Kerala Style Chicken Curry with Thick Gravy

Nadan chicken curry from Kerala with thick and creamy coconut milk gravy.

My family has an aversion to meat dishes that have too much gravy. They associate the extra gravy or sauce with “too much masala, spices and oil”, like the curries that are served at some marriage functions and in certain restaurants.

But when I made the Kerala Parotta, I wanted a curry with plenty of creamy gravy that would soak up the bread. So, I decided to risk this particular chicken curry and surprisingly, it was quite a big hit with the family. At first, I thought the family praised the dish because by the time I had finished cooking and photographing it, it was three in the afternoon, stomachs were rumbling and tempers starting to fly, and they were hungry enough to enjoy chicken in any way as long as it was cooked. But when I got similar compliments at dinner time too, I decided this recipe was a keeper.

Like the chicken curry I posted here earlier, this one involves frying of onions and the use of masala powders and spices. But the difference lies in that the chicken is slowly cooked in thin coconut milk and once done, thick creamy coconut milk is added. The result is pure heaven. Vayar nirayum, manasum.

  • Servings: 3-serving
  • Time: 45 mins
  • Difficulty: medium
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  • Cuisine: indian
  • Course: side dish
  • Cooking Time: 45 mins


1   kg Chicken , cut into medium sized pieces  
2 large Potatoes , cubed
1/4 cup Coconut oil
1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1 1/2 cups Shallots (cheriya ulli), 
1 tablespoon Ginger , thin slices
cloves (the small kind of garlic cloves), 15 Garlic chopped
4 Green chilies , slit at end
10 Curry leaves
1 tablespoon Coriander powder  
1 tablespoons Red Chilli powder
1/2 teaspoons Turmeric Powder
5 Cloves
4 pods Cardamom
1 tablespoon Fennel seeds
1” Piece cinnamon
1 teaspoon Black pepper corns
To taste, Salt
1/2 cup Thick Coconut milk extracted from freshly grated coconut
2 cups Thin coconut milk


  1. In a large pot, heat coconut oil. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. 
  2. Mix 1 tablespoon coriander powder + 1 tablespoon red chili powder + 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, in a quarter cup of water.
  3. Powder together 5 cloves + 4 cardamom pods + 1 tablespoon fennel seeds + 1″ piece cinnamon + 1 teaspoon black pepper corns.
  4. Quarter the shallots.
  5. Add all ingredients labelled A, and fry for a few minutes till onions lightly brown.
  6. Moved the fried onions to a side and fry the coriander, red chili and turmeric powder paste along with the powdered spices (labelled B) on low heat for a couple of minutes.
  7. Now add chicken pieces along with vinegar and salt and mix well. 
  8. Let it cook for a couple of minutes, then mix in thin coconut milk and potato cubes. 
  9. Cover and cook till chicken is completely done and gravy thickens. Finally mix in the thick coconut milk and warm over low heat for a minute.
  10. Serve hot with rice, parotta or roti. 

1) For the authentic Kerala taste, use coconut oil. But if you do not like the flavour or if it is not available, use other oil of your choice.

2) You can replace shallots with normal red onions, but shallots make the curry much, much yummier.

3) Do not pressure cook this curry since coconut milk tends to split when pressure cooked.

4) You can use coconut milk from a tin or powder instead of extracting fresh milk. Just make sure that you cook the chicken in diluted milk, and add thick milk only towards the end.

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