condiments
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp black pepper - freshly crushed is the best, although the powdered off-the-shelf alternative does the job quite well
  • 2 twigs of fresh coriander leaves
  • < 1/4 tsp of ground cardamom
  • 200 ml light coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Meat & Veggies
  • 1.5 kg chicken thighs on the bone (skin removed) - from Aldi
  • 2 large red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove of chopped garlic
  • 1 cm piece of chopped ginger
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped


  1. Prepping the chicken
  2. Firstly, remove the skin on the chicken thigh pieces. Then cut the thigh pieces into two lots - fillets and bony chunks. I did this to extract maximum flavour from the bones - we'll get to it in a bit!
  3. Keep a deep bottom vessel (alternatively use a pressure cooker - please vary times accordingly) on high flame and when its quite hot, add in the bony chunks of chicken.
  4. Lower the heat and keep turning until the pieces are browned and whatever fat there was on the bone has come off. Add salt and a bit of pepper at this stage.
  5. Take the pieces out and drain them on a paper towel.
  6. Add the remaining chicken into the pan in batches and brown them lightly; repeat the above step!
  7. Cooking
  8. Add the mustard seeds to the hot pan with chicken oil and wait till they crackle.
  9. Add coriander powder, turmeric and chilli powder.
  10. Add in the garlic and ginger; sauté until browned
  11. Now add in the onions and to it the coconut oil; add salt, stir well and cook for 10 mins until browned.
  12. Add the chicken pieces and give it a good stir. Stir in the black pepper. Cover and cook for 15 mins.
  13. Now add the tomatoes.
  14. In 10 mins, add coconut cream and cardamom powder.
  15. Cover and cook for 15 mins.
  16. Sprinkle coriander leaves (& stem); cover & cook for another 20 mins or until the chicken falls off the bone.
  17. Voila!
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