South Indian Chicken Curry Recipe

This Chicken Curry Recipe main dish is one of my favorites. It uses the ingredients common in South India and is similar to the chicken curry recipe known as Chicken Chettinad (or Kozhi Vartha Kozhambu).

South Indian Chicken Curry Recipe – Chicken Curry with Coconut


  • 1 chicken cut up
  • 3 tablespoons Ghee or oil
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon fennel
  • 1 2-inch piece of cinnamon stick (I prefer cinnamon bark)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced (or paste)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced (or paste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 4 small tomato, diced
  • 1 1-inch square piece of tamarind (see note)


  1. Heat the oil in a frying or sauté pan and add cardamom pods, cinnamon, fennel and cumin seeds.
  2. Fry the spices for 1-2 minutes and add the diced onions and cook until wilted. Reduce the heat and add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another 2-3 minutes (if your pan is too hot you will risk burning the garlic).
  3. Add the turmeric, curry powder, chicken, tomato, garam masala and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and mix thoroughly and cover.
  4. Let it simmer for 4-5 minutes until the sauce thickens and the chicken is cooked through. Serve hot with rice.

A Note on Ingredients: 

Tamarind is one of the unique ingredients found in South India. It gives a sour taste to the chicken curry recipe and it can be found in different forms. The most common way to find it is in packages where the tamarind seeds are compacted together. To use it in a recipe, take a piece off and soak it in water. The size of the piece will be indicated in the recipe. After it has soaked for 2 hours squeeze it between your fingers to extract the juice and discard the pith and seeds. Tamarind can be found in specialty stores in your area or ordered online.

Coconut Milk can be extracted in much the same way as tamarind using warm water. You can also use shredded or desiccated coconut for this chicken curry recipe. Boil the shredded coconut in milk and let it sit for an hour or two. Strain the milk and coconut through a strainer and discard the pith. If you choose to use milk, be careful that your recipe does not have an ingredient, which will curdle it! The easiest choice is to use the store bought cans of coconut milk.

Recent Posts