Malabar Chicken Curry

Maria from was kind enough to share her knowledge of cooking from the Malabar region of the State of Kerala. This awesome Malabar Chicken Dish is a sure hit in every sense – the eye-appeal, the aroma, the texture, the taste and the sound (yup, you get to hear all the praises 😉 )! I first tried Malabar Chicken at a resort in Kerala and over the years tried to recreate the dish and the flavors. Maria helped me seal the deal and I am a very happy camper now 🙂 The spices and the aromas are very local to the area and hence give the dish it’s unique flavor. The one thing I loved about Malabar Chicken Curry was the gravy and the depth of flavor in it so I used the recipe, made the gravy and add and assortment of vegetables (instead of chicken, I used Potatoes, Cauliflower, Carrots, Peas) for a change, the result was “A Dish out of this World”!
Check out Maria’s Menu for lots more thrilling recipes.

Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Serves: 4-6


For the Masala:
Oil – 2 tbsp
Onion – 1/4 , large, finely sliced
Curry Leaves – handful
Whole Coriander Seeds – 3 tbsp
Dry Red Chillies – 4-5 (or to taste)
Garlic Cloves – 6, large, chopped
Ginger – 1 tbsp, minced
Shredded Coconut – 1/3 cup
Water – 1 cup

For the Curry:
Oil – 1 tbsp
Onion – 1/2 large, finely sliced
Green Chillies – 6 or to taste, slit
Salt – a sprinkle
Tomatoes – 2, medium, sliced
Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
Chicken – 1 lb (approx 1/2 kg)
Water – 1 cup or as needed

For the Garnish:

Oil – 1 tbsp
Onion – 1/4 large, finely sliced
Curry Leaves – 2 sprigs
Salt – sprinkle


For the Masala:
1. Heat Oil in a pan on medium heat.
2. Once hot, add in the finely sliced Onions.
3. Add in the Curry Leaves and cook till the Onions become translucent.
4. Add in the Coriander Seeds and the Dry Red Chillies.
5. Cook for about 1-2 minutes.
6. Add in the Garlic and the Ginger.
7. Allow this to cook till the Onions are caramelized and the whole mixture well done.
8. Add in the Coconut and allow it to toast and get a little golden in color.
9. Transfer, allow it to cool down and grind (to a fine paste) with 1 cup of Water, adding little at a time.
10. Keep aside.

For the Curry:
1. Heat Oil in a pan on medium heat.
2. Add in the Onions and the Green Chillies and mix.
3. Sprinkle a little Salt to speed up the cooking process.
4. Allow the Onions to get a wonderful brown (not burnt) color.
5. Add in the Tomatoes and cook till they are all integrated with the Onions.
6. Lower the heat and add in the ground Masala.
7. Increase the heat a bit and allow the mixture to come to a boil.
8. Do the taste test and adjust the spices as needed.
9. Allow it to come to a boil then add in the chicken.
10. The Chicken will change color from pink to white and is then sealed.
11. Add in the amount of water you need to make gravy.
12. Mix well and cover and allow the Chicken to cook.
13. Be sure to keep and eye on it and keep stirring ever once in a while till done.

For the Garnish:
1. Heat Oil in a small skillet.
2. Once hot, add in the Curry Leaves and sprinkle a little Salt.
3. Allow the Onions to turn a little brown in color.

Transfer the Curry into a dish and garnish with the Onions and the Malabar Chicken Curry is ready to serve.

1. Substitute Chicken and add vegetables to make it a Vegetarian Dish – example: Potatoes, Paneer, Cauliflower, Carrots, Peas.
2. Check out Maria’s Website for the original recipe:

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0 thoughts on “Malabar Chicken Curry

  1. Another amazing, winning dish. I made this tonight and It’s wonderful! Great to have more recipes for my curry trees. This is better than any dish I’ve had in a restaurant. You ladies have helped me to cook the things I have always dreamed of. Thank you so much for this!!!

  2. u both r too great in cooking,before i didnt love cooking at all [my maid used to cook]then i tried ur recipes n they were awesome,n know i m willing to cook kids love chicken crispy [chinese dish] plz can u give me the recipe for that

  3. I tried this recipe yesterday.. wow!! my first best chicken curry. Thanks a lot. I will try other recipes from your site and upload feedback.

    I like the way you guys present the recipe.

  4. I tried this recipe yesterday.. wow!! my first best chicken curry. Thanks a lot. I will try other recipes from your site and upload feedback.

    I like the way you guys present the recipe.. love you both.

  5. I tried this recipe for a party at my house. It came out to be delicious…my guests and mylself loved it. But like any chicken curry recipe, this too tastes heavenly the next day. We are enjoying the left overs more :).
    Thanks Hetal and Anuja for your wonderful videos. I could plan this party (my first) because of you two :)…if you know what I mean :). Great Job. And yes, I also tried the potato wedges…turned out awesome!!

  6. Hi Anuja and Hetal,

    I made this and it was spectacular! I usually tinker with proportions and spices, but this recipe was PERFECT just as it was and I followed it exactly. It’s great to have a chicken recipe that doesn’t use garam masala. I used every single curry leaf I had in the house. I’ll be sure to get more next time, because it would be even better with more curry leaves 🙂

    I made some with hard boiled eggs too. It went really well with the eggs.

    Thanks so much for this recipe!

  7. I have tried a few of your recipes and have had great results. Your meticulousness and wealth of info is greatly appreciated 🙂 I tried your Malabar chicken curry today and it smells and tastes fantastic! I felt it was a bit time-consuming and couldn’t figure out any shortcuts. I was wondering if you have any tips to make this a quick(er) recipe? Thank you.

    1. Hi Smitha,

      Unfortunately, we don’t know of any further shortcuts to this recipe. If you know that you will be making this dish often, you could make the masala part (frying the onions, tomatoes, grinding the mixture, etc) ahead of time and freeze it in smaller portions. Then you would just have to take one portion out and add the chicken.

  8. Iam a Malabari presently in Dubai since 6 yrs. Recently my family moved back to india due to the financial crisis here. The biggest worry for my wife was my food as I dont know much about cooking. Thats when she suggested me to google “Show me the”. Tried this recipe nd it came out really well. Thanx Hetal nd Anuja nd many thanx to my bettr half.

  9. Hi Hetal,

    I really enjoyed this recipe, it came out great in the end. I think the key is to have everything prepared beforehand, then it’s quite straight forward.

    I going to try and make a chicken madras this weekend, I found the recipe here, I’d be interested to hear your views on it before I begin.


    1. Hi Mat,

      The recipe sounds really good…especially the addition of the mango chutney at the end! Let us know how it comes out.

  10. Hi Ladies

    I tried Malabar chicken curry tonight so that I can make in large quantity for Diwali party. It was fantastic. My mouth started watering seeing the masala itself. The dish tasted and looked awesome and ideal for party. Its different as the recipe uses more of coriander, onion and coconut instead of stereotype spices like bay leaf, cinnamon, cardomom etc. I just love this dish. Thanks ladies for sharing this great dish.

  11. Hi Hetal & Anuja,

    I am a big fan of your recipes and tried out quite a few of them and been a hit in my family. One question though, what kind of grinder/blender do you use to do the grinding part in your recipe…the one I have at home does not grind it like how it appears in the videos.


  12. Hi Hetal/Anuja,

    If im using a little more than 2 lb of boneless chicken, can i just double the ingredients ? or do i need to adjust somewhere ?

    I was also looking at the egg burji recipe. have the same question though. if im using 6 eggs, can i just double all the ingredients u mentioned there.
    Planning to make it for guests coming over today.
    Wud appreciate an early reply.

    1. Hi Melanie,

      Yes, for most recipes, you can just double all the ingredients for double quantity. When baking, sometimes, the amount of yeast will vary.

  13. hi,
    just want to say im ADDICTED to ur site! u guys are brilliant. i hope u can publish a book soon as would be well handy. tc xxx

  14. Hi

    I really liked your recipe.. my husband is a non vegetarian and it was for the very first time i cooked chicken and it really came out very well…

    Thanx for such a wonderful recipe…

  15. Hi anuja and hetal

    Thank u for the recipe..Can u please tell me how u people break the whole coconut and shred it.Do you shred using the food processor.. Tired of using frozen coconut. Thank u guys…

  16. hi there we are from dubai..we tried out your malabar chicken curry and kaju burfi and we must say it is absolutely wonderful..we had always thought that making kaju burfi but you guys showed us that it is so easy..thanks a lot..

  17. Hi
    Anuja & Hetal
    u both r g8 2 give such type of recipes .
    i made this recipe 3-4 times & it came superb,moreover i appreciated ur team work too,
    last but not least Thank u’ so much for this recipe


  18. Hi Hetal,

    I love to see you guys and ur recipes. I didnt know that you guys making nonvegetarian food too. I am vegetarian but was little surprised making you(Hetal) nonveg. Usually gujratis are vegetarian. By the way, I love all your vegetarian recipes and i tried many of them. Keep it up.

  19. Hi Hetal and Anuja

    What a wonderful chicken curry .. and thanks to maria as well … Being a Keralite .. and having eaten coconut stuffs …. I know this dish smells and tastes delicious … gonna make this soon …

    Thanks girls ..

  20. Hi!
    Thank you so much for a wonderful recipe again. I have tried so many of your recipes and they all turn out so well. But I am trying to print this particular one but it isnt the easy way it used to be before. I also tried the latest mushroom pulao and it was great. Thanks once again and keep up the good work and may God give you more success!

      1. Hi Anuja,
        I was also thinking that maybe you and Hetal can bring out a printed version of all your recipes and you could put the DVD with your videos in the back of it too! So that people who don’t have access to the internet can also enjoy cooking your recipes. Just a thought that occured to me and passed it on. Hope you like it!

        1. Hi Amita,
          Thanks for your feedback and we appreciate it 🙂
          We do, rather did have a DVD out for a long time (we sold out of it now) 🙂 Regarding the book, we never say never…but honestly, will think about your suggestion!
          Thank you again!

  21. This recipe turned out really well! Thank you!
    I substituted par boiled potatoes for chicken. I shallow fried them in a couple of tsps of oil till they were golden brown on all sides.
    I didn’t have coriander seeds too, so used coriander powder.. and as I was running short of onions I used pearl onions in both the masala and the curry 🙂
    It turned out well! Can’t wait to have it for dinner, with rotis and mango lassi 🙂

  22. Hello Hetal & Anuja,
    Coriander seeds are not available at the place where I stay (in Japan). Will coriander powder work as a fine substitute? The curry looks so mouth watering, that I cant wait totry it out !

  23. Hello Hetal & Anuja,

    Thank you for the recipes. Love your kurtis. Just wanted to know if your clothes get splattered with oil while cooking. I have to wear old clothes.

  24. hi hetal and anuja
    sorry for posting this question here i am staying in botswana(south africa)and here i doesnt get the paneer but they have feta(traditional) does that is called paneer or some other things
    pls do reply for this question

  25. Hi Hetal,Anuja,

    Thanks for this wonderful recipe,i made it and its just awsome.I have tried lots of recipes and the all r very good thankyou so much for all ull r doing for us.
    I like ur food processer u used in khaman dhokla,i want to buy one,is it possible to show us the uses of what all we can use our food processer for in tip tuesday that will be great as i have heard we can chop veges in it .thanks again and god bless u both takecare.

    1. Hi Pari,
      What a great idea, we will consider doing a “tip video” on that.
      The Food Processor we have is a Black and Decker Power Pro II 🙂

  26. Hi,

    Would you share some desi vegi slow cooker recipes? I have heard such good stuff about slow cooking and invested in a crock pot.

    Looking forward to your slow cooker recipes.


    1. Hi desigirl,
      Thanks for your feedback.
      We also want to do some slow-cooker recipes but due to the time constraints (slow cookers are very slow and take too long) we are still trying to figure out a way around it.

  27. Hi Anuja and Hetal,
    This looks like a great recipe!! I am vegetarian though, and I saw that you said you made it also with potatoes, caulifower, etc. Do you cook those veggies before adding them to the gravy, or put them in raw and cook them completely in the gravy.Also, can dried coconut be used? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Judy,
      Either way works! Precooking the veges helps them retain their shape and cuts down on the cooking time 🙂
      For the dried Coconut, you can use it. It does have a little different flavor and may need an extra help with grinding 🙂
      Enjoy 🙂

  28. can we make this with any vegetables or paneer instead of chicken,i am a vegetarian but like a lot of spicy food and would love to try this.

    1. Hi Swetha,
      We suggest you use vegetables that don’t mush up easily. Paneer, cauliflower,potatoes,peas,carrots worked very well for us 🙂

  29. hi gals

    nice recipe…. good work keep it up.

    can u please tell me which brand’s kadai r u usin in this video??? and from whr did u buy it?

    actually m looking for best quality long lasting cookware so need ur help

    please reply dont ignore it because so many times i have seen that people ask u questions(related to cooking) and u guys dont reply

    thanks again

    1. Hi Patel,
      We got this from Bed Bath and Beyond and it was a very inexpensive pan (approx $15.00) and we love it. There are a lot of brands that make good non-stick pans – Calphalon or Analon.
      We try and answer each and every valid question.

  30. Hi Hetal and Anuja,
    I am always hesitant to try out chicken recipes that do not call for garam masala. I always end up adding a bit of the spices.
    Did your curry miss the spices.I mean maybe its just my mindset, but do u think it would be better to add some garam masala or was it good enough without them ?

    1. Hi

      For this recipe, it tastes great even without Garam Masala. However adding a bit of garam masala towards the end is also fine.


  31. Hi

    I’m so glad and excited to see this video. Thanks a ton again for trying out this recipe. Hope your viewers will also like it 🙂


  32. Can you post the recipe for ghee rice? the aromatic, fluffy tasty kind found in restaurants. thanks. I like the base curry for this recipe. Being a vegetarian, i should maybe try this with cauliflower or the violet brinjals.

    1. Hi Vidya,

      Ghee rice is one the simplest rice you can make 🙂

      Here is the recipe:
      Basmathi Rice- 2 cups
      Water-4 cups
      Cinnamon-2 small sticks
      Cardamom-3 pods
      Ghee-1/2 – 3/4 cup
      Lemon juice- 1 tsp
      Salt to taste

      Boil 4 cups of water.

      In a non-stick/heavy bottomed pan ,heat ghee, add in the spices and fry for 30 secs.Add in the washed and drained rice and fry till the rice changes it’s colour from white to pale golden and is crisp.

      Add the hot water to the rice and stir it. Add salt and lemon/lime juice to the rice (helps the grains to stay separate) ,stir and cover with a lid and cook on medium flame till done.

      Make sure you stir the rice occassionally so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

      You can garnish the rice with fried onions.

      I hope you like it 🙂

  33. Your kurtis make me jealous! Hetal this kurti suits u a lot with those earrings! u both look great! Will check the recipe later on!It will b good for sure!

  34. Hi Hetal and Anuja,
    I just wanted to say thanks for all these wonderful recipes on your website. This one is another feather in your cap.
    I moved to Germany 2 years ago and I did not even know how to make rice properly. Thanks to you both I now can enjoy Indian cuisine prepared by me almost everyday.

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