The Big Boys Curry Book

Chicken Stew

Shnigar, the hotel PR Manager, whipping up a storm at the New Years Party at the Muthoot Plaza, Trivandrum

This is a straightforward meat and potato stew from Kerala, and I found it in what to me is one of the best Indian food books, 50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi. For me this is an excellent standby meal because it is so easy to cook, requiring only that you have a tin of coconut milk in reserve in the cupboard and a chicken in the freezer. If you halve the amount of black pepper and reduce the chillies by deseeding you may find that children will eat this as well.


  • 12 new potatoes, par boiled with salt and 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 3lb chicken, skinned and chopped into pieces. You can also de-bone it if you wish
  • 1 inch piece of Fresh Ginger, chopped.
  • 2 medium Onions, grated or chopped very fine
  • 2 green chillies chopped
  • 1 tsp. Black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp. Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Mustard Seed
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped.
  • 2 inch Cinnamon or Cassia
  • 6 green cardamom split
  • 3 cloves
  • 20 curry leaves
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh or canned coconut milk.
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas
  • 1/4 tsp. Garam Masala - Hot Spice blend powder.


  1. Put ginger, peppercorns and turmeric into mortar and pound into rough paste
  2. Heat oil and add mustard seed. When it starts to crackle add bay leaf. When that turns khaki add garlic, cinnamon and cardamoms.
  3. After 20 seconds add paste, cloves and curry leaves. After further 20 seconds add the onion and chillies and cook through, stirring regularly until onion turns translucent.
  4. Add chicken pieces and cook for 5 minutes over gentle heat.
  5. Add potatoes, carrots and salt and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add coconut milk, 1/2 cup of water and peas. Cover and cook until potato and chicken done. This stew should have a thinnish gravy so if it is getting too thick add more coconut milk or water.
  7. Add garam masala and heat for 2 minutes.
  8. Serve in a bowl with warmed Nan bread.

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