Beyond Curry: Kerala-Style Chicken (Nadan Khozi Curry)

Beyond Curry

Inspired Indian home cooking.


[Photograph: Prasanna Sankhe]

The southern Indian state of Kerala is famed for its spices. Pepper, cinnamon, cardamon, and many more of the nation's staple spices grow in abundance there. And, as you might expect given this rich bounty, the region's cuisine is laced with different combinations of these spices, each giving unique flavor profiles to the dishes they season.

Nadan Khozi is a typical curry in Keralan houses, where the blend of spices differs just a little from home to home. The ingredient list might look long, but don't let it daunt you—once you understand that all Indian food is basically an amalgamation of spices, no recipe is really all that difficult. Though the specific spices and their proportions change, the underlying techniques are almost always the same.

This particular dish is especially comforting on nippy evenings (not that we have too many of those here). You can choose to turn down the heat by reducing the amount of red chili powder or whole chili by half. The roasting of the spices gives the dish a nutty, smoky flavor that adds to the dish's satisfying warmth, rounded out coconut milk. All in all, it's a particularly fitting tribute to the land of spices.