Keralan cuisine has adopted colonial British stew recipes, adding spices to make them their own. In southern India, stew is made with coconut milk and Malabar Coast spices.
4 green chillies, roughly chopped, plus 2 more, slit lengthways, to garnish
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp peeled and finely grated root ginger
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp groundnut or sunflower oil
5-6 curry leaves (optional)
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 kg chicken drumsticks and thighs, skinned and pricked
200ml coconut milk
In a blender or with a pestle and mortar, blitz the chillies, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, garlic and salt with 1 tablespoon of the oil and 2 tablespoons of cold water to make a coarse paste.
Heat the remaining oil in a heavy-based pan. Add the curry leaves, if using, cloves and onions and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the paste and fry for a minute. Tip in the chicken pieces and fry for 10 minutes on a medium to low heat until the chicken is white on the outside.
Rinse out the blender or mortar that contained the paste with 200ml cold water. Mix this with the coconut milk. Pour over the chicken and mix well.
Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
Garnish with the slit green chillies and serve hot with lemon rice.