Kerala Chicken Stew ~ Kozhi Ishtoo

August 26, 2011 · 21 comments

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


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.



{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Arch August 26, 2011 at 10:25 pm

This looks beautiful – your pics are looking great Manju…I love the appam-stew combinations for sunday breakfasts – especially, the ones from this restaurant called Koshys in Bangalore, they are such so awesome !!


2 Manju August 29, 2011 at 10:35 am

Thanks Arch :)


3 Kalyan August 28, 2011 at 8:43 am

Chicken stew is one of my favourites anytime…looks delicious.


4 Manju August 29, 2011 at 10:35 am

A favorite of many for sure and thanks :)


5 kankana August 29, 2011 at 2:48 pm

You know how much I love appam with a spicy meat stew !! This looks so yumm and i only wish i was staying next to your house. Would have invited myself shamelessly to your place.


6 Manju September 13, 2011 at 12:15 pm

you can still come! its not that far ;)


7 julia August 29, 2011 at 6:48 pm

this is gorgeous!


8 Manju September 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm

thanks Julia :)


9 rachel August 29, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Appams or bread with the stew and I’m in heaven :)


10 Manju September 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm

haha..thanks Rachel! :)


11 marla August 30, 2011 at 8:47 am

Such a lovely stew, love all these flavors! Beautiful photos too :)


12 Manju September 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm

thanks Marla!!


13 Nami | Just One Cookbook August 30, 2011 at 11:02 pm

What a beautiful stew. My first reaction was hmm? white?? I often assume Indian food has more “spices” in it so I didn’t expect coconut milk’s white color. It’s a very nice surprise. And I like the idea that you can precook before the guests come so that you get to spend more time with them. Often Japanese food requires to cook right before serving and it’s very…. not guest-friendly. Most of housewives are expected to stay in the kitchen whole time while guests are over. Very different culture… Thanks for sharing Manju!


14 Manju September 13, 2011 at 12:18 pm

well, it is not so much cultural. Moms generation and before that never cooked food a day before, infact in most parts its a taboo to eat leftovers. I think this is just a modern day convenience that we do :) and yeah, it helps that food still tastes pretty good even if cooked the day before and reheated :)


15 Ananda Rajashekar September 3, 2011 at 7:59 am

whiteness of ishtoo is that amazes me, i never managed to get them right so far, must try ur procedure next time to see how much i pass! beautiful pictures Manju and with Apam ohh love!


16 Manju September 13, 2011 at 12:18 pm

thanks Ananda!


17 Tadka Pasta September 5, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Perfect comfort food! Potatoes and chicken, and all that spiced coconut milk. Great finishing touch with the onions too. Just beautiful and so easy. Now if only someone would make the appams to go with it :)


18 Manju September 13, 2011 at 12:18 pm

thanks TP :)


19 Gagan October 4, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Just discovered your blog—I’m literally drooling here! This looks soooooooo good.


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