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Homemade Chicken Curry Kerala Style

Homemade Chicken Curry – Kerala Style

This traditional Kerala chicken curry (nadan chicken curry) recipe is from my granma’s kitchen. She was an excellent cook, and a great hostess. And this was one of the many great dishes that she used to make during special occasions. All ingredients were organic, and most of them sourced locally.

My grandparents lived in a beautiful countryside Kerala village, amidst the lush greenery of coconut and areca nut plantations, paddy fields and mango trees. While growing up, my sister and I used to look forward to our summer vacations. It’s during this time that we got to visit our grandparents, run around, play day and night with our cousins like there was no tomorrow. This was our respite from studies, home works, school buses, and urban life. It was also the time we got to eat a lot of delicious, traditional food from my granma’s kitchen. My love for great tasting food must have started here! My first few attempts at cooking was also from her kitchen.

There was such great produce in abundance there! Organic free-range chicken from the farm, fresh curry leaves off the tree, all the great homegrown spices – black pepper, dry red chillies, it was all there!

The first time I tried cooking this nadan homemade chicken curry, I did it under my mom’s supervision. It came out well, and I was proud of my achievement. I have cooked this recipe many times after that. All my friends who have cooked this recipe have loved it. I believe, by writing up the following recipe, I have done justice to my granma’s delicacy.

Next time you feel like having some Kerala chicken curry, give this nadan chicken curry a try. I guarantee that you’ll love it!

Homemade Chicken Curry - Kerala Style

About this Kerala chicken curry recipe

This is a pretty simple recipe to cook. There are two definitive steps to it. The first step involves cooking the chicken in a pressure cooker with masalas (spices). The second step involves pan-frying onions, tomatoes, and curry leaves separately to a nice mix before adding it to the cooked chicken.

Check out the step-by-step recipe with pictures below. Also, don’t forget to go through the kitchen tips for some additional information.

Homemade Chicken Curry - Kerala Style

This Kerala Chicken Curry (Nadan Chicken Curry) is from my granma's kitchen. An all-time family favourite, I learned this heirloom recipe from my mom.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Kerala
Servings: 6 serving


  • 1 kg chicken free-range organic
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 7-8 shallots
  • 2 medium green chilies
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder (or 4-5 dry red chillies)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon coriander powder (or 2 tablespoon coriander seeds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 5-6 stalks cilantro coriander leaves

For masala

  • 3 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3 medium onions finely chopped
  • 2 - 3 stalks curry leaves
  • 1 inch ginger chopped to small pieces and crushed
  • 4-5 cloves garlic sliced and crushed
  • 5-6 shallots sliced and crushed
  • 2 green chillies sliced and crushed
  • 1 medium tomato finely chopped

Homemade garam masala (or use your favourite shop-bought garam masala)

  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • nutmeg powder a pinch
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf


  • Cut the chicken to medium size pieces, and place in a pressure cooker.
  • Add coriander powder*, chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt.
  • Coarsely grind shallots, green chillies, and ginger, and add to the pressure cooker.
  • Add 1 1/2 cups of water, mix well, and cook until the first whistle.
  • Switch off the flame, and let it rest with the lid on.
  • Thinly slice the onions and chop the tomatoes.
  • Heat some oil in a cast iron skillet. Reduce the flame to medium, and add the onions and curry leaves.
    Add sliced onions and curry leaves
  • Cook till the onions turn translucent.
    Onions cooked till tender
  • Add the crushed ginger, garlic, green chillies, and shallots.
    Ginger, garlic, shallots and green chillies added
  • Stir well and cook till the raw smell of garlic and shallots disappear. Add the chopped tomatoes. Add salt to taste.
    Add chopped tomatoes
  • Cook till the tomatoes start to disappear into the onion mix.
    Fry till the tomatoes are cooked well
  • Open the pressure cooker. The chicken should be cooked to perfection in the masala gravy.
  • Transfer the contents in the cooker to the skillet with fried onions and tomatoes.
    Add the cooked chicken to the fried onion and tomato mix
  • Add the coriander leaves*, and mix well.
    Add coriander leaves
  • Cook further on a high flame to get the gravy to a thick consistency.
    Mix well, cook on a medium flame to reduce the gravy
  • Dry roast and powder the aroma mix ingredients. Add this garam masala* to the curry, and give it a quick stir just before turning off the flame.


  • For better results - In step 2, roast red chillies and coriander seeds, grind to fine powder in a mixer. Use this powder instead of the coriander powder and chilli powder
  • You don't have to chop the coriander leaves. Leave them on with the stalks for a rustic look
  • You can skip adding the aroma mix, and the curry will still taste great
  • Alternatively, add  a teaspoon of garam masala instead of making it yourself
  • Serving suggestion - Enjoyed best with rice. Will taste fantastic with dosa, or chapati as well


  1. Hi by shallots u mean the small onions and not the regular ones? Also am not clear as to we have to put the raw onion paste in the cooker?

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Hi Tanu,
      Thank you for visiting my blog. That’s correct. I meant the small onions only.
      Shallots, green chillies, and ginger are crushed (or coarsely ground) and added to cooker along with the chicken.
      You don’t have to make it a paste. Hope that helps. Please let me know if you need more info.

  2. I have made this recipe over and over again! We just can’t seem to get enough of it! Thank You!!!


    Just came across your blog through Pinterest – love making curries and really want to make this – I have an electric pressure cooker – how long in time is 1 whistle? Thanks

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Thank you very much, Ann.
      Apologies for the late response. That is an interesting question. The idea is to have the chicken cooked just enough. The setting that you would usually have for cooking chicken should be sufficient. The only point to note is, we’ll be simmering the chicken with the fried onions and tomatoes in the later steps, so you shouldn’t overcook the chicken in the cooker. Just keep that in mind, and you will be fine. Please let me know how it goes. I am sure you will love this curry.

  4. Priyanka George

    Love how you post step by step instructions with pictures Arun. This is what amateur cooks like me look forward the most to. Really really helps.

    Please share some super tasty beef recipe too of yours

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Thank you very much Priyanka! The goal was always to help anyone cook a delicious, good-looking plate of food. I am glad you like the way I have setup the recipes. Thank you again!

      Thank you for the suggestion. That’s something I haven’t started yet.

  5. Veena Viswanadhan

    Hi Arun

    M always in search for simple yet delicious recipes. This chicken curry fits d bill perfectly. I prepared it and my husband loved it. Also, I like ur dal tadka recipe. Pls try to post more such recipes. I wanna try ur other recipes too but with a young baby its difficult. But will surely try them some other time. Keep up d good work.

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Hi Veena,

      Thank you very much. That chicken curry is a family favourite of ours, and I am still trying to match the flavours of my mom’s preparation!
      Happy to hear about the dal tadka. Please drop me a message if you have any recipe suggestions for me. I’ll be more than happy to explore traditional preparations to find an easy, rendition of mine. Thank you for visiting my blog. I have another super easy recipe coming out soon.

  6. The take it easy chef

    Thank you! Yes, it’s very authentic, and it’s a family favorite! :)

  7. Sreeja Karuvath

    Keep it up Chef. Very authentic and that’s what I like about this👍

  8. The take it easy chef

    Thank you Bindiya! Really happy to hear that the dish was well received. :)

    Thank you for the motivation. I’ll keep posting – Tasty dishes with an easy to cook adaptation is the theme that I have been trying to execute. Happy to hear that you like it!

    I am sure you are already a good cook! :)

  9. Bindiya Panicker

    Thank you for this simple yet yummy receipe that my dad completely loved. What makes it so easy for an amateur cook like me is the step by step guide. Keep posting new recipes because this gives me hope that maybe I can be a good cook someday. :)

  10. The take it easy chef

    Thank you Aathira :)

  11. Aathira Soman K

    This looks soooo yum!!

  12. Looks amazing

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