Malvani-style chicken curry isn’t challenging to make but comes through with a complex and satiating dinner. Perfect for weeknights, or Indian food beginners—and you can make it as spicy as you like.
I love chicken curry, and it is high up on my list of favorite comfort foods. This recipe is inspired by Malvani chicken curry, which comes from a coastal region in the southwest of India, and is well worth trying.–Chetna Makan
WHAT DOES MALVANI-STYLE MEAN?
Malvani refers to the people of Maharashtra, on the western coast of India. Home to numerous coconut plantations and fishing villages, Malvani-style cuisine is known for celebrating those two ingredients. They also have a few signature masala blends that form the base of most of their dishes, vegetarian and meat-based alike.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
My husband and I both love curry so we were excited to try this Malvani-style chicken curry that used chicken breasts rather than the usual thighs.
I toasted the spices and made the paste in the afternoon so that it would come together quickly at dinner time. To toast the spices, I used a stainless-steel pan so I could keep an eye on the color and I started from cold. On medium-low heat, they took 5 minutes to toast. Next time I’ll make a double batch to keep on hand so the curry will come together even faster.
We like a bit of heat and the árbol chilies that I used added the perfect amount. I cooked the paste for about 3 minutes to increase the depth of flavor. I cut the recipe in half so my chicken was in one layer and cooked quickly. We prefer dry curry with naan and I had some in the freezer ready to go so dinner was on the table in no time.
I really liked this Malvani-style chicken curry—it has all the flavors and spices that I love. The spices add warmth but not an overpowering spiciness, with layers from the coconut and fried onions.
The spice mixture itself was easy to pull together and the smell while toasting it is divine. I thought the best way to handle the garlic was to use my garlic press and then roast it with the rest of the spices. This isn't a particularly "wet" curry and I found that the spice mixture stayed a little too grainy for my liking. I would suggest grinding it down as much as possible—it might just be that my grinder isn't as sharp as it should be. As well, I'd try using water that's at least warm and letting the spices soak longer. The pre-cooked sauce mixture isn't visually appealing but it's saved by the incredible aroma.
I used ghee in place of the sunflower oil but that's the only change I made. The curry was enjoyable and I actually preferred it the next day; the flavors had developed more and the graininess of the spice mixture had subsided significantly.
Originally published July 13, 2021