Kerala Style Chicken Stew is a traditional dish from the state of Kerala (India). It is a mild chicken curry prepared using bone-in chicken, veggies, spices, and coconut milk. Make it using my easy recipe and serve it with steamed rice, appam, or hoppers.
Here are a few more recipes from Kerala that you will absolutely love – Kerala Prawn Curry, Kerala Style Mango Pickle, Kerala Parotta, Kerala Egg Curry, Moru Curry, Kerala Fish Curry, Ulli Theeyal, and Kerala Style Fish Moilee.
About Kerala Chicken Stew
Kerala Style Chicken Stew, locally known as Nadan Kozhi Ishtu is a famous chicken curry from the state of Kerala in India.
It is a mild curry made using bone-in chicken, spices, veggies, and coconut milk.
Kerala chicken stew is best served with steamed rice, appam, or sting hoppers (idiyappam).
Make this traditional curry using my easy recipe.
Chicken – Use skinless bone-in chicken pieces as they soak up the flavors nicely. Having said that, if you are not a bone-in chicken person, you can use boneless chicken cut into small pieces.
Vegetables – I have added veggies such as potatoes and carrots, but you can also add green beans, green peas, cauliflower, etc.
Coconut Milk – Coconut milk makes the base of this curry. You will need thin coconut milk and thick coconut milk.
To make thin coconut milk, mix ¼ cup thick coconut milk with 2 and ¼ cups of water.
Cashew Nut Paste – It adds creaminess and richness to the curry.
Whole Spices – This curry is mildly spiced with whole spices like green cardamoms (hari elaichi), cloves (laung), cinnamon (dalchini), black peppercorns (kali mirch), and bay leaves (tejpatta).
Oil – Use only coconut oil for the traditional authentic taste.
Others – You will also need onions, fresh ginger, garlic, green chilies, curry leaves, and salt.
Tempering – Tempering is optional but adds so much taste, so it’s highly recommended. For tempering, you will need coconut oil, pearl onions (shallots), and curry leaves.
How To Make Kerala-Style Chicken Stew
Heat 3 tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is hot, add 2 green cardamoms, 2-3 cloves, 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick, 3-4 peppercorns, and 2 bay leaves and saute for 5-6 seconds.
Add 2 cups of thinly sliced onions, 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger, and 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic, and fry until the onions turn translucent. Stir frequently.
Add 3-4 green chilies (slit into half) and 10-12 curry leaves and cook until the onions turn light brown, stirring frequently.
Now add 2 pounds (1 kg) of rinsed skinless bone-in chicken (cut into 1 and ½ inch pieces), 2 and ½ cups of thin coconut milk, and 2 teaspoon salt and mix well.
Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring very frequently.
Reduce the heat to low.
Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 20 minutes.
Stir a few times in between.
Note – The coconut milk might curdle while cooking. But don’t worry; the curry will be fine once you add thick coconut milk at the end of cooking. But if you still want the milk not to curdle, add a tablespoon of cornstarch. It will also make the curry creamier.
Add ½ cup of peeled and cubed potatoes and ½ cup of peeled and cubed carrots and cook until chicken and vegetables are cooked well (20-25 minutes). Stir a few times in between.
Now add ¼ cup of cashew nut paste and 1 cup of thick coconut milk and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Check for salt and add more if needed.
For tempering, heat 2 tablespoon coconut oil in a small pan.
Once the oil is hot, add 4-5 sliced shallots and 10-12 curry leaves and fry until shallots turn golden brown in color.
Pour the tempering over the chicken stew and mix well.
Pro Tips By Neha
Make sure the coconut milk in which you are cooking the chicken is thin. If it’s thick, then there are chances of it splitting while cooking.
To make cashew nut paste, soak 20-25 cashews in ½ cup of hot water for 30 minutes. Then blend in a blender to make a smooth paste.
This Ishtu is traditionally served with steamed rice, appam, or hoppers. You can also serve it with Kerala parotta, tawa paratha, or lachha paratha.
Kerala Style Chicken Stew will last a day or two in the refrigerator, as coconut milk is one of its main ingredients.
It is also not freezer friendly, as the coconut milk will split while thawing.
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Traditional Kerala Style Chicken Stew Recipe
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 whole green cardamoms
- 2-3 whole clove
- 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
- 3-4 whole black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups thinly sliced onions
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 3-4 green chilies (slit into half)
- 10-12 curry leaves
- 2 pounds skinless bone-in chicken (1 kg, cut into 1 and ½ inch pieces, rinsed)
- 2 and ½ cups thin coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
- ½ cup peeled and cubed potatoes (½-inch cubes)
- ½ cup peeled and cubed carrots (½-inch cubes)
- ¼ cup cashew nut paste
- 1 cup thick coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 4-5 pearl onions (sliced)
- 10-12 curry leaves
- Heat coconut oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add green cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and bay leaves and saute for 5-6 seconds.
- Add onions, ginger, and garlic, and fry until the onions turn translucent. Stir frequently.
- Add green chilies and curry leaves and cook until the onions turn light brown in color, stirring frequently.
- Now add chicken, thin coconut milk, and salt and mix well.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring very frequently.
- Reduce the heat to low.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 20 minutes.
- Stir a few times in between.
- Note – The coconut milk might curdle while cooking. But don’t worry, the curry will be fine once you add thick coconut milk at the end of cooking. But if you still want the milk to not curdle, then add a tablespoon of cornstarch to it. It will also make the curry creamier.
- Add potatoes and carrots and cook until chicken and vegetables are cooked well (20-25 minutes). Stir a few times in between.
- Now add cashew nut paste and coconut milk and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Check for salt and add more if needed.
- For tempering, heat coconut oil in a small pan.
- Once the oil is hot, add shallots and curry leaves and fry until shallots turn golden brown in color.
- Pour the tempering over the chicken stew and mix well.
- Serve hot.
Thalia @ butter and brioche
wow this chicken stew looks amazing!! totally bet it was so aromatic too and your kitchen smelt amazing. perfect winter fare for the cold weather in australia right now!
Thnx a lot Thlia. It was indeed very good 🙂
This recipe looks very yummy. Just want to know one thing here. You mentioned adding thin coconut milk. Where can I get that? Can we just add water to make it thin?
Hi Shivani. When you make coconut milk at home fresh coconut, the first milk that you get is thick milk and the second one is the thin milk. But if you are using store bought one, please add water and use. Thnx
Thanks so much Neha…Trying it today 😀 Lets see how it comes out
I hope it came out good 🙂
Thanks for the run thru. The finished product looks yummilicious! 🙂
I am curious if this recipe could be converted to a crock pot version? I would really like to make this but unfortunately do not own a pressure cooker. Thank you for your time and recipe!
Hi Carley, You can definitely make it in a crock pot 🙂
This is my go to recipe for stew! The family loves it!!!
Hi Neha, How much is one cup?
I use standard cup measures for all my recipes.
Good to know
I just made this for Dinner today!! It’s exactly how my grandma would make it =) Totally delicious!! i had some Appam mix and made some quick appams as well .. My husband is American so this will be his first time eating this meal .. Im so excited because it truly is delicious!
I just added a bit of sugar to the gravy right at the end … and it gave it that push over the edge into total blissful oblivion =)
Thnx for trying the recipe Sonia 🙂
Thank you Dr Neha for sharing this wonderful recipe. It’s amazing compliment to appams. Thank you so much
Glad you liked it.
Love cooking, what you post. Thank You
Brototi Das Gupta
I tried this recipe today. It tasted so wonderful that it has gone into my recipe diary for repeat rounds. Thank you and regards!
I am glad 🙂
I am glad you liked the recipe.
Sarbani Bhattacharya Sander
I can’t believe how delicious this stew was!! I used regular oil instead of coconut oil. For tempering, heated a tbsp of unsalted butter, roasted some cashews and curry leaves and added it to the stew. Fingerlicious good! Thanks Neha!
Thanks for trying 🙂
Ranjit Singh Kohli
Awesome…. very good change from regular recipes. Has become our favourite.
Glad you liked it 🙂
Thank you for sharing this recipe… it was delicious ????
Happy to hear.
Delicious! Wanted to ask, is the coconut milk splitting normal? It still tastes amazing tho!
Hi Stuti, yes it’s normal. Add only thin coconut milk for cooking. Once the chicken is cooked, then finally add the thick coconut milk.
I have made this recipe often and it is always a hit! Great taste and simple to execute…so extra star for that.
Happy to hear!
Excellent! Made it for my daughters South Indian bday lunch.
Didn’t have coconut oil so used sunflower oil in the chicken and ghee for the tempering. Used 750 gms boneless chicken breast and a 400 ml tin of coconut milk. Ground 1/4 cup cashew nuts in about 2 tablespoons of water. Cooked in less than 20 minutes in the pan. Full of flavour and wholesome. Thanks a million
Happy to hear 🙂
Very easy. Tasty. Was a big hit with friends.
Amazing Receipe, was so easy to make and it was so aromatic and tasty just loved it, will start following you………Thank you awaiting more dishes……..
Happy to hear!
lovely keralA Chicken Stew.