Kerala Chicken Stew

4.56 from 27 votes

Kerala Chicken Stew is a traditional dish from 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.

You will love a few more Kerala recipes: Kerala Prawn Curry, Kerala Style Instant Mango Pickle, Kerala Parotta, Kerala Egg Curry, and Moru Curry.

Kerala chicken stew served in a bowl.
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When we were based in Bangalore, we often traveled to Kerala for vacations. It was a comfortable drive from Bangalore, and there were many nice resorts and activities to indulge in.

On one of the trips, we ate this Kerala-style chicken stew with appams for lunch, and I just loved the curry. After coming back, I researched the recipe, but something was missing every time I made it.

One time, the flavors were not on point, and the other time, the coconut milk curdled so badly that I had to trash the entire pan. After 3-4 attempts, I now have a foolproof method for making this stew, which tastes as good as any Keralite home, and my curry never curdles.

The trick is to cook the chicken slightly before adding the coconut milk. Cook the chicken first in very thin coconut milk; then add the thick milk once it is cooked.

So follow the recipe as is, and I can guarantee that your chicken stew will also turn out perfect.

About Kerala Chicken Stew

Kerala-style chicken Stew, locally known as Nadan Kozhi Ishtu, is a famous chicken curry from Kerala, 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.

Ingredients

Chicken – Use skinless bone-in chicken pieces, as bones add flavor to the curry. However, if you are not a bone-in chicken person, you can use boneless chicken cut into small pieces.

Vegetables – I have added vegetables such as potatoes and carrots, but you can also add green beans, green peas, cauliflower, etc.

Coconut Milk makes the base of Kerala chicken stew curry. You will need thin coconut milk and thick coconut milk.

Mix ¼ cup thick coconut milk with 2 and ¼ cups of water to make thin coconut milk.

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 is optional but adds so much taste that it’s highly recommended. You will need coconut oil, pearl onions (shallots), and curry leaves.

How To Make Kerala-Style Chicken Stew

Make The Stew

Heat 3 tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan over medium-high heat.

Add the following ingredients once the oil is hot and saute for 5-6 seconds.

  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
Whole spices added to hot oil.

Add the following ingredients and cook until the onions turn light brown. Stir frequently.

  • 2 cups of thinly sliced onions
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
Onion, ginger and garlic added to the pan.

Add 3-4 green chilies (slit into half) and 10-12 curry leaves and cook until the onions turn golden brown, stirring frequently.

Note – For a lighter-colored stew, cook the onions until they are just translucent.

Green chilies and curry leaves added to the pan.

Now add 2 pounds (1 kg) of rinsed skinless bone-in chicken (cut into 1 and ½-inch pieces) and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Chicken added to the pan.

Add 2 and ½ cups of thin coconut milk and 2 teaspoon salt and mix well.

Coconut milk and salt added to the pan.

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 don’t want the milk to curdle at all, add a tablespoon of cornstarch to it. It will also make the curry creamier.

Pan covered with a lid.

Add ½ cup of peeled and cubed potatoes and ½ cup of peeled and cubed carrots and mix well.

Cover the pan and cook until the chicken and vegetables are cooked well (20-25 minutes), stirring a few times.

Carrot and potatoes added to the pan.
Pan covered with a lid.

Now add ¼ cup of cashew nut paste and 1 cup of thick coconut milk and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

cashew nut paste and thick coconut milk added to the pan.

Check for salt and add more if needed.

Temper The Stew

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 the shallots turn golden brown.

Fried shallots and curry leaves.

Pour the tempering over the chicken stew and mix well.

Tempering poured over the ready Kerala chicken stew.

Serve hot.

Kerala style chicken stew ready to be served.

Pro Tips By Neha

Make sure the coconut milk in which you cook the chicken is thin. If it’s thick, there is a chance of it splitting (curdling) 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.

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Kerala Chicken Stew is a traditional dish from 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.
4.56 from 27 votes

Kerala Chicken Stew Recipe

Kerala 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.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 whole green cardamoms (hari elaichi)
  • 2-3 whole clove (laung)
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick (dalchini)
  • 3-4 whole black peppercorns (kali mirch)
  • 2 bay leaves (tejpatta)
  • 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 (To make thin coconut milk, mix together ¼ cup thick coconut milk with 2 and ¼ cups of water.)
  • 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

For Tempering

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4-5 pearl onions (sliced)
  • 10-12 curry leaves
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Instructions 

Make The Stew

  • 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 cook until the onions are light brown in color. Stir frequently.
  • Add green chilies and curry leaves and cook until the onions turn golden brown in color, stirring frequently.
  • Note – For a lighter-colored stew, cook the onions until they are just translucent.
  • Now add chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add thin coconut milk and salt and mix well.
  • 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 don’t want the milk to curdle at all, add a tablespoon of cornstarch to it. It will also make the curry creamier.
  • Add potatoes and carrots and mix well. Cover and cook until chicken and vegetables are cooked well (20-25 minutes). Stir a few times in between.
  • Now add cashew nut paste and thick coconut milk and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Check for salt and add more if needed.

Temper The Stew

  • 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.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

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.
I have added veggies such as potatoes and carrots, but you can also add green beans, green peas, cauliflower, etc.
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.

Nutrition

Calories: 366kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 67mg, Sodium: 148mg, Potassium: 366mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 1650IU, Vitamin C: 112.3mg, Calcium: 56mg, Iron: 1.5mg
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