Keralan cuisine is based on the culinary traditions of the region's Christian, Hindu and Muslim communities, and each group puts its own imprint on each recipe. This mildly sweet chicken curry (Nadan Kozhi) is in the style of Syrian-Christian Keralans; cooks from other communities omit the potatoes and squash.
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2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure chile powder, such as pasilla
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 onions, halved and thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
12 curry leaves
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
One 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, wing tips removed
1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
3/4 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
How to Make It
In a small skillet, toast the coriander, chile powder and turmeric over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the water to form a paste.
In a very large, deep skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onions, garlic, ginger and curry leaves and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the spice paste, garam masala and black pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the oil separates from the paste, about 2 minutes.
Lightly season the chicken pieces with salt. Add the chicken, diced potato and squash to the skillet and stir to coat with the seasonings. Stir in the coconut milk and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the chicken is cooked through and the potato and squash are tender, about 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken pieces to a bowl. Season the curry sauce with salt, pour it over the chicken and serve.
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