Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Curry Leaves Chicken (Karuvepilai Chicken)

Its time to post a non-vegetarian recipe. I love the tantalizing flavor of curry leaves. A bit of this brings out a traditional flavor in everything I cook, especially in non vegetarian dishes. Nothing can beat the freshly seasoned curry leaves on coconut chutney. I used to dislike this during childhood as it was painful to pick them out while eating. With the years going by though, like many of you, I’ve developed a true love to these leaves. Now, given a chance, I’d add them to anything I cook.

This is a dish that I have been waiting to post for a long time.  The first time I tasted this was at a local restaurant in India. It was delicious and ever since I have been drooling over this dish. I messed up the pictures when I made this last time and after a long time I made this again recently. 

  • Chicken thighs (boneless) - 2 pounds
  • Curry leaves - 1/2 cup
  • Onions - 2 medium sized - finely chopped
  • Tomatoes - 2 medium sized - finely chopped
  • Ginger - 2 inches
  • Garlic - 4 cloves
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Chilli powder - 2 tsp
  • Corriander powder - 4 tsp
  • Cinnamon - 1 inch
  • Cloves - 2
  • Cardamom - 1
  • Fennel seeds - 2 tsp
  • Sesame oil - 2 tbsp


  • Wash and cut the chicken into 2 inch pieces. Marinate the chicken pieces with turmeric powder, 1 tsp chillipowder and salt for atleast 30 mins.
  • Make a paste out of ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, 1 tsp fennel seeds, curry leaves (save a few for seasoning) and a handful of chopped onions. Add just a little water.
  • Heat sesame oil in a large wok (cast iron pans are perfect). Season with the remaining 1 tsp of fennel seeds.
  • Add chopped onions, a few curry leaves and fry well until the onions change color.
  • Add the ground paste, remaining 1 tsp chilli powder and corriander powder and fry in medium heat for a min.
  • Add the tomatoes, mix well, cover and let it cook in low heat for 5 - 8 mins, until the spices and tomatoes are cooked well.
  • Add the marinated chicken, mix well and cover it again in medium heat for 10 - 15 mins until the chicken is fully cooked. Add very little water if necessary as the chicken and tomatoes release a lot of moisture.
  • After the chicken is fully cooked, increase the heat and let all the liquid evaporate while gently stirring the chicken continuously.
  • Turn off the heat after the chicken reaches the correct consistency as you desire.
 Perfect for Sambar and Rasam rice... but nothing can beat this dish with curd rice!