August 27, 2006

Nadan Kozhi Curry/Chicken Curry with Coconut

This is a very rustic (nadan) chicken curry, with no frills, no lengthy preparation and no elaborate ingredients. Most Malabar feast recipes are heavy and intricate while their everyday cooking is minimalistic and simple. The daily meals are typical of the rest of kerala cuisine, with dosa, puttu, neriya pathiri etc for breakfast, fish- rice based lunches,pathiri and a meat curry for dinner.In fact, my mother laughs when I ask her for this recipe. She calls it the neetiya curry. The origin of this curry is more Malapurram, my father’s naadu, than Calicut. She tells me the story of olden days, when there were unforeseen guests, and the chicken was less, the cooking was underway, so this curry gets stretched (neetiyathu) and becomes more and more watery to create more gravy. But in its simplicity, it is a perfect accompaniment to any rice based item such as pathiri, idiappam, puttu etc and even with porotta. It goes amazingly well with plain bread, somewhat like bread and stew.
I found that the Malaysian appetiser, Roti Canai’s chicken curry has almost the same taste, perhaps a legacy from Malayalees who migrated to Malayasia a long time ago.
According to my friend Ki in Kuala Lumpur, the roti -canai is our own kerala porota. There early Indian restuarants were set by Malabar muslims and they called themselves Malabarees. She says "Canai" in malay (bahasa meleyu) means flattening/smoothening/grinding. I wonder if they fish sauce to this curry too. I have friends who just go the Malaysian place Penang, to double order this as a main course.

Cooking time: 15 min
You will need:
Chicken-1 lb, (500gm) cleaned and cut into small pieces.
Potatoes- 2 medium size
Onions- 1 small one
Tomatoes-1 really small one
Green chilies paste– 3 tsp
Garlic –Garlic paste – 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 3/4 tsp
Red chili powder- 1 tsp (more or less as per taste)
Coriander powder-4 tbsp
Pepper- 1/2 tsp Powder
Coconut grated-1/2 cup or ½ cup coconut milk
Coriander, curry leaves each a small handful, chopped
Salt - to taste
No oil.
Preparation Method
1. Wash the chicken and lightly toss it with lemon juice and rinse again. Drain well onto a slotted drainer. Chop the tomatoes, onion into small pieces. Peel and dice each potato into 8 pieces.
2. In a pressure cooker or heavy bottomed sauce pan, add chicken, onions, spices and everything else except the green leaves and mix well. Pressure cook for 1 whistle. Alternately, cook covered for 10-15 minutes on low heat. If doing so, keep checking often.
Grind the coconut with ¼ cup water to a very fine paste. Alternatively, you can use coconut milk powder, dissolved in warm water.
3. After the pressure cooker cools down, open and check if the chicken is cooked. Add salt and the chopped leaves. Add the coconut paste and turn on the flame again. Let it simmer for at least 10 minutes on low flame.Mix well and check taste. If there is very little gravy, add ¼ to ½ water to make extra gravy and let it boil well. Turn off and serve.


Anonymous said...

Hello Shaheen,
What I have noticed in ur blogs is that majority of the recipes are easy to prepare and also sooo tasty. I m definitely going to prepare this one tomorrow or day after.

Ruth Daniels said...

This does sound like a wonderful dish.

My mother and grandmother also had "stretch" meals for those unexpected guests.

One was a creamed salmon dish just tins of salmon, some milk , mushrooms, peas and served on toast. A very easy to stretch meal.

I love how each culture has something like that.

Can't wait to see what you consider "foreign for the upcoming Weekend Cookbook Challenge - foreign food.

indianadoc said...

Hmm...Neettal kollam...we make mutton,prawns and crab also similarly...Though simple they r just wonderful dishes..

indosungod said...

Shaheen this is a simple and mouth watering dish, also love your pavakka puliyinji.

Rajesh &Shankari said...

Such a simple and yet delectable dish!

Zerin said...

I had tried this recipe, it turned out great.The only problem my mother noticed with the curry is that it looks a bit bland (my curry looked a little creamish),should i simmer it for some time after adding the coconut milk? and should i add lots of water wen i cook the chicken(since water comes out from the chicken i didn't add so much water).
keep up the great work. Please try to add recipes of palaharams like chattipathiri, erachipathiri etc... since ramdan is fast approaching

Shah cooks said...

hi zerin
thanks for trying the recipe. don't add any water in the first stage of cooking in the pressure cooker.
After adding the coconut milk, you could try simmering it for a while till the oil floats to the top. i guess it depends on the kind of chicken. if it a big chicken, it does get a little bland. i use the smallest halal chicken i can get.try to add more red chili powder to counteract it.

bin_345 said...

dear shaheen,
I check out your site whenever there is free time. last day tried out chicken curry and triangular was fantabulous. was wondering how it has the garam masala flavour with out adding any!photos in yur blog are excellent.also like to know about chattipathiri ,erachipathiri....

Shah cooks said...

hi bindu,
thanks a lot for ur kind words. i will be posting those recipes too soon.

Unknown said...

Shaheen ji, thank you so much for the amazing recipes...

Shaheen ji, we live here in Toronto, Canada and we often frequent this one restaurant called Madras Palace which serves South Indian cuisine with Kerala influences. (

They make amazing vegetable thalis and masala dosas. My question is, I'm trying to find what their 'secret' to great taste is. I've tried to mimic their curries but to no avail. I can see from looking at their curries carefully that they use alot of mustard seeds, curry leaves but I can't figure out the rest. Do they use the regular jeera, dhaniya powders? What do they use for the base of their curries? is it coconut milk always? hopefully it isn't, and with your help I can try and make it. The curries have an amazing unique taste NOT charactersistic of north indian cooking... the gravy has a very nice 'nutty/sweet/spicy' taste... not sure if that even describes it!

as always, thank you so much and please keep up the excellent work!

Shah cooks said...

ustad, if you tell me which recipe u are trying to approximate, we can try and figure out the masalas. the nuttiness probably comes from the roasting of the coconut or from dhania.

Aseem Saxena said...

Am not a very good cook Shaheen... can you tell me how many curry leaves make a handful?