Easy Kerala Chicken Curry || Instant Pot Chicken Curry Recipe (Paleo)


This is a quick and easy way to make chicken curry.  This was how my dad used to make chicken curry in his bachelorhood days and so every now and then while we were growing up, we used to request him to cook his ‘special chicken curry’.  This is a ‘dump everything into a pot’ kind of stew/curry! You need to just assemble all of the ingredients and then put everything into one pot and let the chicken slowly cook yielding a delicious and spicy gravy.! One neat ingredient that my dad used to add to this curry is fresh coconut chips.  Adding fresh coconut chips is very unique to ‘Kerala’ cuisine, which uses coconut in all its forms- grated coconut, coconut milk, coconut oil and dried shredded coconut 🙂

For getting fresh coconut chips, you break open a fresh coconut, get all the delicious water out and then using a strong, sharp knife, you go around each half of the coconut making thin cuts and get the slices out.  As a kid, watching my mom or dad do this, I would think that this was so easy to do. But after growing up I realized that it was not easy to get the slices out! Boy, I am so glad for fresh frozen coconut slices! I get those from our local Indian grocers. If you cannot lay your hands on fresh frozen coconut slices, you could use dried coconut slices or chips. Since the recipe calls to cook them with the chicken, they should get sufficiently hydrated by the time the curry is cooked.

The coconut slices provide a lovely coconut flavor to the curry and at the same time they are delicious in the curry! Fresh coconut oil is also an important ingredient of this curry and if you substitute it with any other oil, then it won’t be the same curry!

My dad loves to add green plantains to this curry too. I do that too sometimes but most of the times I add potatoes because I am a sucker for potatoes cooked in gravy! 🙂

Nowadays, I cook this curry in my Instant Pot and hence I have included directions for that too in the recipe below. And I also recently made a video of this using the Instant pot. Check my video below. This curry is my ‘go to’ chicken curry when I am hard pressed for time and it never fails me – it always comes out fabulous! Do try it and let me know!

Easy Chicken Curry (Kerala Style)|| Instant Pot Chicken Curry
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-5
An easy and delicious chicken curry with flavors of coconut oil and curry leaves along with other spices like coriander and garam masala. You can make it in the Instant Pot too!
  • About 2.0 pounds (or about ¾ kg ) of chicken cut into bite size pieces (about 1 inch cube pieces, preferably with bone or if you are using boneless, use large thigh pieces)
  • 2 medium size red onions, thinly sliced
  • About 1 and ½ tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • About 1 and ½ tbsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 small green chillies, slit length-wise
  • ½ cup thinly sliced coconut pieces or coconut chips
  • 1 sprig of fresh curry leaves
  • 1 Large potato chopped into 1 inch cubes or ½ of a green plantain, cut into ½ inch rounds(Omit for Keto)
  • 6-8 whole black pepper corns
  • 3-4 whole cloves
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon, about ¾ inch long
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli (cayenne pepper) powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tbsp coriander powder
  • About 1¼ tsp sea salt (or per taste)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp freshly ground fennel powder
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
For cooking in regular pot:
  1. Wash the chicken pieces thoroughly and wipe dry with a paper towel. Take a medium size cooking pot that has a tight-fitting lid and add the chicken pieces in it and then add the salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt and mix with your hands to coat the chicken well.
  2. Next add the finely sliced onions, the garlic, ginger, green chillies, curry leaves and the coconut pieces. And also add all the other ingredients.
  3. Now using your hands, mix everything well and crunch the onion slices using your fingers to break them down (This is a very important step for the onions to cook well)
  4. Cover the pot with the lid and place pot on stove on low heat. Cook on low heat for 10 mins.
  5. Now open the pot and stir well to make sure the chicken pieces are not sticking to the pot. Again cover and cook on low for 20 mins stirring occasionally.
  6. Open and check if the chicken pieces and the potatoes are cooked and soft. Turn heat off.
For Cooking in Instant Pot :
  1. Following same instructions as above adding all ingredients to the instant pot insert pot and close the lid. Turn vent to sealing position and press 'pressure cook' button. Set time for 10 mins (you may have to press + or - to change time to 10 mins; If you are using only boneless chicken pieces, pressure cook only for 8 mins). After pressure cooking is done, do quick steam release and then open the pot. If you do not release pressure soon, the chicken pieces might get overcooked.
1. It is very important to scrunch the onions since we are not sautéing or cooking them before. Scrunching helps them breakdown faster and thus make them soft in the curry.
2. if you are using boneless chicken pieces, keep them as large pieces and set pressure cook time for 10 mins instead of 15 mins.
2. If you don't like to have whole spices in your curry, you can tie them in a soft muslin cloth and add to the pot. That way you can easily take them out while serving.
3.You could try substituting coconut chips for fresh coconut slices. I have not tried them but my guess is they should work ok.
4.You could also add some coconut milk if you like the curry to be less hot.
Tomatoes are optional in this curry. I skip them now since I am nightshade free and the curry comes out still great!


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  1. Hey great recipe, btw you forgot to add coriander powder on the recipe ingredients (I learned it the hard way)

    Other great and delicious

  2. Hi! My brother was trying to make this in his IP and called me with doubts 🙂 You haven’t mentioned when to add the coconut oil. Also, you mention a “to garnish” list but we can’t find that. Just FYI – maybe edit to update the recipe?

    • Hello there! thanks for your comment. I have edited the recipe now. Coconut oil needs to be added along with everything else. Sometimes, I used to do a last garnish step where I fry some onions in coconut oil along with curry leaves and add it. But since making this in the Instant Pot, I avoid that step. I had recently edited my old recipe and therefore that ‘garnish’ part was still there. Sorry for the confusion! Hope your brother’s curry came out good! Please let me know! Many thanks for reaching out 🙂

  3. Hi Indu, Its really nice to read the story behind each of your dish. I’m new to cooking – and have various questions regarding cooking. In the above recipe you mention about dry roasting coriander powder before adding. Can I know why is it done so…can I ignore it and add it straightaway?

    • Hi Simmy! I like to roast the coriander powder lightly so that the raw flavor of it goes away. Also when you roast it (as with any other spice), the flavor comes out even more. But you have to be careful not to over do and burn it. You can definitely use coriander powder without roasting too. In this recipe since I am not frying the onions and the masala powders, I make it a point to roast them lightly. But you can skip this step too – won’t make a very big difference 🙂 thanks for your question. And welcome to the cooking world! 🙂

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