Kerala Kozhi Eshstu (Kerala Chicken Stew)

One of my favourite presents from this past Christmas was a book on Indian recipes. I love home-cooked Indian food, but I've never had the confidence to try and cook it at home. With this simple and easy to follow book, however, I really have no excuse now.

Though I can't remember the name of the book (I'm too lazy to go look for it), I especially like the fact that it offers a wide variety of recipes from all over India that cannot commonly be found in Indian restaurants. The recipes are generally more home-friendly, as well, and are not very heavy (again, unlike most of the Mughlai food served in the restaurants).

This recipe, particularly, is very light and versatile. It's fresh and fruity enough to be good for a summer or spring lunch, but it also has chili and garlic to add enough of a heartiness for a chilly winter or autumn 'eve. All in all, it instantly received our seal of approval at home.

Ingredients (Serves 2)
  • 2 green finger chilies, roughly chopped (+ 1 for garnish)
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, grated (+1/2 tsp for garnish)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil (e.g. grapeseed)
  • 2-3 curry leaves
  • 1-2 cloves
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 500g chicken drumsticks (or thighs), skinned and pricked
  • 100ml coconut milk
  1. Crush the chilies, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, and 1 tbsp oil together with a mortar and pestle. Add 1-2 tbsp cold water and mix together to make a coarse paste. Alternatively, use a blender for this step.
  2. Heat the remaining oil over medium heat in a pot. Add curry leaves, cloves and the onion. Fry for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add in the paste. Fry for another minute.
  4. Reduce the heat to a medium-low. Add in the chicken and fry for around 10 minutes or until the chicken is partially cooked and golden brown.
  5. Rinse out the left-over contents of the mortar (or blender) with 100ml of cold water. Add them to the pot. 
  6. Add in the coconut milk. Mix the ingredients in the pot well. 
  7. Once the contents start to boil a little, lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and cooked.
  8. Garnish with chopped green chilies, raw ginger (if you like), and serve hot with lemon rice, appam, or even pita bread. 

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