Kerala chicken stew


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook: 300 Classic Recipes from the Great Regions of India

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook

By Mridula Baljekar

Published 2017

  • About

In this dish, Ishtoo, chicken on the bone is slow-cooked in a sumptuous, rich coconut broth to produce a wonderful, warming stew that is packed with flavour and is very nutritious. In Kerala, where the recipe comes from, it is normally served with appam, a plain rice flour pancake, but it is also good accompanied by plain boiled basmati rice, which soaks up the tangy, green chilli infused saffron.


  • 675 g/ lb chicken leg or breast portions on the bone
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp sunflower oil or olive oil
  • 2.5 cm/1 in piece of cinnamon stick
  • 6 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 4 cloves
  • 12–15 curry leaves
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 10 ml/2 tsp ginger purée
  • 10 ml/2 tsp garlic purée
  • 2 fresh green chillies, sliced at an angle
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 400 g/14fl oz/½ cups canned coconut milk
  • 5 ml/1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 500 g/174 lb medium potatoes,
  • 175 g/6 oz/ cups frozen garden peas
  • Plain Boiled Rice, to serve


  1. Remove the skin from the chicken joints, cut each of them into two pieces, then cover and set aside.

  2. Heat the oil in a large pan over a low heat and add the cinnamon, cardamom pods, cloves and curry leaves.

  3. Sauté the spices for 25–30 seconds, until they release their aroma, then add the chopped onion to the pan. Increase the heat to medium and fry until the onion is soft but not browned, approximately 5–6 minutes.

  4. Add the ginger, garlic and chillies and cook for 2–3 minutes longer to allow the flavours to blend.

  5. Add the turmeric, stir well, then add the skinned chicken pieces. Increase the heat from medium to high and cook for about 5 minutes, until the chicken browns all over.

  6. Pour in the coconut milk and add the salt, stir and mix well. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15–20 minutes.

  7. Halve the potatoes and pour in 250 ml/8fl oz/1 cup warm water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, then cover and cook for 20 minutes more, or until the chicken is cooked and the potatoes are tender.

  8. Add the peas, cook for 5 minutes longer, then serve with Plain Boiled Rice.

Per portion Energy 552kcal/2309kJ; Protein 40g; Carbohydrate 43.6g, of which sugars 16g; Fat 25.5g, of which saturates 6.9g; Cholesterol 192.5mg;Calcium 104.5mg; Fibre 5.4g; Sodium 271mg.