Malabar Chicken Curry is a Kerala-style chicken curry that is creamy and delicious and goes well with roti, appam, ghee rice, Kerala parotta, pathiri, or coconut rice. Here is how to make it (gluten-free).
Here are some more chicken curries that you may like – Malai Chicken Curry, Methi Chicken Curry, Chicken Masala, and Chicken Jalfrezi.
About Malabar Chicken Curry
Malabar is a region in Kerala and is dominated by the Muslim population. This region has a unique way of cooking from the rest of the state, and the slight difference in the cooking method is evident in their cuisine.
Malabar Chicken Curry is a Kerala-style (specifically Malabar region) chicken curry cooked in coconut oil and has a distinct taste from the use of curry leaves, spices, coconut paste, and coconut oil.
The sauce is luscious and creamy, and the coconut flavor shines through. It is pretty easy to bring together as well.
Some people make this curry without coconut, and that version also tastes fabulous.
This Malabar chicken curry recipe is gluten-free and can easily be doubled or tripled.
Chicken – Try to get bone-in-skinless chicken for this recipe. Bones release a lot of flavors making the curry taste even more delicious.
Having said that, it can also be made using boneless chicken cubes.
Oil – Use coconut oil for that authentic taste. In case you don’t have it, use any vegetable oil.
Curry Leaves – Use fresh curry leaves for the best flavor. It adds a lovely South Indian touch to the recipe.
Spice Powders – To add a bit of taste, add coriander powder, turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, and black pepper powder.
Tomatoes – The curry base uses fresh tomatoes, adding a slight tartness.
Coconut Paste – This ingredient makes it different from the other chicken curries. Grind chopped fresh coconut with water in a high-speed blender to make coconut paste.
If fresh coconut is not available, use frozen coconut. You will get it in the freezer section of any Indian grocery store.
DO NOT use desiccated dry coconut to make this recipe.
Others – You will also need some basic ingredients such as onions, green chilies, ginger-garlic paste, and salt. You can adjust green chilies according to your heat preference.
For tempering – The tempering is optional, but it adds great flavor. The chicken curry is tempered with a coconut oil tadka of shallots, mustard seeds, and fresh coconut.
How To Make Malabar Chicken Curry
Heat 4 tablespoon coconut oil in a medium-sized heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is hot, add 1 cup of chopped onions and fry until the onions turn slightly brown (8-10 minutes), stirring frequently.
Add 15-20 curry leaves, 3-4 green chilies (slit into half), and 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste and fry for 2-3 minutes.
- 2 tablespoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper powder
and fry for 10-15 seconds.
Now add 1 cup of chopped tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes. Keep mashing the tomatoes from the back of a ladle.
Add 26 oz (750 g) bone-in skinless chicken (cut into 1 and ½-inch pieces) and cook for 3-4 minutes on high heat.
If bone-in chicken is not your thing, you can use boneless chicken cubes too.
Add 1 cup of fresh coconut paste, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ cup water. Mix well.
Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan using a tight-fitting lid. Cook until the chicken is tender (30-35 mins).
Stir a few times while cooking.
Open the lid and check for salt. Add more salt if needed and cook for another minute.
Heat 2 tablespoon coconut oil in a small pan over medium-high heat for tempering.
Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds and let them crackle for 2-3 seconds. Add ¼ cup chopped or grated fresh coconut and ¼ cup sliced shallots to the pan.
Fry on medium-high heat until they turn slightly brown, stirring frequently.
Pour the tempering over the chicken curry and mix well. Serve hot with pathiri or coconut rice.
This curry is traditionally served with appam, Kerala parotta, ghee rice, coconut rice, or pathiri (rice flour flatbread).
But it tastes great with Indian bread like naan, lachha paratha, or roti.
You can also serve it with plain steamed rice or jeera rice.
Refrigerate the curry in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
You can freeze it for up to 1 month.
Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, heat well, and serve. If the gravy thickens after freezing, add more water while reheating.
You Might Also Like
Malabar Chicken Curry Recipe
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 15-20 curry leaves
- 3-4 green chilies (slit into half)
- 1 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
- 2 tablespoons coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper powder
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 26 ounces bone-in skinless chicken (750 g, cut into 1-½ inch chunks)
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 cup fresh coconut paste (To make coconut paste, add ¾ cup chopped fresh coconut and ½ water to a blender. Blend until smooth.)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- ¼ cup chopped fresh coconut
- ¼ cup sliced shallots
- Heat coconut oil in a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add onions and fry until they turn slightly brown (8-10 minutes). Stir frequently while frying.
- Add curry leaves, green chilies, and ginger-garlic paste and fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Add coriander powder, turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, and black pepper powder and fry for 10-15 seconds.
- Now add tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes. Keep mashing the tomatoes from the back of a ladle.
- Add chicken and salt and cook for 3-4 minutes on high heat.
- Add fresh coconut paste and ½ cup of water to the pan. Mix well.
- Reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan using a tight-fitting lid and cook until the chicken is tender. It will take 30-35 minutes.
- Stir a few times while cooking.
- Open the lid and check for salt. Add more salt if needed and cook for another minute.
- For tempering, heat coconut oil in a small pan over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and let them crackle for 2-3 seconds. Add coconut and shallots.
- Fry until they turn slightly brown, stirring frequently.
- Pour the tempering over the chicken curry and mix well. Serve hot with pathiri or coconut rice.
I tried this recipe and it was a super hit in my house. Loved the different flavours of the spices along with the fresh coconut. It goes extremely well with patiri.
Happy to hear!
I don’t cook much as i find it tedious..but this recipe is so simple and it turned out just the way as it looks in the photograph and it was approved by my family who are better cooks than me! Thank you very much..
Good to know 🙂
How many onions and tomatoes must be used?
The size of onions and tomatoes can be very different. In the US, the onions I used were almost double in size of what we get in India. The same goes with garlic and tomatoes too. It’s better to stick to the cup measurements.