Kerala Chicken Stew ~ Kozhi Ishtoo

August 26, 2011 · 21 comments

in Breakfast - South India,Chicken,Coconut,Cuisine : Indian,Cuisine : Kerala,Potato

Kerala Chicken Stew

Whenever I think of stew, the first thing that comes to my mind is lightly spiced coconut milk – very simple, just a hint of aroma of spices, flavor of coconut milk and of course potatoes. That is what every stew should have. You can make it a vegetable stew by adding some carrots, beans, peas etc or a chicken stew by adding some chicken to this. Stew – vegetable or chicken is an integral part of Kerala cuisine and it mostly features in the breakfast menu. Typical combinations would be appam ( thin lacey pancakes) with stew or white bread with stew or idiyappam (string hoppers / steamed rice noodles) with stew or even idli (steamed rice and lentil cakes/dumplings) with stew . But then again you can always make this as a side for chapatis, parathas etc. 

Last weekend we had family over and I had made some food before hand, so that I get to spend more time with them than in the kitchen. I made some of this chicken stew, some vegetable stew for me, mutton pepper fry, rajma, dal etc. It was so easy to just take out and microwave just before breakfast / dinner and just make some rice or rotis to go with it. When I do things like these is when I wish I planned like this every day, every week. I think I have to go back to my menu planner days. That way I always knew what I was cooking that day, knew what all veggies to use up, so that very little got wasted and kinda almost always knew how much leftovers I had so that also got used up and not thrown away. Aah, well, look at me digressing from the topic. Yes, so stew – it is something that you have absolutely gotta try to make atleast once. Not very difficult to make at all. And if you don’t want to use all that coconut milk in the recipe, go for the light version of coconut milk or mix a little milk to the coconut milk instead of all coconut milk. Of course, it will be different from what you would get from the original recipe, but hey im sure that will also be not that bad :)


Kerala Chicken Stew / Kozhi Ishtoo – The Recipe

  • Coconut oil – 2 tsp
  • Yellow or Red Onion – 1, sliced thinly
  • Cloves – 3
  • Green Cardamom – 4
  • Cinnamon – 2 1 inch pieces
  • Black Peppercorns – 4-5
  • Ginger, crushed – 1 tsp
  • Garlic, crushed – 1 tsp
  • Thai green chillies, slit in half lengthwise – 3-4
  • Chicken – about 2 lbs – I used bone-in breast pieces, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Small white potatoes – 4, quartered
  • Coconut milk – 2 cans
  • Salt

For seasoning : 1 tsp coconut oil, few curry leaves and a hand ful of pearl onions thinly sliced


 Heat the oil in a large pot and add the onions, green chillies, ginger and garlic to it. Saute till onions almost turn translucent. Meanwhile, crush the spices a little in a mortar and pestle. Add these crushed spices to the onions. Add the chicken pieces to the pot as well. Stir well.

Once the chicken starts to change color onthe outside, add the potatoes and add maybe 1/2 cup of water to the pot. Cover and cook till chicken and potaotes are almost done. There will be water coming fromt he chicken, so the 1/2 cup water should suffice. Also, we don’t want too much water as we are going to add the coconut milk later. Once the chicken and potaotes are almost cooked, add the coconut milk to the pot and let it cook the chicken and potatoes a little more. Add the salt to the pot as well. Let simmer for 10 mins or so.

Heat the oil for seasoning in a separate small pan and add the sliced pearl onions and curry leaves to it. Once the onions turn brown, pour this onto the stew. Serve with any of the combination mentioned earlier in the post.


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