A delicious, fragrant chicken peppered with aromatic South Indian spices and browned notes of roasted coconut. Easy to make, and impressive to serve, this is a must-try for lunch or dinner.
- 2 medium-sized chicken breast halves (300gm), cut into 1-1½” cubes
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric Click here to buy our favourite turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon red chilli, ground Click here to buy our favourite red chilli powder
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ground (optional) Click here to buy our favourite Sri Lankan Cinnamon Powder
- 8-10 curry leaves
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil Click here to buy cold-pressed virgin coconut oil
- 1” ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 6-8 shallots, roughly chopped
For masala mix:
- 1 teaspoon cumin, whole
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (aniseeds)
- 6-10 black peppercorns
- 2-3 green cardamom pods
- 2-3 cloves
- ½ cup coconut, freshly grated
- ½ cup of water
- Apply 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon turmeric, ground red chilli, and cinnamon to the chicken.
- Grind ginger, garlic and shallots together.
- Heat pan or wok on high heat. Dry roast cumin, fennel, pepper, cardamom and cloves, for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add grated coconut to the pan. Dry roast, for another 2-3 minutes until coconut starts browning.
- Grind coconut spice mixture in a food processor or mixer.
- Heat oil in a wok or deep frying pan on medium heat.
- Add shallot paste, curry leaves, and stir. Cook, for about 1-2 minutes until shallots start browning.
- Add chicken to the pan and stir, for 5-6 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
- Add the coconut masala mix and ½ cup of water to the pan. Stir fry to coat chicken evenly. Cover and lower heat to simmer, for 4-5 minutes until done.
- Serve with rice or appams.
Grated coconut is definitely critical. If using desiccated are sure it is not sweetened. Fennel gives the masala special fragrance and you should try to include it or substitute with anise seed. IF you don’t have cloves skip them, but make sure you use green cardamom (not the fat black cardamom, which is more North Indian.) Coconut oil gives Kerala food its unique flavour and is healthy as well. If it isn’t available, use any vegetable oil without strong flavour.