Keralan Chicken Curry with Chillies & Coconut Milk

A creamy South Indian coconut chicken curry recipe that's packed with flavour.


0.5 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp Greek yogurt, lightly whisked
800 g chicken on the bone, skinned and jointed
3 tbsp Sunflower Oil
2 green birds eye chillies, slit lengthways
170 g large onion, thinly sliced
140 g tomatoes, pureed to a smooth paste
100 ml water
100 ml thick coconut milk
Sea Salt to taste
1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander, to garnish

For the paste
1 tbsp Sunflower Oil
2.5 cm piece ginger, roughly chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tbsp coriander seeds
4 dried whole kashmiri red chillies (or any dried mild chillies)
2 heaped tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp black peppercorn
4 cm piece cinnamon bark
5 green cardamom pods, seeds only


Put the turmeric, yogurt and a pinch of salt in a bowl and mix well.
Add the chicken pieces and leave to marinate for an hour or so.
Meanwhile, make the paste.
Place a frying pan over a low heat and add oil, followed by ginger and garlic.
Fry for about a minute, then add all the paste ingredients and fry for 5-6 minutes until lightly coloured.
Leave to cool, then put the mixture in a blender, add 50-70ml water and blitz to a fine paste.
Set aside.
Place a heavy-bottomed non-stick pan heat and add the 3 tbsp of oil.
When hot add the birds eye chillies, letting them sizzle for about 10 seconds.
Tip in the onion and a pinch of salt and fry for 10-12 minutes or until browned.
Add the pureed tomatoes and stir well, cooking for 3 minutes.
Now add the spice paste and fry for a 4-5 minutes, stirring well, until the sauce thickens slightly and the oil leaving the sides of the pan.
Turn the heat up slightly and add the marinated chicken pieces, stirring well to coat them with the spice paste.
Fry for 4 minutes until lightly coloured.
Add the water and season to taste.
Simmer, covered, for 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Add the coconut milk, stir well and simmer for a further 5-7 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened.
Garnish with chilli flakes or coriander and serve with Apple and fennel raita and parathas.