Kerala Chicken Curry
I learned to cook food from Kerala, South India, from my in-laws. This is a fantastic main dish for a South Indian meal, which should always be served with several dishes - see the footnote for suggestions.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
- 8 eaches fresh curry leaves
- 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 3 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 ½ pounds chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
- 1 cup water to cover
- 1 teaspoon salt
Heat olive oil in a large skillet with a lid over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Drop in mustard seeds and cumin seeds, cover skillet, and wait until the mustard seeds have all popped. Add onion, ginger, and curry leaves. Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, coriander, red chili powder, turmeric, and cinnamon stick; stir well.
Add chicken and enough water to barely cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over medium or medium-low heat for about 45 minutes, checking every 10 minutes to make sure there is enough moisture in the skillet to keep the chicken from burning. Add more water if necessary. When the chicken is tender, season with salt and serve.
You can use any part of the chicken. If you've bought chicken with bones, let the bones cook with the dish - this adds flavor.
Eat this chicken curry with rice (parboiled rice goes nicely, as does Basmati), or a flat bread. Very nice with this curry are curried green beans with coconut and moru curry (yogurt curry). Note: the red chili powder called for here is NOT the same as the chili powder Americans use to flavor chili and tacos. This red chili powder is available from Indian grocery stores and is MUCH HOTTER. This seasoning is typical of how spicy most Indians would like this dish, so if you are unsure you can handle it, start with only 1 tsp. chili powder your first time making this, and then work your way up.