Varutharacha Malabar Chicken Curry | Chicken Curry with Roasted Coconut Sauce

Though it sounds fancy, this chicken curry with roasted coconut sauce is a staple in every Malabari Moplah home. Yes, there may be slight variations here and there but that's solely a family's affair. No two homes in my own family have the same tasting varutharacha chicken curry. Therefore, you are forgiven even if you make a few modifications but the essence of the curry is roasting the coconut and the regional garam masala.

Varutharacha Malabar Kozhi Curry | Chicken Curry with Roasted Coconut Sauce

I had tackled my mom's garam masala with the right proportions during early days in Yanbu. Only today I took the effort to document it for the blog and therefore for you. Yes, now you can also make a small jar of my family garam masala and bring the true Moplah aroma into your home.

I had prepared a varatharache chicken curry, from Ummi Abdullah's book, A Kitchen Full of Stories and shared it on Instagram stories. Many of you tried it and loved it but honestly, it did not please either of us. I felt it had too much coconut for our taste and was not punching the flavours that I grew up knowing. I went back to my mom and asked her to share her recipe (I made her do it on two occasions so that I get something that she missed the first time and is not even aware of it๐Ÿ˜) 

Of course, I had to decipher the measurements for any mom's recipes. If there is one recipe that I cooked back to back several times so that I can record the best measurements for you, then it is this Varutharacha Malabar Kozhi Curry! 

Varutharacha Malabar Kozhi Curry | Chicken Curry with Roasted Coconut Sauce

Ingredients for Chicken Curry with Roasted Coconut Sauce 

  • Chicken: skinless whole chicken cut into 12 to 16 pieces 
  • Spice powders: coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder 
  • garam masala powder: only Malabar garam masala
  • ginger garlic paste: homemade or readymade 
  • green chillies: add more or less
  • red onion: Slice very thinly so that it cooks down and thickens the gravy
  • curry leaves: indispensable
  • coconut oil: indispensable again!
  • fennel seeds: indispensable
  • shallots: You may replace with red onion
  • freshly grated coconut: you may replace with desiccated coconut
  • tomatoes: Ripe and juicy
  • dried red chillies: optional but recommended
  • Salt: to taste

How to make Varutharacha Malabar Chicken Curry 

  1. Marinate the chicken 
  2. Roast the coconut and make the paste
  3. Cook the chicken 
  4. Add the roasted paste 
  5. Prepare and pour the tempering 
  6. Serve!
  • You may marinate the chicken in the same pot you plan to make the curry. 
  • You may roast the coconut and other stuff and then use the same pot to cook the chicken
  • You may do both cooking the chicken and roasting the coconut side by side in two pans to save time! 
At this point, I want to make it clear that I am not stringent about measurements in curry recipes but I would want to know which spice powder should be dominant because that decides the colour and flavour of the curry. This recipe can be made two ways - more red chilli powder or more coriander powder. I have tried both and we prefer the coriander powder version.

Please do not use store-bought garam masala! I highly recommend making my Malabar Moplah garam masala to get the true taste.

Varutharacha Malabar Chicken Curry | Chicken Curry with Roasted Coconut Sauce

Malabar chicken curry with flavourful roasted coconut sauce


Marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight:

  • 800gms skinless whole chicken, curry cut, washed and pat dried
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Malabar garam masala powder
  • 2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
  • 6 to 8 green chillies, slit
  • 1 medium-sized red onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • a few curry leaves
  • Enough Hot water while preparing the curry

Roast and grind to smooth paste:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • a few curry leaves
  • 4 shallots
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt to taste


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • a few shallots
  • a few curry leaves
  • 2 dried red chillies



  1. Add all the ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Mix thoroughly and keep covered for 30 minutes or overnight

Coconut Sauce:

  1. Heat coconut oil in a shallow pan
  2. Add the fennel seeds and curry leaves and let it fry releasing an aroma
  3. Add the shallots and grated coconut and fry until the coconut is almost browned
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook down until oil releases
  5. Transfer the content into a mini blender and grind to a smooth paste stopping to scrape the sides each time. The more you take time and blend, the tomato will get better colour.

Chicken Curry:

  1. Heat a deep curry pot
  2. Add the marinated chicken and cook on medium to high flame until the chicken turns white and onions are cooked (you don't have to add water here as the chicken will release moisture)
  3. Add enough hot water so that the chicken pieces are barely covered and bring to boil
  4. Taste and adjust the salt and spices
  5. Cover and cook on low to medium flame until chicken is cooked
  6. Reduce the flame to low and add the prepared coconut sauce and bring to boil
  7. Simmer until desired consistency while you prepare the tempering


  1. Heat coconut oil in a small tadka pan
  2. Fry some shallots, curry leaves and dried red chillies
  3. Pour this over the curry and switch off
  4. Stir and serve with appams, ari doshas, chapatis or even rice!

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