Malabar Chicken Curry is a Kerala-style chicken curry that is creamy, delicious, and goes well with roti, appam, ghee rice, Kerala parotta, pathiri, or coconut rice. Here is how to make it.
About This Recipe
Malabar is a region in Kerala and is dominated by the Muslim population. This region has a slightly 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 that is cooked in coconut oil and has a very 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 quite easy to bring together as well.
Some people make it without coconut too and that also tastes fabulous.
Chicken – Try to get bone-in skinless chicken for this recipe. Bones soak up the flavor nicely 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 nice South Indian touch to the recipe.
Spice Powders – To add a little more taste, add coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and black pepper powder.
Tomatoes – The base of the curry is made using tomatoes which also adds a slight tartness to it.
Coconut Paste – This is the ingredient that makes it different from the other chicken curries. Grind chopped fresh coconut with a little 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 – Apart from the above-mentioned ingredients, you will also need some basic ingredients such as onions, green chili peppers, ginger-garlic paste, and salt. You can adjust green chilies according to your heat preference.
For tempering – The tempering is optional but it does add a 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-size 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). Stir frequently while frying.
Add 15-20 curry leaves, 3-4 green chili peppers (slit into half), and 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste and fry for 2-3 minutes.
Add 2 tablespoon coriander powder, ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, 2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder, and 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. In case bone-in chicken is not your thing, you can use cubes of boneless chicken 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.
For tempering, heat 2 tablespoon coconut oil in a small pan over medium-high heat.
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. Stir 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 also tastes great with any 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 has thickened after freezing, add some more water while heating.
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Malabar Chicken Curry Recipe
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 15-20 curry leaves
- 3-4 green chili peppers (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 chicken (750 g, cut into 1-½ inch chunks)
- salt 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 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 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. Keep stirring frequently.
- Pour the tempering over the chicken curry and mix well. Serve hot with pathiri or coconut rice.