Madras Chicken Curry | Kozhi Kuzhambu (South Indian • Gluten Free • Dairy Free)

Madras Chicken Curry

A versatile curry that pairs up perfectly with unbelievable number of dishes like rice, bread, idly, dosa, roti and more. This is so versatile that it has seen many camping trips with us. I know, I know. We are not hard-core campers… and cannot survive a day without curry 🙂

In most Indian households, we cook vegetarian dishes 5 days a week and meat for only 2 days a week. Especially Sundays never go by without fish or chicken in our house. And this curry that my mother-in-law makes has seen so many Sunday afternoons but never gets old. This curry is very flavorful yet surprisingly easy.


  • In Ancient India, Meat was considered a nourishing food, recommended by Charaka (principal contributor to the ancient art of Ayurveda) for the lean, for convalescents and for those subjected to very hard work. But consumption of seasoned meat EVERY DAY was not considered conducive to good health  according to Sushrutha (Ancient Indian Physician).
  • Why Whole Spices? The flavorful and aromatic oils in whole spices are extremely volatile when exposed to air. As soon as you grind them up, the oils are exposed and spices start to lose their awesomeness.

Cuisine: South Indian
Essential Spices:
Hot Curry:  Chilli Powder, Garam Masala Powder
Mild Curry: Coriander Powder, Garam Masala Powder
Serves: 4

Ingredients Quantity  Notes
Coconut Oil 2 tbsp
 Cinnamon stick 1 inch Or use garam masala powder
 Cardamom pods  2
 Cloves  2
 Onion (Diced)  2 cups
Ginger Garlic Paste 2 tbsp  Or use crushed ginger 1 tbsp & garlic  1 tbsp
 Tomato (Diced)  1/2 cup
 Turmeric Powder  1/2 tsp
 Chilli Powder  2-3 tsp  Or for a mild curry use
coriander powder (2 tsp) and paprika (1 tsp)
 Water  1 tbsp
 Chicken  1 pound  Use bone-in chicken for more flavor
 Coconut (Grated)  1/2 cup   Or use 1/2 cup coconut milk


  1. Heat a pot on medium heat and add 2 tbsp coconut oil.
  2. When oil is hot, add whole garam masala (cinnamon, cardamom and clove) to flavor the oil. (Don’t burn the spices! Take more caution if you use garam masala powder).
  3.  Quickly add onions to the spice infused oil to prevent the spices from burning.
  4.  When onions are translucent, add ginger garlic paste and keep stirring until the paste’s raw smell disappears. Make sure not to burn the ginger and garlic.
  5. Add tomatoes and cover for approximately 5 minutes until the tomatoes turn mushy.
  6. Add turmeric and chilli powder with 1 tbsp water and keep stirring for 2 mins. (Caution: Do not burn the spices).
  7. Add chicken and salt. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  8. If using grated coconut,
    1. Grind 1/2 cup coconut with 1/2 cup warm water into a fine paste.
    2. Add the paste to the pot along with 2 cups of water.
  9. If using coconut milk, add 1 cup of coconut milk and 1 cup of water to the pot.
  10. Cover the pot and cook on med-low for 25 minutes.
  11. Open the pot to see that perfect layer of oil that has separated from the curry and taste the tender and juicy chicken.
  12. Enjoy with Rice and a side of vegetable or Grilled Chicken.

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