Malabar Chicken Curry

First post of the new year!!

I wanted to post something which is a “pakka” kerala dish as the first post of this year. This has something to do with a new year resolution ( I dont know whether I should call it a resolution because usually my resolutions backfire :( ) Anyways, this year I want to give some priority to Kerala dishes. Though I've posted many Kerala recipes, I still get feedback or requests for more and more Kerala dishes. But…if you go through my Kerala recipes, you can see that majority of them are non veg recipes. Apart from a few veg curries that I usually make, I dont venture much into Kerala style veggies…however I hope I will try some veg curries this year.

I made this chicken curry for new year lunch along with ghee rice. Since I wanted to make something”nadan” I was going through my Kerala cookery books. I have this habit of marking the recipes in the book, which I want to try and after trying it I make a note also about whether I liked it, whether I added something extra, cooking time etc; That's one habit I got from my cooking guru, my aunty, Tesschechy and I found it quite useful too, because I might be making that recipe again after a long gap and this notes helps me a lot.

Enough of this & that…lets go to the recipe. It's a spicy one and we enjoyed its sight, aroma and taste :)

Update on 10/05/2013: Since I've been getting a lot of requests to put the measurements in cups/spoon rather than grams. I've tried the recipe recently using cup/spoon measurement and below is the updated recipe.

Recommended Side dishes: Ghee rice, Vegetable Pulao, Palappam, Kallappam, Malabar Pathiri

Click Here For Recipe…

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95 thoughts on “Malabar Chicken Curry”

    • Yes Nupur, you can use desiccated coconut. But I think, may be you can reduce the qty a bit.

      Hope you will get to try it soon and like it too.


  1. CAN ANY 1 TELL ME HOW TO MAKE THE CHICKEN VERY VERY SOFT OR SPONGY ????? is ther any secrets in that … alwys very harder to eat…….. can any 1 sugges hw to prepare???

    • Saravanan, chicken tends to become hard when it’s overcooked. Try reducing the cooking time.

      Also I’ve read somewhere that if you soak the chicken pieces in buttermilk, it tenderizes the meat, however I havent tried it yet.

      Hope this helps..

  2. Hi chechi,

    Tried this yesterday.I was a bit skeptical about being able to pull this off, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise! We are big fans of ‘varutharacha’ curry.But for some reason, for the past couple of years,it was a rarity in our kitchen.Now its back and how!Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

    And my amma is fine now.she is resting after a surgery.One special ‘hello’ to you from my amma. Thanks again:)

    • Hi Jewel,

      how are you?

      Varutharacha curry is a fav here too. I’m so happy that it came out well for you :)

      Please do convey my regards to aunty. Hope she is doing good.

      Take care,

  3. Hi Maria,

    I was wondering when you say ‘well fried’ what do you mean? Do you mean translucent, golden brown, brown or crispy?

    Also could you specify for the 3 onions are they all brown? or is one crispy and one golden brown.


    I am cooking this now and it’s not turning out well. I must not have fried the onions enough because the curry is very white. Also, when I weighed out 100gms of coriander it’s almost a half cup (actually I didn’t have any more coriander so it could be more).

    • Hi Mariam,

      Onions should be golden brown in both first and second stages of cooking. Also the coconut has to be fried till it’s golden brown, the curry gets the colour from that and the masalas..

  4. Oh madam you are excellent in what you are doing.. Along with my wife shahnaz we have tried this malabar chicken curry..
    The taste was beyond our imagination..
    Once again we are thanking you for giving a wonderful experience..
    we have decided to prepare a new dish from your recipe book.. Could you suggest some ee prefer nonveg…

    • Hi Sachin,

      Thanks a lot :) I’m really happy that you guys liked it very much.

      Some of my fav recipes are:

      Beef fry, Pepper chicken, spicy chicken korma, mutton pepper fry..

  5. Hi Maria , 
      I’m Sujith from Delhi ,  I found your blog while i’m searching for “Nadan Kadala Curry” and i prepared as per your guidance It was Really Great Exp for me.. After that i made 3 / 4 Items as per your blog, I felt it , I got what i want.Today I’m going to prepare ” Chicken Tomato Roast. Thanks A lot ….

    • Hi Sujith,

      Thanks a bunch for your feedback :) Good to know that the recipes here didnt disappoint you.

      Hope the chicken tomato roast also came put well.

      Happy cooking!


  6. Hey. Could you tell me how to adjust the measurements if I was making say 500g chicken. I’m just learning to cook and not good at those kind of things. Mostly serving size on recipes on sites are larger than I actually want to make as I am cooking only for myself.

    Could you please please help me with it. I end up ruining the recipe most of the time due to this.

    Love your website!!

    • Hi Aphshana,

      I’m sorry dear… if I give you some round measurements, I dont think it will do justice to this recipe. However I’ve posted some other chicken recipes which uses 500 gms of chicken, if you are interested please have a look in the chicken section.

      Hope it helps dear…


  7. The dish was delicious but I guess the quantity of ingredients mentioned was way too much for 1 kg chicken. Either the quantity of chicken had to be increased to 2 kg or the other things like coriander and all had to be reduced. If u can provide measurements in tsp or tblspn that would be better. Anyways great site to learn cooking!!! Keep it up!!!

    • Hi Maya,

      I’ve been meaning to change the recipe into tspns & tbspns for sometime. Hopefully I can do it soon.

      Nice to know that you find this site useful. Happy cooking!

      Wish you a wonderful new year!


  8. Hi Maria!

    This is Beth again. I found your blog almost a week back and in this time I’ve tried 3 of your recepies… Beef fry, Kadala curry and Malabar chicken curry !
    Beef fry was sooo good! i am going to make it again next week :)

    I was surprised to see that garam masala isn’t mentioned in this recepie. i just thought that in all kerala non veg dishes garam masala is a must.

    The dish came out good! I had to make it with gravy, bcoz gravy is a must for my husband! I added 5 green chilies instead of 10. The spice was just right for us.

    Thanks again Maria! I am going to keep trying more of your dishes :)

  9. awesome….i was getting tired of making the same style chicken curry for some time.Wanted to do something special for my wife today…..would you believe I am posting this without even tasting it….it smells heavenly…I know how will it  taste..:)…Thanks much again…looking for more malabari recipes….

    • Hi Alankot,

      Good to know that your chicken curry came out well :) I hope your wife also enjoyed the curry. Thanks a lot for sharing your comment here.


  10. hi.. 
    i am a fan of your blog. your recipes have helped me a lot. thank you very among that is your chicken stew. its yummm. please post chicken kurma recipe. 

    • Hi Vinaya,

      Thank you so much Vinaya for your wonderful comment. Its a pleasure to hear that you find this site useful. I’ll try to post a chicken kurma recipe sometime…


  11. I have been looking at your site, and have even copied this recipe to try out, however, you say ‘ serve hot with ghee rice’ but the recipe for the ghee rice is nowhere to be found. Don’t you have any ‘rice recipes?

    • Hi Veronica,

      I havent posted the recipe for ghee rice as such. However I’ve posted rice recipes, you can see it in the rice & noodles category. Check out the rice preparation part in any biriyani recipe, its very similar to ghee rice preparation. Hope that helps…


  12. okies, I’ll try to work on it soon :) btw, you know what… I just baked a batch of oatmeal cookies yesterday n I thought about you while snacking them ;) Please check out the eggless cinnamon cake recipe, its also a healthy one.

    Thank you so much for your encouraging feedback dear. Happy holidays n have fun!

    Take care,

    • Haha :D No wonder I kept sneezing yesterday :P :P

      I’m going to make the oatmeal cookies today… will let you know about how it turns out! And the eggless cinnamon cake is actually the next  one in my list ;D

      Cheers :)

    • Haha :D No wonder I kept sneezing yesterday :P :P

      I’m going to make the oatmeal cookies today… will let you know about how it turns out! And the eggless cinnamon cake is actually the next  one in my list ;D

      Cheers :)

  13. Hi! I’m an absolute fan of your blog and have tried several recipes from here :) All of them have been super hits and my husband really really enjoyed them as well! We live in Sweden, so don’t get all the ingrediants some times, and I sometimes ask my mum to courier me things.. lol :D  But this one was a mega flop :( :( Are you absolutely certain about the quantities of spices you have mentioned ? I used only half the amount u have mentioned here (50gms of red chilly, 50 gms of coriander and only 2 green chillies!) but there was still toooooo much masala for 1 kg chicken and it was way too spicy! I’m a sucker for sooooper spicy dishes but this one was way above even my tolerance level! I ended up having to add loooadsa cream, coconut milk and yogurt to make it eatable. I still have an anormous amount of masala left, that I have frozen it to use for other curries!! Also I noticed in some of the comments you say 1-1 1/2 tsp red chilly powder while using powders, but how can 1-1 1/2 tsp be the same as 100gms ??! I really wanna try this again with the malabar pathiri (which turned out AWESOME, in the first try, btw!) but don’t wanna do it again till I hear from you… would be very helpful if you could tell me what could have gone wrong!


    • Hi Sajna,

      Thank you so much for the lovely feedback about the recipes here dear :) . I’m glad that you like them.

      About this recipe, let me tell you something…. Honestly, when I see the comments on this post, I’m a bit scared. It will be either of the two… saying it was a mega hit or saying it was a mega flop :( I guess the measurements in the grams is a bit confusing. I do want to update it in terms of cups & spoons. I’m hoping to do it sometime soon.

      Meanwhile, do check out the video of this recipe by show me the curry team. They did the show based on the recipe here. Hope it helps…

      You can see the video here:


      • Thanks a tonne for the reply Maria :) I had already seen that video, but had wanted to follow the recipe exactly as you had mentioned :) :) And as you said, it would be really good if you could update this recipe with the measurements in cups or spoon sizes!

        That said, I have a few more recipes from your blog lined up… like the oatmeal cookies, for example! I have major problems giving my mouth some rest during weekends when I’m at home and can totally relate to the grazing syndrome :D :D So I figured it best if I make something which after eating I won’t spend hours regreting! lol :D Maybe you should post some holiday season recipes! I don’t when the holiday season in Bahrain is… but it’s the vacation time here and in general in Europe, I think… Looking forward to more of your lovely posts! They are a treat to read :) :) :)

        Cheerio :D

  14. Hi Maria,

    Thank you for the recipes..I am from US.I have been browsing different sites to find some thing simple and easy and healthy. I am a beginner in this area. I like the simplicity of your recipes and the way you have added tips and tricks.. I tried eggless cinnomon cake and oatmeal cookies.Simply superb! have decied to try one by one..

    Thanks a lot….have a good day!

    Read more:

    • Hi Maria,

      First of all I’m sorry for the delayed reply. I guess I missed your comment :( Thank you so much for your kind words. Great to know that you liked the cake & cookie recipes, thanks for trying it dear.

      Hope you will visit this space often. Happy cooking & baking!

      Take care…


  15. Hi Maria.

    I’ve tried a number of recipes from your blog and they’ve all turned out awesome. I made Malabar chicken today and it was delicious.

    Thanks a ton for all the effort you take to post such wonderful recipes. I hardly knew to cook anything until a while ago and now my husband’s friends compliment me for my cooking. All thanks to you.

    Keep up the good work!!


    • Hi Runam,

      Thanks a ton dear for such a wonderful comment. I’m so thrilled to know that you find this space helpful :) Thanks a lot for sharing your feedback with us, it means a lot.

      Btw, you can also take credit for the compliment, the cook also plays an important role :)

      Best wishes!


  16. Hi Maria,
    I tried this recipe with 1.5 kilo chicken..and one medium size coconut..i dont know what went wrong..this dish didnt turn out well:( the masala was too much than the chicken.and the consistency of the curry wasn’t thick even though i didnt add much water to it while cooking..the color was lighter….it took more than an hour for me to fry the coconut along with u fry it separately?? Pls help me out…i followed the same measurement as listed except for the chicken…

    • Hi Pinky,

      Sorry to hear that this curry didnt turn out well for you :( I’m not sure why it happened.

      It usually takes 10-15 mins for me to fry the coconut, I’m not sure why it took longer for you. I fry it along with shallots only. May be you can try frying them separately. If the masala was more, ideally the curry should have a thick consistency. Again, I dont know why your’s was thin. I’m sorry, I dont have any exact reason for why it happened :( I wish I could help you…


    • Hi Ichu

      Thanks a lot dear for trying the recipes from here. I appreciate very much that you take time to post comment also, it means a lot to me :)

      Keep trying & keep posting the comments :)


  17. Hi Maria,

    My sis-in-law introduced u to me. We tried the Malabar chicken curry. It was very delicious and spicy. I loved it.. Thank u for the wonderful recipe.


    • Hi Suma,

      You are welcome dear :). Its nice to know that you liked this dish. Thanks for the comment & also please convey my special thanks to your sis in law for recommending this blog.

      Wish you & your family a very happy new year!


  18. Hi Maria,

    We tried the Malabar Chicken Curry on a sunday. It turned out to be an awesome dish .We all loved it. It was one of the best, spicy and mouthwatering chicken dish i have tried so far ….. kudos for such recipies …

    best wishes,

    • Hi Bindhu,

      Thank you so much for trying a recipe from here. Great to know that you liked it :)

      Thanks for your wishes and best wishes to you too…


    • Hi Leeba,

      I didnt use any garam masala for this recipe. However you can add garam masala to suit your taste. You can add the garam masala when the chicken is half cooked.

      Hope you will like this recipe. please do share your feedback, if yo happen to try this recipe..

      All the best!!


      • @Maria: thank you so much for this lovely was a really tasty dish..everybody loved it…I am so sorry for the late reply..Everyday after that dinner party i think of writing the review , but i will forgot it, in the midst of my busy schedule.
        But, u r doin a good job!!
        keep it up.
        will search for more good recipes….
        take care

        • HI Leeba,

          Thanks for your wishes :) Great to know that this recipe came out well for you. No need for sorry n all :) Thanks for taking time to leave a comment here in spite of your busy schedule. Appreciate it very much.


  19. this is the first time i saw ur website & tried the recipe. tried this recipe for a party in our house last week….it turned out very good…..every one liked it…..thanks a lot for the recipe….. :)

    • Hi Teresa,

      You are welcome :) & thank you for dropping in. Glad that you liked this recipe.

      Please try out other recipes also, hope you will like it.


  20. Hello Maria:

    I’ve been a frequent visitor to your blog for quite some time now, but never bothered to write in. But I think its high time that I did!!

    I’ve tried out mostly your cake recipes which have been given A++++++++ certificates & huge “thumps up”s by my kids! Recently, however I tried out this recipe using veggies (as its our “noimbu”period now) & it was superb! Can’t wait to try out with chicken!!

    Keep on posting new recipes!!!!

    • Hi Anitha,

      Thank you so much for the lovely feedback :)

      Hope you will be able to make the chicken version soon and like it too. Btw, a special hi to your kids :)


  21. I tried your recipe and this curry was a hit at home. My hubby and son liked so much along with Chappthi & Appam.

    I adjusted spiciness(used only 4 red chilly). I omitted the garnishing part as the aroma was so good that by the time I was chopping small onions my hubby & son started having it along with Chappthi, I also joined . Thanks for the nice Kerala recipe

    • Hi Latha,

      You are welcome :) Very happy to hear that your family liked it. It’s a nice combo with chappathi & appam.

      Hope you will be able to do the garnishing bit next time :)


    • Hi liz,

      Glad that you liked the taste. Hope you will get the perfect color too next time.

      Thank you so much for sharing the link. I liked that recipe, hoping to try it sometime soon :)


  22. Maria,

    I loved the photo and I tried out the recipe. But mine didnt look anything like this. Is there any way I should saute it or add any other powders? My chicken curry is golden brown in color…sigh!!

    • Hi liz,

      The difference in colour can be caused by:

      1. Frying the coconut till it becomes golden brown. Since this is the base masala, if the coconut is not fried well, the color of the entire curry can be different.
      2. Also i usually roast/cook the chicken a bit extra, so that the masala becomes a dark brownish color.

      Apart from the above 2 reasons, I’m not sure why the color was different :(

      I hope at least you liked the taste of the curry.

      Regarding separating of oil from the gravy, sorry dear, i dont know what’s the trick, but usually once you add the masala to the curry and cook for sometime usually you can see a layer of oil forming on the top. You try cooking in low flame after the masala is added.

      Hope it will come out with perfect color next time :)


  23. Hi Maria,

    I tried your chicken mappas curry and it turned out to be really yummy.
    Now I am gonna try out malabar chicken curry. :)
    But one problem- I am not sure how to meadure in gm or kg for the ingredients.
    Can you please help me in terms of how many spoons of the ingredients I should use and also for the onions- how many small onions and how many ordinary onions? Also how many tomatoes?

    This will be really helpful.
    Please help.


    • Hi Priya

      Glad to know that you liked the mappas. Thanks for trying it :).

      Its been sometime I made this curry. However I will try updating the recipe, especially the ingredient qty part.

      Is it ok if I give the measurements of spice powders like coriander powder instead of coriander seeds?

      Coriander powder – 1-2 tbsp
      Red chilly powder – 1/2 – 1 tbsp (depending on your spice level, you can increase or reduce it).

      Onion – 4 big
      Tomato – 3

      Hope this helps….Pls keep in mind these are rough estimates..


  24. Hi Maria,
    I tried ur malabar chicken curry. But masala was too much .Are u sure about the wts.? 100gms each coriander and chilly was too much.While cooking i rechecked my printout again and again to make sure i am not going wrong.Final output was toooo spicy with toooo much masala.But taste was good.Pl help

    • Hi Sindhu,

      I usually write the measurements that I use. However our taste and spice level can be different.

      May be next time you should try reducing the masala to suit your requirements.


  25. I had so far tried only some of the cakes on your site… I tried this recipe yesterday and it turned out great! My husband who is this great chicken lover really appreciated it!

    Thanks a lot!

  26. I tried the Malabar Chicken Curry – it turned out great. My husband loved the dish. Only that I did not use 10 green chillies. And used only coconut oil for the dish. Thanks a million Maria.

    • Thanks Bindu for writing to me :)

      Happy to know that your family liked it and yes coconut oil adds a special flavor to this dish :)


  27. Hello Maria,

    Thank you for the recipes..I have been browsing different sites to find some thing simple and easy. I am a beginner in this area. I like the simplicity of your recipes and the way you have added tips and tricks.. Yet to try anything listed here but they all look yummy and more importantly ‘doable’ !

    have decied to try one by one..

    Thanks !!

    • Hi Maria

      Thanks for dropping in and taking time to go through the recipes :)

      Please try out the recipes when you’ve time, hope you will like it.

      Happy cooking :)


    • Hi Biju

      I was referring to whole red chilly & whole coriander seeds (not powders).

      If you are using powders, add 2 tsp red chilly powder (approx) and 1/2 – 1 tbsp (big spoon)coriander powder.

      Hope this helps.


      • njan valiya kaariyathinu ellam vaangi kondu vanu.. pine aanu kandathu athu grind cheyanam enu… but no mixie here… :( pine njan ente style il undaki… next week eni powder vaangi kondu vanu try cheyanam.. :)

  28. Hey Maria,
    Thanks for posting these recipes. I from US and here we get everything in lb and no kg and gm. Can you please mention the ingredients measure in spoons for gm and for kg if you can mention the number may be for tomato, onion because i am not sure about that. Thanks

    • Hi Sumi

      Thanks for dropping in.

      I will try to mention the quantity in spoons and numbers also, wherever its possible.

      However, if you want to do the conversions, please check out the cooking converter (below reader favorites) feature which can be seen on the right side of this blog.

      Hope you find it useful.

      Take care

      • Hey that’s great to know that there was a converter on this site, usually i use google to convert. Thanks for letting me know, will surely try your recipes.


  29. John, very happy to hear that you find the recipes here useful. Please do try it and let me know whether you like it. Hope you will enjoy cooking and all the best !!

    Thanks Famy :)

  30. Hey I am just a beginner in cooking, Found your recepies quite useful. Will definitely try out this one..Thanks

  31. thanks Varsha :) so you had a great start to new year with biriyani eh? :)

    yes Dhanya, its simple, please do try and let me know how it turned out for you.

    hey HC, happy to see you back and thanks a lot for your wishes. I will parcel the chicken with kadai :) and yes those two books are real treasures, its sad that you cldnt find one :(, hope you find it sometime soon….

    Veena , thank you :) xmas okke adichupolichu :)

    Preethi, very very happy to hear that you liked the dish and thanks a ton for letting me know about it :)

  32. thanks Varsha :) so you had a great start to new year with biriyani eh? :)

    yes Dhanya, its simple, please do try and let me know how it turned for you.

    hey HC, happy to you bank and thanks a lot for your wishes. I will parcel the chicken with kadai :) and yes those two books are real reasures, its sad that you cldnt find one :(, hope you find it sometime soon….

    Veena , thank you :) xmas okke adichupolichu :)

    Preethi, very very happy to hear that you liked the dish and thanks a ton for letting me know about it :)

  33. Hi da ..
    Chicken curry adipoli ..nannyittund tttooo…
    hw r u ..egane undayirunnu x-mas okke ..adichu policho …thanks dear ..edakk message okke kandirunnu …thanks a lot ..

  34. I have that book flavvour of kitchen in yoiu must buy list .
    An,d also the boof from camila.
    Actuall i can’t find that book anymore at home, as i misplaced them and i miss it as it had such a variety of recipes in them

  35. Happy 2009 to you and your loved ones.
    Wonderful idea to post a pukka kerala recipe.
    Wish i had that kadhai with that kerala chicken with me for liunch with rice.

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