Kozhi Kuttan

Keralan Style Chicken Curry

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.


  1. 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.3.Kozhi-spices

  2. 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.4.Kozhi-spice-paste

  3. 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.


  • http://latenightcook.blogspot.com Ancy

    Tried this recipe today. Turned out amazing! I come from a Syrian Christian household in Kerala, so this reminded me of home. The fresh roasted spices makes all the difference.

  • Craig Stewart

    I trid this recipe for the first time last night and it was delicious. An amazing gravy. Strongly recommended.

  • Craig stewart

    I can’t believe that it was two years ago that I made this curry anf left the message below! I’m disappointed to note that no one has commented since but like to think they’re too busy eating to write. Anyway, made this again last night and it was absolutely delicious with my daughter helping herself to seconds when she thought nobody was looking. My only tweak was using breast meat which for some reason I’m into at the moment. I’m wondering whether it would work with lamb or beef.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      So glad to hear you’ve enjoyed it!:)

  • Natalia Shemaniak

    Your page is the source of some of my most favourite recipies. I love this and have been cooking it for years !

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Thank you thats so wonderful to hear! Lots more coming up on the website in a few weeks so stay tuned:)

  • Stephen Morgan

    Hi Maunika, I’m just making the Keralan Kozhi Kuttan.
    Do you slice, crush or leave whole the garlic for the paste ? Also, in the book it has twice the fennel seeds but no cloves ! Which would you recommend ?
    Many thanks and thoroughly enjoying working through your various recipies 🙂

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      All the paste ingredients need to be roasted so leave the garlic whole and they will soften as they fry and blend to a paste. I prefer the flavour of fennel so have upped it but you can half the quantity if you prefer. Enjoy!