Keralan Chertha Kozhi Kari

Chicken & cashew curry with ginger, cardamom and chilli

Hailing from the Muslim community in Kerala this chicken and cashew curry is traditionally part of the region. With mustard seeds and curry leaves being such a vital part of the cuisine alongside cashews which are locally grown in the region of Kollam across the Malabar Coast. The curry includes yoghurt which is a brilliant marinade; the blended cashew nut paste gives a creamy texture to the gravy. You can also swap chicken for cauliflower or green beans, both working really well with these spices.


  1. In a large mixing bowl add the chicken along with the yoghurt, turmeric and pinch of salt. Mix well and marinate for 2 hours or overnight preferably.

  2. Add all the cashew nut paste ingredients to a blender along with the soaking liquid and blend to a smooth fine paste. Set aside.

  3. In a large heavy bottom sauce pan heat the oil and add the cinnamon and cloves. Let them sizzle for 1 minute. Add the onions and fry over a medium heat for 10-12 minutes. As the change colour and go brown stir well.

  4. Now add the marinated chicken and fry sealing the pieces for 8 minutes. Stir well as they continue to cook in their juices. Lower the heat and season to taste. Add the water and cover cooking with the lid on for 25 minutes. Make sure to stir half way through.

  5. Now add the blended cashew paste and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cardamom powder and turn the heat off. Add a splash of water if the gravy is too thick.

  6. In a small frying pan heat the oil for tempering. Add the cashew nuts and fry for 2 minutes. Stir as they begin to brown. Drain and set aside. In the same oil add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. As they begin to splutter pour it over the chicken along with the cashew nuts. Serve with paratha.

  • Elliott

    Hi Maunika,

    Can you add the mustard seeds and curry leaves in step 3 or will frying them that long change the flavor profile of the curry?

  • Jane

    I made this tonight, it was delicious. I marinaded the chicken for 24 hours and it was worth it. The ingredients list seems too simple but it packs a lot of flavour. I can’t wait to try more of your recipes (I found you through instagram).

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Huraaah! What a feast:)

  • Teresa

    How about cooking this dish in a crockpot? What would be an appropriate timing?

  • OxStudent13

    Frying the whole spices at the beginning smelt like perfume. A great recipe showing another dimension of Indian food! I really enjoy reading your feelings and the history of the recipes before the method so please continue to do so.

  • Marilyn Roosevelt

    Hello Maunika, Thank you for the many recipes I have enjoyed over the years. Quick question, I do not have cashews, but rather slivered bleached almonds. Would this work? and do I have to soak them first? Thank you, Marilyn

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes almonds will do. Soak them for 2 hours in hot water and then grind and add to the curry. Enjoy:)

      • Marilyn Roosevelt

        Thanks for the reply, Maunika. I made it the other night with the almonds and it was so delish. My sauce wasn’t as “saucy” as yours, but I think I needed to add more water as you suggested. Also, I used fresh curry leaves, which were quite strong, but still very, very nice. Do you also use fresh? Are fresh stronger than dried? . Stay well. Marilyn

  • Rajesh Kumar

    Thanks, really enjoyed the dish.

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