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Chicken chukka

The nuttiness of the coconut together with aromatic curry leaves, spices and the kick of chilli give this chicken dish a real depth

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Nutrition (per portion)

Total Fat--

Saturated Fat

Total Carbohydrate--


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Chicken curry recipes - Chicken chukka curry recipe - Food and UK recipes -

Serves: 4



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  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • 2 cinnamon or cassia sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 whole dried red chillies
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder
  • 75–100ml water
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 3 tbsp fresh curry leaves
  • 150g tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 500g boneless and skinless chicken, cut into 3–4cm pieces (use a mixture of breast and thigh)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
  • Juice of ½ lemon


  1. Toast the coconut in a dry frying pan over a low to medium heat, stirring every minute or so until it turns golden brown. You have to watch the coconut like a hawk as it can burn quickly and if this happens you will have to start again as burnt coconut tastes very bitter.
  2. Tip the toasted coconut onto a plate. Into the same pan add the cinnamon or cassia sticks, star anise, dried chillies, peppercorns and fennel seeds. Roast in the pan for about 5 minutes until you can smell those fabulous aromas, then add the ground coriander and chilli powder and stir for 2–3 minutes. Add enough water to form a paste and cook for another minute or two.
  3. Remove the cinnamon sticks and whole chillies and set aside. Add the toasted coconut, turmeric and salt to the pan. Grind to a thick paste, using either a spice grinder or a pestle and mortar. Set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan over a low heat and slowly cook the onions until they are soft and starting to colour slightly, about 10–12 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger paste, increase the heat and stir-fry for 2–3 minutes. Add the curry leaves and stir for a minute before adding the tomatoes and then the spice paste. Return the cinnamon or cassia sticks, star anise and whole chillies to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously until the tomatoes start to break up.
  5. Add the chicken pieces and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Stir through the fresh coriander and lemon juice, discard the cinnamon or cassia sticks and serve alongside steamed rice or piping hot buttered naan.


    Recipe by Dhruv Baker, author of 'Spice: Layers of Flavour' (£19.99, W&N).







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