I truly appreciate south Indian cuisine. It offers wide variety of food that is rich and complex in taste, thanks to a symphony of spices. A good south Indian meal leaves a deep sense of satisfaction and feeling of lasting goodness.
I attribute my fondest experiences of south Indian meals to my friend Sandhya (and her talented mom). She is a Mallu who grew up in Bombay and now lives in Greater New York. Her cooking style is traditional in its core but convenient and practical to suit a busy life.
I am particularly fond of Kerala style chicken curry that she prepares. I fell in love with this amazing combination of spices and creaminess of coconut milk. I have reproduced her recipe below. It is classic and yet easy to make. Enjoy!
Chicken, 3 lbs
Onions, 4 medium size or 2 big, chopped
Tomatoes, 2 medium sized, chopped
Green Chilies, 2
Ginger, 1 inch
Garlic, 5-6 cloves
Whole Spices (2 cloves, 4 peppercorn, 1 small cinnamon stick)
Coriander Powder, 4 tsp
Turmeric Powder, 1 tsp
Red chilli powder, 1 tsp
Coconut Milk, 1 can
Cilantro/coriander, finely chopped
- Grind ginger, garlic and chilies into a paste
- Heat oil, add chopped onions, when they turn mushy, add the ginger garlic paste along with the spices, let it cook on medium low heat, until it acquires a brownish color, you can add 2-3 tsp water, if the onion-ginger-garlic start sticking to the wok/pan
- Add tomatoes and allow them to cook until mushy
- Add chicken and salt and saute (bhuno) until almost cooked
- Add the coconut milk, and cook for 10-15 minutes, covered and on low heat until the chicken is tender (the whole can may seem a lot, but when we allow tthe chicken to cook on low heat, it absorbs the coconut milk, this gives the curry a rich and creamy taste)
- Garnish with finely chopped cilantro