KERALA CHICKEN CURRY - NADAN KOZHI

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I had this several times on my recent trip to Kerala and was reminded once again of the way Indian cooking utilized spices in many forms - fresh, whole, powdered and roasted - all in one dish - adding a depth and complexity of flavors hard to find in any cuisine. Take your time with curry - it can feel a bit of a project before you start (but really isn’t). Sunday is a good day for this - make a double batch and you can enjoy it through the week. If you can serve it with paratha - fresh or frozen from your South Asian grocer, I highly recommend. 

Kerala Chicken Curry - Nadan Kozhi

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For the curry (masala paste):
3 tbsp coriander seeds
2 inch cinnamon stick
4 cloves
4 cardamom pods
1/2 tsp. Peppercorn
1 tsp. fennel seeds
2 dried red chillies (optional)
½ cup water
Dry roast these spices and then grind to a paste with water. Set aside. 
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tbsp. Lime juice
1 tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric
4 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 cup of coconut milk

For final tempering:
1 tbsp oil
2 dried red chilli or 2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 sprig of curry leaves

Add lime juice, salt and turmeric to chicken and set aside 30-45 minutes
Heat oil in a pan, add onions and fry till they translucent.
Add ginger and garlic till. Add chicken and fry on a high flame till it turns opaque, about 2- 3 mins.
Pour the curry paste. Mix well. Cover and cook till the chicken is done. Add ½ cup of water if it gets too dry. Pour the coconut milk. Mix well. Let simmer at medium heat for 5 mins. 
For final tempering : Heat the oil in a pan. Add the curry leaves and dried chilli to the hot oil. Stir for a few seconds. Add the shallots and cook till lightly browned. Top the cooked chicken with this and mix well.