Kerala chicken stew. Comforting curry that’s hearty and filling, this stew is traditionally served with rice pancakes (palappam) for a delicious start to a special day. With the beautiful flavors of coconut milk and coconut oil, this subtly spiced stew is guaranteed to be a family favorite. Great for a chilly winter day!
There’s nothing fancy about the good old stew, it’s just the comfort food that we crave on cold nights. In fact, every cuisine has its own version of heartwarming stews made with protein or simply veggies. And the ideal way to enjoy it is with authentic breads.
This Kerala chicken stew is all about succulent bites of chicken simmered in coconut based sauce. Traditionally, this stew is served with beautifully soft rice pancakes (appams or palappams), but it also pairs well with parathas, rotis, and even bread. Personally, I love the silky smooth texture of the gorgeous white sauce that’s slightly sweet from the coconut milk.
How To Make Kerala Chicken Stew
Making this chicken stew at home is straightforward. The chicken is fried in a few dry spices until they are browned and then simmered in coconut milk. Of course, there are different ways to make this very popular classic recipe. I’ll tell you about my favorite version.
Start with frying the dry spices in oil. Although the traditional choice of oil in this recipe is coconut oil, you can also use vegetable oil. For the dry spices, I used a combination of cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves and star anise. As I mentioned, this stew is subtly spiced, and these are the only spices used in this dish alongside a touch of garam masala. These spices impart a beautiful aroma to the dish.
Next up, add onions, ginger, garlic, green chilies and curry leaves. As the flavors used in this Kerala chicken stew are very mild, make sure all the ingredients are fresh. The heat of the curry comes from green chilies. So, feel free to add more or less depending on your taste.
Once the onions turn golden, brown the chicken, and then add potatoes, carrots and thin coconut milk. Thin coconut milk is, technically, the canned coconut milk and thick coconut milk is canned coconut cream. Even though coconut milk freshly squeezed from fresh coconut is highly recommended in this recipe, the store-bought versions would be just perfect.
Why both thin and thick coconut milk? Just because thick coconut milk will split when boiled. Ideally, cook the chicken first in the thin coconut milk. Once the chicken is cooked through, you will also need to add the remaining spices – garam masala and freshly ground black pepper. Simmer this for a minute before adding in the thick coconut milk or coconut cream.
Finally, add in thick coconut milk or coconut cream and heat the stew without boiling it. Remember the silky smooth texture is key in this Kerala chicken stew recipe.
I also like to add two different garnishes to this stew – fried cashew nuts and fried shallots. They add another level of flavor and texture to this chicken stew.
A super simple chicken stew recipe that tastes great with your favorite flatbread!
More Chicken Curry Recipes:
- Mango Chicken Curry
- Easy Chicken Curry
- Chicken Dopiaza | Chicken Do Pyaza
- Chicken Madras
- Authentic Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe
- Restaurant Style Butter Chicken
- Chicken Chickpea Curry