South Indian-style chicken curry (dakshin murgh)

Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields Serves 4
South Indian-style chicken with curry leaves and black peppercorns (dakshin murgh)
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Spice mix


Combine the curry leaves, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, peppercorns, cloves and cardamom pods in a skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.


Cool slightly. Grind to a powder in a spice grinder and set aside.

Chicken and assembly


Toss the chicken with one-fourth teaspoon salt, the pepper and lemon juice and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.


Combine the oil, mustard seeds, red chiles, cardamom, green chile and curry leaves in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover and cook until you hear the mustard seeds crackle, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the ground spice mix and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the shredded coconut and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.


Add the chicken and cook, stirring, until opaque, about 3 to 5 minutes.


Add the coconut milk and one-half teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the chicken is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir two or three times during the last 10 minutes of cooking and scrape the bottom of the pan to keep the sauce from sticking. Taste for salt, add more if desired and serve hot.

From “Indian Home Cooking” by Suvir Saran and Stephanie Lyness.

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