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Curry Leaf Chicken – Finger licking Good

As  I was  taking  this picture DH  walked in. “You know  what is missing  here here, don’t  you? ”  there  was a  faraway look on his  face.   I knew  where  he  was –  reliving the  “pub  days ” of  Bangalore. Buddies, beer  and  banter – the ritualistic Bs of good old bachelor  days.  Finger  foods  were an important part of those carefree evenings, and that is where this dish dish – Curry Leaf  Chicken – comes from. Today though, the  best  part about this dish is the  effortless  cooking.  Curry Leaves Chicken-  Boneless chicken  cooked  with  spices and  flavored  with  curry leaves

Pretty much every chicken  curry in Kerala have  curry leaves in it. In those parts  if  you  wanted a   meal without  curry leaves  you  may have  to  cross  state lines. Well, may be I exaggerate, but still… Now this is not a  chicken  curry, but a  dry appetizer  where  curry leaves play a big  role. It is easy to make dish that one  can  put  together  in the  evenings   without a lot of time and effort.

Curry Leaf Chicken Ingredients

Here are the spices  and  seasonings  used in this  dish.   The flavors are a bit of north south fusion. I like  to use fresh ginger and garlic as opposed to the ginger garlic paste often found in Indian  Stores. A fine grater (zester)  comes  very handy here.  Grate  these  right into the  dish, or  marinade for  truly unmatched flavors.

I know I have said this before, but it is  truly an  easy dish to make, make  the marinade , add to the  chicken,  and marinate  for a  10 minutes. There is enough time to multi task – tackle the kids  homework,  edit that  final  draft or do 10 minute yoga or just  enjoy  a  bit  of  music.

Curry Leaf Chicken Steps

The  marinade  is  made  with   a  few  ingredients – yogurt,  turmeric powder,  garam  masala,  ginger, garlic, curry leaves ,  chilies  and  salt.   Curry leaves have strong  earthywoody  flavors. Only a  few,  5 to 6 , curry leaves  are  needed in the  marinade.  Crush or  chop these into the marinade.

Cut the  chicken  to bite  size  pieces.  I recommend using boneless skinless chicken. It  saves on cooking  time   and  more  importantly  finger foods  have  to be  convenient for  conversation.  Try  the   tandoori chicken  or the  Peruvian  Chicken  if you  are  looking  for a  bone in  recipe. Mix  the chicken  with  the  marinade  and  set  aside  for  10 minutes.  When ready to cook, heat a  heavy bottomed  pan  with lid add  the  chicken along with the  marinade into it. Cover and cook  over   medium  heat  until  it boils.  Lower  heat and  simmer  for  10 minutes.  When using  bite sized  boneless  pieces  that is  all it  takes.

Once the chicken is  cooked,  take  the  lid  off  stir  the  chicken pieces  and  let  the  extra juices  cook out.  At  the  same  time  heat a  small pan  with 1 tbsp oil.  Break off 2 stalks  of  curry leaves   and  add to the  oil  along  with   green  chilies.  You could  use  dried  red chilies  as  well,  but  I find  that  the  smoky red  chili flavors compete  with the  curry leaves.

Curry Leaf Chicken

Once the  extra  juices of the  chicken  is  dried  add  2 tbsp of  coconut  cream (or  cream)  to the  chicken  mix  well, taste, adjust  salt if needed and  turn off  the  heat.   Pour  the  oil   and half of  the  curry leaves over  the  chicken.  Stir  and  transfer  to a  serving  dish. Garnish  with the  remaining  curry leaves.

Isn’t  this a  something  you  would  want to  much  on  while pondering   the  weightier  matters of   human existence   and sharing a  bottle  with  like  minded  people?  What if  that is not  me  you ask ?  Don’t  worry the  chicken wasn’t  either.  I would  like  to  serve  it  with  some  traditional  coconut palm  toddy.   If  you  ever go to  Kerala  try to get some –  toddy shops  are  aplenty there, but the  good  fresh toddy “madhura kallu”  is a  bit  hard  to  come  by.

But  that is  not  the only way to  enjoy this  dish – my kids  love  this  Kariveppila  Chicken  in a wrap  or on  pizza. Talk  about  unlikely matches!  If that is  what   you are  planning  to  do,  let  the  curry leaf  oil infuse  the  chicken for a  few  minutes,   and  remove the leaves before  the  next  step.

Curry Leaves Chicken- Boneless chicken cooked with spices and flavored with curry leaves

Curry Leaf Chicken

By Syama
Bite sized  pieces of  chicken  cooked  with  war  spices  and  coconut  cream. Curry leaves  adds  wonderful flavors  and  warmth to this  dish.
4.34 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 Servings


  • 500 g Chicken Boneless, Skinless - About 1 lb
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Cream

For Marinade

  • 1/4 C Yogurt
  • 1 Sprig Curry Leaves
  • 1 Tsp Grated Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Grated Garlic
  • 1/2 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt To taste
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Green Chili To Taste

For Seasoning

  • 2 Sprigs Curry Leaves about 20 -25 small leaves
  • 2 Green Chili Serrano or Similar
  • 1 Tbsp Oil



  • Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Slit or slice the green chili if you prefer spicier food.


  •  Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together to a smooth paste.  Taste  and  adjust  salt.   Add the  marinate to the   chicken  and  mix  well to coat  all the pieces.  Cover and set a side for 10 minutes.


  • Heat a heavy bottomed pan and place the chicken and marinade in it. Cover and cook over medium heat till it begins to boil. 
    Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the chicken pieces are cooked through. Remove the lid and let the remaining juices dry.
    Add 2 tbsp of coconut cream to the chicken, mix taste and adjust salt if needed. 

Season & Serve

  • Heat a small pan with 1 tbsp oil. When the oil is hot , add the curry leaves and slit (optional) green chilies. Fry until the chili looks blistered and the curry leaves turn  bright green .
  • Turn off the heat and pour the hot oil over the chicken along with half the curry leaves and green chilies. 
    Mix well and transfer to a serving dish.
     Garnish with the reserved curry leaves. .

Important: Nutrition Values are estimates. Actuals vary based on ingredients and serving size.

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Curry Leaf Chicken

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Recipe Rating

Hannah Healy

Monday 2nd of October 2017

Yum! I love curry. This looks great!

Savita @ ChefDeHome

Monday 2nd of October 2017

Love curry leaves. I can already see this chicken will be delicious! Yumm!


Monday 2nd of October 2017

Yum! love the flavors of this curry...would go great with any veggie too!


Sunday 29th of October 2017

Or even with tofu or paneer !


Monday 2nd of October 2017

It looks so flavorful! Definitely a must try!


Monday 2nd of October 2017

I love that you take the time to explain the is so helpful.


Sunday 29th of October 2017

Thank you !