Kerala Chicken Curry With Coconut (Nadan Kozhi Kari)

Kerala chicken curry, also called nadan chicken curry is a specialty of Kerala, one of the Southern Indian states. This simple chicken curry is full of delicious flavors from coconut oil, fresh coconut, fennel seeds and other Indian spices.

Kerala chicken curry in a white bowl with a spoon in it.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Kerala style chicken curry is yet another of my easy chicken recipes you can eat for a weeknight dinner. Made with simple ingredients, this yummy nadan kozhi curry may become your favorite curry recipe.

Forget those smooth and creamy curries. Okay fine, you’ll love the creamy chicken kofta curry and dal palak, too.

But here we’re talking about spicy, rustic nadan chicken curry with rich flavors of Kerala like coconut and fennel seeds.

You’ll realize the uniqueness of this curry right from when you smell the aroma of the onions being sautéed in coconut oil. And also when you bite into delicious small bits of browned shallots and curry leaves.

This is yet another of my mom’s recipes, like the sprouted moong curry, a recipe I modified by sprouting mung beans.

But this “nadan kozhi kari” recipe is the original one without any changes. Straight from the state of Kerala to your table!

Video

Ingredients

(You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this page.)

Making this nadan kozhi curry is straightforward, though it involves quite a few spices. (Unlike the 5-ingredient chicken curry)

Labelled ingredients for Kerala chicken curry.
  • Chicken: Use bone-in pieces for curries, since bones add to the flavor. I’ve used bone-in thighs here, as in pepper chicken curry. You can also use other cuts of chicken. (Check the recipe tips below for details.)
  • Coconut oil: most of the kerala recipes use coconut oil. It gives a sort of richness to the curry.
  • Onions: you’ll need red onions for the gravy base and pearl onions for tempering. If you don’t have pearl onions, they can be replaced with regular white or red onions.
  • Fresh coconut: This recipe uses coconut paste made by blending grated coconut or chunks of coconut. If not available, use store-bought coconut cream.
  • Fennel seeds and curry leaves: Apart from coconut and coconut oil, nadan chicken curry gets its characteristic taste from these two ingredients. You can still make the curry without them, but you won’t get the taste of “Kerala curry”.
  • Chili powder: I’ve used regular chili powder for heat and Kashmiri chili powder for the color. If you don’t want the heat but would like your curry to look fiery and spicy, you can use Kashmiri chili powder to replace the regular one.

But then it wouldn’t be the authentic Kerala chicken curry that we love, right? It’s up to you to decide.

How To Make Kerala Chicken Curry- step by step

Marinate The Chicken

Marinated chicken thighs in a glass bowl.

Marinate chicken thighs with Kashmiri chili powder, garam masala, salt, pepper and lemon juice for a minimum of 30 minutes. If time permits, marinate overnight in the fridge.

Make The Gravy

  • Heat coconut oil in a deep pot. Sauté onions and curry leaves for a couple of minutes, until onions are browned.
  • Add minced ginger and garlic and sauté until it browns.
  • Add marinated chicken thighs and sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Mix in water and the spices. Set the flame to high and bring it to a boil.
  • Cover and simmer on low flame for 15 minutes.

Make Coconut Paste

  • Blend fresh grated coconut (or chunks) with fennel seeds and water.
  • Add the coconut paste and garam masala to the simmering curry and cook covered for another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the ingredients for tempering.

Tempering The Nadan Curry

  • Heat coconut oil in a pan or wok. Sauté dry chilies, curry leaves and finely chopped pearl onions until well-browned.
  • Mix into the curry and turn off the flame.
  • Devour!

Tips To Make The Best Nadan Chicken Curry

Nadan chicken curry in a white bowl with a spoon in it.
  1. Marinating: Try to marinate the chicken as long as possible. Marinating overnight gives the best results.
  2. Making the gravy: The taste of this chicken curry depends on how long you patiently sauté the ingredients before adding water. Use medium-low flame and fry patiently until the onions turn translucent and the chicken changes color.
  3. Cooking time: The time I’ve mentioned here is for medium-sized bone-in thigh pieces. Adjust the simmering time based on the size of the chicken pieces. It’s better to check the chicken for doneness after 10 minutes of simmering the curry. The chicken should almost fall apart when you apply pressure with a spoon.
  4. Tempering: Ensure that the pearl onions are well-browned for that smoky-sweet flavor.
  5. Cayenne pepper and paprika can be used as substitutes for chilli powder and Kashmiri chili powder respectively.
  6. For extra flavor: Add a dollop of the Indian curry paste when you add spices to the gravy.

Printable Curry Paste Recipe

Grab a printable copy of the curry paste that helps home cooks like you cook different curries in 30 minutes or less:

.

What To Serve With Nadan Kozhi Curry

Nadan chicken curry served with rice on a white plate and rice and curry in separate white bowls next to it.

Typically, nadan chicken curry is served with plain boiled white/red/brown rice. (I use a mix of white and brown rice to balance taste and nutrition.)

If you’re on a keto or low carb diet, pair this curry with coconut cauliflower rice or lemon garlic quinoa.

You can also serve it with dosa, pathiri, appam, parotta or chapathi.

None of those are available in your kitchen? No worries.

Eat this Kerala style chicken curry with any bread of your choice. You just need SOMETHING to dunk into this deliciousness!

Health Benefits of Coconut

(Source)

  • Coconut is a high fat fruit that is highly nutritious and has been associated with a wide range of health benefits.
  • In particular, coconut is rich in antioxidants, has powerful antibacterial properties, and may support better blood sugar control.
  • Coconuts are low in carbs and high in fiber and fat, which may be beneficial for blood sugar control.
  • Although coconut meat is high in fat, it also contains MCTs, which are metabolized differently than other types of fat. The meat also provides carbs and protein along with many essential minerals, such as manganese, copper, iron, and selenium.
  • Coconuts contain polyphenol antioxidants that can help protect your cells from damage, which may aid in the prevention of chronic disease.

Love coconut? You might want to try this yummy mango pomegranate salad with coconut.

However, coconut is very high in fat and calories, so be sure to moderate your intake if you are trying to lose weight or need to follow a low fat diet.

More (bone-in) Chicken Recipes

Boneless Chicken Recipes

More Curry Recipes

Kerala chicken curry in a white bowl with a spoon in it. and a bowl of rice next to it.

Kerala Style Chicken Curry Recipe

Kerala chicken curry, also called nadan chicken curry is a specialty of Kerala, one of the Southern Indian states. This simple chicken curry is full of delicious flavors from coconut oil, fresh coconut, fennel seeds and other Indian spices.
Author: Sheeba
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course curry, dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 8
Calories 284 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 8 Chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri chili powder (divided)
  • teaspoons chili powder
  • ¾ teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • teaspoons salt (adjust to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 large red onions finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • ½ cup grated coconut (or chunks)
  • teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 8 to 10 pearl onions finely chopped
  • a handful of curry leaves
  • 2 dry red chilies

Instructions
 

Marinate chicken thighs

  • Marinate chicken thighs with 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and 2 tablespoon lemon juice for a minimum of 30 minutes. (note 1)

Prepare the gravy

  • Heat 2 teaspoons of coconut oil in a deep pot. Sauté onions and curry leaves for a couple of minutes, until onions are browned.
  • Add minced ginger and garlic and sauté until it browns.
  • Add marinated chicken thighs and sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Add 1½ tsp chili powder, 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder, 2 tsp coriander powder, ¼ tsp turmeric, ½ teaspoon salt with 1½ cups of water. Stir well .
  • Set the flame to high and bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer on low flame for 15 minutes. (note 2)

Make coconut paste

  • Blend ½ cup grated coconut and 1½ tsp fennel seeds with ¼ cup water until you get a smooth paste.
  • Add the coconut paste and ½ tsp garam masala to the simmering gravy. Let it cook for 5 minutes.

Tempering

  • Heat 1 tsp coconut oil in a non-stick pan or wok. Add dry chilies, finely chopped pearl onions and curry leaves. Sauté on medium-low flame until well browned. Mix into the curry and turn off the flame.
  • Serve with rice, appam, chapathi or any bread of your choice.

Video

Notes

  1. If time permits, marinate the chicken thighs overnight in the fridge.
  2. The simmering time mentioned here is for chicken thighs. It’s the same for small drumsticks. Add 5 minutes for larger drumsticks. If you’re using smaller pieces of chicken, reduce the cooking time accordingly.
  3. Check the doneness of chicken by applying light pressure to the thickest part with a spoon. The flesh should almost fall apart.
  4. Cayenne pepper and paprika can be used as substitutes for chilli powder and Kashmiri chili powder respectively.
 
Nutrition facts for kerala chicken curry.

★★★★★Did you try this recipe? Please give a star rating in the comments below ★★★★★

HUNGRY FOR MORE? Join over 1000 home cooks like you who subscribe to my weekly newsletter to get all the latest recipes right in your inbox. Or follow me on your favorite social media: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube. Thank you and happy cooking!

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2022

2 thoughts on “Kerala Chicken Curry With Coconut (Nadan Kozhi Kari)”

  1. 5 stars
    I love Keralan style curries – the coconut creaminess is totally my thing. But I don’t often make this style at home but this was really delicious and easy to make too.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Rate this recipe




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.