Hello once again to a Kerala speciality, a subtle coconut milk based Chicken Curry .
Coconuts are used in every from in Kerala's coastal cuisine; grated, raw and the milk which is extracted and used to flavor curries. The reason I favour this curry is because it's so gently spiced that even my kids easily tolerate the 'heat'. This particular recipe is from my grandmother's kitchen and goes equally well with steamed rice or Kerala Appams (rice based soft Crepes) and make a perfectly delicious gluten free meal idea.
Now the key to this recipe is fresh coconut milk which is traditionally extracted from grated raw coconut. You end up with two kinds of coconut milk consistencies, the thick first extraction and the thinner second extraction. But, I understand completely if you don't have time for this. Modern technology has given us plenty of options like coconut milk powder or the ready to pour canned (or tetra pack) version of coconut milk, I'm really not sure how much of preservatives this has, so try settling for an organic variety if you can.
1/2 kg fresh chicken cut into curry pieces
1-2 tbsps Cooking oil (peanut, coconut or sunflower, feeling generous? add ghee)
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 medium onion sliced thin and long
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger julienned
5-6 garlic pods thinly sliced
2-3 sprigs Curry leaves
Himalayan Salt as per your taste
1 cup Freshly squeezed Thin Coconut Milk
1/2 cup Freshly squeezed Thick Coconut Milk
1 boiled and cubed potato (optional)
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp. Turmeric powder
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (add more if you prefer it spicy)
1/4 tsp Pepper Powder
2 tbsps roasted Coriander Powder
Caramelized brown onions
Combine all the Masala paste ingredients with a little water. Heat up the oil in a wok and splutter the mustard seeds. To this add the sliced onions, garlic pods, fresh ginger and curry leaves. Here's when we add the salt, to avoid burning the onions. Bring down the heat and sauté the ingredients until it's a lovely golden brown colour. Now add your pre-soaked masala paste and fry until the raw smell goes and it becomes a caramelized brown colour.
Now add the chicken and vinegar and sauté this for a few minutes. In goes the thin coconut milk, cover and let the chicken cook for a good 20-25 minutes. Once the chicken looks cooked, add the boiled potato and thick coconut milk, stir and switch off flame. Thick coconut milk should never boil, as it cannot handle the high heat.
This curry is delicious as it is. If you have guests, I would suggest garnishing it with golden fried onions, roasted cashews and curry leaves, this takes the curry to the next level and will have everyone diving in for seconds.
Enjoy this decadent Curry with steamed Rice, Appams, Iddi Appam (Kerala Rice Noodles/ hoppers) or Pathiri (rice based flat bread)