Amma’s chicken curry

Preparation time: 45 minutes Cooking time: 35-40 minutes Serves: 6


An authentic South Indian Chicken curry from my mom's kitchen. This is a very spicy version, so feel free to adjust the black peppercorns, green and red chillies as you see fit.


  • 1 chicken, cut into medium pieces (leave the skin on or take it out, as you desire)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • A pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 onions - finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly minced garlic
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of freshly minced ginger (use ginger powder as a substitute)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Light Olive Oil for cooking (my mom uses coconut oil, but health freaks that we are now, I use LOO and it does not vary the taste noticeably)
  • Blend to a smooth paste (with water as needed):
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 large cinammon stick
  • 3-4 green cardamom pods (remove from pods)
  • 3 green chillies
  • 4-5 long dried red chillies
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds (khus khus)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp cashewnuts
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated coconut (or dried coconut powder)
  • (Save any water that’s left over from cleaning out your blender jar)


Mix together the lemon juice, salt and turmeric and rub onto the chicken pieces. Let the chicken marinate while you continue preparation of the curry.

In a deep saucepan, add the cooking oil. Add the onions and fry till the onions are nicely browned. They have to go well past the translucent stage and actually get quite a brown tinge.

Add the blended paste (masala) and fry on high heat stirring continously (to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan) for about 10 minutes. You can tell that the paste is done when oil starts leaving the sides of the paste, and it has turned a darker color.

Now add the chicken pieces and the blender water. Add water to just cover the chicken pieces in the pan and simmer covered for 25-30 minutes until the chicken is completly cooked through.

Add the coriander leaves and mix well.

Check for salt and add as needed. If the dish is too spicy, you can add equal quantities of boiled potato and raw cut tomato at this stage and simmer for another few minutes to reduce the heat.

Enjoy with steamed rice.

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