Nadan chicken curry or nadan kohzi is a peppery chicken curry from the Kerala region of India. It’s got all the big South Indian flavours going on. Pepper, green chilies, coconut and curry leaves. Just really tasty.
You see nadan chicken curry on South Indian inspired restaurants. Funkier places. It’s getting more popular. And it’s about time. South Indian cuisine has it going on.
I’m not saying give up on Madras and chicken tikka masala. But I am saying there is more. Way more. And you need to try it.
Nadan chicken curry starts with caramelization of the onions
This is homestyle nadan curry. Traditional. It’s about the caramelization of the onions. That’s always critical in Indian cooking. Take your time doing it. You don’t want them to burn. A nice brown colour. This will take about 20 minutes. But you have to do it. Or it won’t work.
After that it’s easy. Add some garlic and ginger. Spices go in next. Fry that up to bloom the spices. Then it’s just come coconut milk and chicken. Let it simmer until the chicken is done and eat.
South Indian style chicken curry
South Indian cooking is a little different. Not the same as what you may be used to. There may be a few things that aren’t super familiar. Don’t let that stop you. This is a whole new world of wonderful waiting for you to discover.
Coconut is a big one. Lots of coconut in South Indian food. Gives everything a lusciousness. Not like Thai curries though. All Indian.
Coconut oil adds a little something extra. It’s not critical but it’s a nice touch. If you can’t get it just use vegetable oil. Not the end of the world.
Curry leaves are the thing. They don’t taste like anything else. And dried doesn’t work. You can make this without the curry leaves. I will still be good. But you won’t get the full experience.
If you live somewhere where there is a reasonably large Indian population you should be able to find them. Most any Indian grocer will have them. I’ve even seen them in regular grocery stores. Not often, mind you. But I have seen them.
Worst case, go to your local Indian restaurant and ask them where they get their ingredients. I’m sure they will share if you tell them you want to cook nadan chicken curry.
The tempering adds the final burst of flavour
Tempering is a fancy term for a little something extra at the end. That last layer of flavour. It’s not uncommon in Indian cooking although a lot of recipes skip this step for some reason.
It’s not a lot of extra work and it’s totally worth it. You just add a bit of oil into a skillet and fry up some whole spices and other seasonings. In this case it’s some mustard seeds, shallots and the curry leaves. Instant wow.
This is a curry that needs to be on restaurant menus
I don’t really understand why Indian restaurants all insist on being the same. You could pretty much order off one menu in another restaurant. It’s just odd.
Imagine if all Italian restaurants only served 15 dishes. That would suck. And yet Indian restaurants all seem to be following pretty much exactly the same formula. See what I mean?
Makes. No. Sense.
And yet we put up with it. We don’t have to. It’s time to be heard.
Make nadan chicken curry. And then go to your local Indian restaurant and ask them. “Hey! Where’s the nadan kohzi?” See what they say. I’m betting you’ll be seeing it on their menu soon after that.
Bet you didn’t know nadan chicken curry could start a revolution…
nadan chicken curry
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp mild kashmiri chili powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp coarse black pepper
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp salt
Nadan chicken curry
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs - each thigh cut in half
- 4 tbsp coconut oil or vegetable oil
- 2 1/2 cups red onion - finely diced
- 3 tbsp garlic ginger paste or equal amounts of garlic and ginger, finely chopped
- 4 green chilies - coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup chicken stock or water
- 2/3 cup coconut milk
- 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 shallot sliced
- 15-20 fresh curry leaves
Nadan chicken curry
- Combine the coriander, kashmiri chili, garam masala, black pepper, turmeric and salt. Set aside.
- Place a pot over medium low heat. Add the coconut oil and onion and cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are well cooked and starting to turn golden. This takes about 20 minutes. If it takes less your heat is too high.
- Add the garlic ginger paste or minced garlic and ginger along with the green chilies. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Stir in the spice mix and continue to stir. Watch that the spices don't burn. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the chicken, chicken stock and coconut milk. Cover and simmer until the chicken is nearly done. About 15 minutes.
- Remove the lid and continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- Add the final seasoning mixture and serve with rice or Indian flatbread.
- While the chicken cooks, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.
- Add the mustard seeds and cook until they start to crackle.
- Mix in the shallots and curry leaves. Cook until the shallots turn brown.
31 thoughts on “nadan chicken curry”
Five stars by the way
Made this last night and it was very very good. My only issue was that the gravy started out way too runny (which was my fault for putting in too much coconut milk and chicken stock) so reducing it down took quite a while. I
Chicken was still nice and tender though.
Another Glebe Kitchen winner
Delighted to hear you enjoyed it. It’s one of my absolute favourites.
We’ll done Romain. Beautiful dish. Fresh curry leaves are a must.
Thank you! I am addicted to fresh curry leaves:-)
Amazing recipe! Picked it at random from your list of Indian curries and I a so glad I did. Thanks again for such a great resource, much appreciated.
Curry Russian roulette! Awesome. You are very welcome.
What is the meaning of ‘nadan’ in curry making?
I tried google translate in both Hindi and Malayalam. No luck…
it means “home country”. Malayalees use it when referring to Kerala 🙂
Thank you for explaining that!
This is lovely, thanks Romain. I have a coconut-based curry I’ve always made, but this makes me realise how overly sweet and uninterestingly-spiced it is.
Would you consider using large prawns instead of chicken for this one? (Obviously only adding the prawns for the last few minutes, not the whole 25 minute simmering time.)
Thanks for saying. I think prawns would work fine but as you say add them in only for the last few minutes. Don’t cut down on the overall simmering time though. You want the time to allow everything to come together.
Made this one again for the umpteenth time this evening, superb curry. Can’t seem to get enough of this one, deffo one of our faves!
Super glad to hear it! Thanks. It is a great change from all the north Indian curries for sure.
This is the best curry recipe I’ve ever tried. The flavours are awesome. It was worth the effort of finding all the ingredients. A firm favourite in this house.
Outstanding! So glad you enjoyed it.
Loved the curry , it’s got to be one of the best , if not the best curry I’ve tasted 10/10 .
The only problem I had was couldn’t get any fresh curry leaves ,I need to go shopping.
Of to the curry house tonight and ask for a nadan .
Haha. That’s awesome. Love to hear what they say when you ask:-)
Just made this gorgeous Nadan curry and my family loved it
So glad they liked it!
Just made this and its my favourite so far .I was a bit hesitant with the final seasoning because of the curry leaves (i didn’t think I could eat them haha) but it took it to another level ..oh and I was a bit confused where the 4 chillies fitted in (either im blind or they aren’t mentioned )…so i just threw them in with the red onions .. it never affected the taste ..it was superb!!! X
Tracey – I’m glad you like it. It is one of my favourites as well. You have caught a mistake on my part (that is now corrected) but it seems you figured it out anyway!
I have never eaten the curry leaves – always thought it was just for flavouring. So, we can eat it ??
They soften up when you cook them like in this dish. I eat them but I imagine it’s a matter of personal preference.
Can you tell me what conversion you use for cups in the UK??
237 ml per cup.
thank you and to confirm that is the conversion used for all of the ingredients, onions, chicken stock and coconut milk?
I am not in the UK so everything on this site is measured in cups and liquid ounces. But a cup here is 237 ml so that is a consistent conversion throughout.
I’ve just made this one.
Absolutely delicious ?
Thank you again
Richard – glad you liked it. Now go to your local Indian restaurant and ask why they don’t serve it:-)