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Mama Menachery's Chicken Curry

SAVE ✓ SAVED ADD TO MEAL PLAN PRINT

This family recipe from Dr. Yum Project founding board member Santhi Nair is a favorite amongst our team.

For those who are new to cooking with fresh curry leaves, they can be found at Indian grocery stores. You can also try growing a curry plant at home so you always have some on hand! The curry leaves add lots of great flavor to this dish, but if you aren't able to find them, don't let it stop you from trying this recipe! It's still super tasty without them.

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled in a large pot to feed a crowd, or as a great Cook Once, Eat Twice meal.

Some of us like to make this curry on the stovetop and others prefer to make in an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker, so we've included directions for both.

Ingredients

Food
Amt
Units
Prep
Notes
1½ lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
chicken thighs
lb
cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
onion
1
chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
garlic
4
cloves
minced
1 inch piece ginger, minced
ginger
1
inch piece
minced
1 stalk curry leaves
curry leaves
1
stalk
1 teaspoon salt
salt
1
teaspoon
1 tablespoon canola oil (or other neutral oil or ghee)
canola oil
1
tablespoon
or other neutral oil or ghee
2 teaspoons ground coriander
ground coriander
2
teaspoons
1½ teaspoon paprika
paprika
teaspoon
1 teaspoon Indian chili powder, or less according to spiciness preference (can substitute with ground cayenne pepper)
Indian chili powder
1
teaspoon
or less according to spiciness preference
can substitute with ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
ground black pepper
1
teaspoon
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
ground turmeric
¼
teaspoon
3 whole cloves
whole cloves
3
3 whole cardamom pods
whole cardamom pods
3
1 tomato, chopped (or substitute with 15oz can diced tomato)
tomato
1
chopped
or substitute with 15oz can diced tomato
1-13.5 ounce coconut milk (or less to taste)
coconut milk
1-13.5
ounce
or less to taste

Method

Stovetop Variation

  1. SEASON THE CHICKEN. To a large bowl, add chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, and salt. Toss to combine and set aside while you gather and prep the remaining ingredients.
  2. BLOOM THE SPICES. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. To the hot oil, add ground coriander, paprika, Indian chili powder, ground black pepper, ground turmeric, whole cloves, and whole cardamom pods. Cook, stirring frequently until the spices are toasted and fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. COOK THE CHICKEN. Add the chicken mixture to the skillet and stir to incorporate. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. ADD TOMATO AND SIMMER. Add the chopped tomato to the skillet and stir to incorporate. Cook until the tomato begins to release its juices, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of water to the skillet and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. ADD COCONUT MILK. Once the curry is done cooking, remove the cover and add the coconut milk. You can add the entire can for a creamer curry or just a couple splashes for a less creamy curry. Serve with rice and bread, such as chapati or naan.

Instant Pot Variation

  1. SEASON THE CHICKEN. To a large bowl, add chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, and salt. Toss to combine and set aside while you gather and prep the remaining ingredients.
  2. BLOOM THE SPICES. Select the SAUTE function on your Instant Pot and heat the oil in the pot. To the hot oil, add ground coriander, paprika, Indian chili powder, ground black pepper, ground turmeric, whole cloves, and whole cardamom pods. Cook, stirring frequently until the spices are toasted and fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. COOK THE CHICKEN. Add the chicken mixture to the pot and stir to incorporate. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. ADD TOMATO AND SIMMER. Add the chopped tomato to the skillet and stir to incorporate. Cook until the tomato begins to release its juices, about 2 minutes.
  5. COOK ON HIGH PRESSURE FOR 8 MINUTES. Select CANCEL to turn off the sauté function and secure the lid on the pot, making sure the pressure valve is in the closed position. Select PRESSURE COOK and set to cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. When the timer beeps, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release.
  6. ADD COCONUT MILK. Once the natural release is finished, remove the lid of the pot and add the coconut milk. You can add the entire can for a creamer curry or just a couple splashes for a less creamy curry. For a thicker curry, select the SAUTE function on your Instant Pot and allow the curry to simmer, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until the liquid reaches your desired thickness. Serve with rice and bread, such as chapati or naan.
Prep time
20 min
Cook time
30 min
Yields/Serves:
4-6
Nutrition Information