It’s here. The chicken curry recipe that gives off nostalgia-inducing aromas. The one that makes you crave some hot achaar and moru-soaked fingers (because, you know we are going to eat this nadan chicken curry with our hands.) And, if you’ve never had a Kerala-style chicken curry, well, you’re in for a treat because this is the original Foodie Cutie’s recipe, or as I call her, mom (amma).
- Chicken Thighs, 2lbs, skin on, quartered
- Lemon, juice from 1
- Meat Masala (roast all the ingredients below on a pan until aroma comes out then grind into a fine powder)
- Cinnamon Stick, 1
- Fennel Seeds, 2 tbsp
- Green Cardamom, 10 pods
- Cloves, 6
- Green Chilies*, 2, split with stem off
- Ginger*, 2 inches, minced
- Garlic Cloves*, 6, minced
- Curry Leaves*, 1 sprig (or 12-16 leaves)
- White Onion*, 1, thinly sliced
- Ground Turmeric*, 1 tsp
- Ground Coriander*, 2 tbsp
- Red Chili Powder*, 2 tbsp
- White Vinegar, 1/4 cup
- Coconut Milk, thick, 1 can
- Golden Potatoes, 3
- Salt, 1-2 tbsp
- Coconut Oil, 2 tbsp
- Shallots, 2, thinly sliced
- Dried Red Chilis, 2, broken in half
- Mustard Seeds, 2 tsp
- Curry Leaves, 4-5 leaves
HOW TO MAKE IT
Start by cleaning and prepping the chicken thighs. You can use boneless chicken breast, etc, but I like the tenderness of chicken thighs and “bone-in” is what gives the gravy its flavor.
To prep, remove just about all the skin (I leave a little bit on for flavor), and cut the thighs into quarters. I cut my chicken thighs by cutting off the meatiest side of the thigh first then I cut the meaty piece in half. I leave whatever meat is left on the bone as is. Now, wash the chicken under cold water, salt, and the juice of one lemon. Drain the water, squeezing out any excess water, then pat completely dry.
In a large pot or dutch oven, place the chicken in along with only HALF of the meat masala along with the FULL AMOUNT of all the ingredients marked with an asterisk(*) next to it. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate overnight or for at least 30 minutes.
After the chicken marinates, place the covered pot on the stovetop on medium heat, letting it slow-cook for 25-30 minutes. During this time, moisture should release from the chicken. Check it halfway to make sure it’s releasing this water. If it’s not, add 1/4 cup water, but ideally you would add zero water to this.
While the chicken slow-cooks, peel the whole potatoes and boil them in a separate pot until tender. Cut the potatoes into quarters then add to the pot of chicken after the 25-30 minutes are up.
Now, mix in the vinegar and coconut milk. Once you see the first boiling rumble, reduce the heat to low. (If you boil this too long, the coconut milk will look curdled.) Note: If your chicken curry looks too thick, add in a little water.
Now, in a small seasoning pan on medium heat, add the coconut oil. Once hot, add in the shallots and fry until lightly golden. Once lightly golden, add in the dried red chilis broken in half, mustard seeds, and curry leaves. Fry this until the mustard seeds pop. Turn off the heat and mix in the remaining meat masala.
Now, take a little bit of the gravy from the chicken pot and add it to the seasoning pan to gather all the spices. Pour this into the chicken curry. Add salt. Sprinkle a pinch of turmeric and red chili powder on top for color. Optional, add a few more fresh curry leaves. Check for salt. Done!