Having a flair for all things regional, south indian food is really no exception. I love the region and more importantly the food on offer. Food in the Malabar coast is synonymous with all things fresh, heart warming and distinct in taste. As a community, southern india is vibrant and varied made up of Hindus, Muslims and Christians. Each of these form a part of the keralan way/ malayali way of cooking; which might I add having sampled the food a fair few times, is delicious and unique.
The key notes in most south indian recipes definitely include some of our favourites too – coconut milk, rice based dishes, curry leaves, bananas, peppercorns and mustard seeds.
‘Kozhi’ meaning chicken is the curry I have featured in this post. It includes an amalgamation of spices that contribute to a gorgeous curry paste which I use for chicken as well as lamb quite often. Coconut oil is traditionally used in this dish and it does add that richness but regular vegetable oil works just as well. The use of coconut milk in this dish is quite minimal and merely to thicken the sauce and add a creamier flavour – so in essence a little goes a long way.
I’ve served this dish with parathas which are crisp, with a stodgy filling and perfect to dunk in the spiced curry.
Marinate the chicken pieces in turmeric powder, beaten yoghurt and salt. Set aside for and hour or so whilst you get on with preparing the paste. In a frying pan add one tablespoon of the oil and roast all the paste ingredients together. Fry for 2-3 minutes until lightly coloured. Cool and using a blender, make a fine paste with 3-4 tablespoons of water.
In a heavy bottom large non stick pan heat the remaining oil and add the slit green chillies letting them sizzle for 10 seconds. Tip in the chopped onions and fry the onions until brown for around 7minutes. Stir in the spice paste and fry for a couple of minutes, then add the pureed tomatoes. Mix in well and until it thickens slightly with the oil leaving the sides of the pan for 3-5 minutes making sure to stir constantly.
At this stage add the marinated chicken pieces and stir well sealing the pieces and coating them with all the spice paste until lightly coloured. Add water and season to taste. Simmer with the lid on for 20minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Now add the coconut milk stir well and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with parathas or soft dosas.