Chicken Curry in Coconut Milk

The curry is spicy and rich and since the chicken is cooked ( preferably in a pressure cooker) with the spices and coconut milk, it becomes tender and absorbs all the flavours. Commonly called Pal Pizincha Kozhi Curry, this is a family favourite, as it is in most homes in Kerala and you are sure to have tasted it, with rice, appam, or chappatis if you are from Trichur and a Syrian Christian. It goes especially well with the layered buttery soft Malabar Parathas that I picked up conveniently frozen and microwave ready, from the Indian grocery store, and also with rice, appams, stringhoppers, rotis and even bread.
With coconut milk being available in tins nowadays, it is quite easy to make too, though an even easier and much faster version of this curry, can be found here: chicken curry in a hurry

Pal Pizincha Kozi Curry  (Chicken curry in a thick coconut milk gravy)
Recipe source: This is a common preparation in many Syrian Christian homes and one we make very often at home

  • Chicken ( Cut into medium sized pieces. Can also use about 3 frozen and thawed chicken breasts or equivalent) – 6 pieces 
  • Potatoes ( small sized)- 4 ( cubed)
  • Ginger paste- 2 tsp
  • Garlic paste-2 tsp 
  • Onions (medium sized)– 2 (Chopped ) 
  • Tomato (medium sized)– 2 (Chopped) 
  • Green Chillies – 6 slit into halves (add more or less depending on your tolerance for spice)
  • Red Chilly powder – 1 1/2 tsp 
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Garam masala – 2 tbsp 
  • Coriander powder 1 tbsp 
  • Coconut milk – 1 cup (Can use tinned or mix 3 tbsp coconut powder in warm water) 
  • Oil – 2 tbsp 
  • Salt- 1 tsp 
For garnish ( optional) 
  • Coriander/cilantro leaves – a small bunch (optional) 
  • Mint leaves- a small bunch (optional) 
  • Take a deep dish ( preferably use a pressure cooker) and add the oil. Keep on medium flame 
  • When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and salt and fry till translucent
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and keep stirring so that it doesn't get burnt 
  • When it turns brown and the oil starts to separate from the onion garlic and ginger mixture, add the spices ( red chilly pwd, turmeric pwd, coriander pwd and garam masala pwd)
  • Saute for a minute until the spices get roasted and the raw smell leaves. 
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and green chillies slit lengthwise and saute for a couple of minutes 
  • Add the cleaned and cut chicken pieces and saute for a couple of minutes so that the pieces are well covered in the masala and the flesh turns whitish. 
  • Add the potatoes. Add 1 cup thin coconut milk ( also called second extraction and if using a tin, this is the thinner milk that collects at the bottom of the tin, under the heavier creamy part- I usually turn the tin over and open it, so that I can pour out the thinner milk first. The thinner milk does not curdle as much as the thicker milk) with 1 cup water 
  • Close the lid of the pressure cooker and when the whistle blows, lower the flame and simmer for 7 minutes. 
  • Alternatively, you may need to cook it for about 15-20 mins if you are not using a pressure cooker. The potatoes should now be soft enough for a fork to go through easily. 
  • Now add the creamier, thicker coconut milk ( also called first extraction) 
  • The chicken curry is ready to serve and if you want you could garnish it with coriander and mint leaves.
Sometimes the thicker milk is added first which then curdles creating a thicker consistency which come prefer. I prefer not to do this since I use tinned coconut milk which tastes a little weird when it curdles.

You can also make this curry vegetarian by substituting the chicken for potatoes and adding some hard boiled eggs at the end. I also make this with channa beans, capsicum  and potato during lent time. It is also made with beef.

If you like this, try out the much easier chicken curry in a hurry which tastes a lot like this but takes much less time since you just add everything to the pressure cooker and let it cook- no frying

Milk Sweet- Pal Khova/Khoya

Pal khova is a sweet that I loved as a kid. We used to buy it in little blocks at our school's tuck shop or canteen and it was almost addictive! It is made of milk that is cooked down with sugar until it thickens and is similar to the South American milk sweet Dulce De Leche which is cooked a little more until the milk caramelizes.

Pal Khoya
  • Milk, preferably full cream ( You can also use non fat but the yield will be lower)- 1 lt ( i.e 4 cups)
  • Sugar- 2 tbsp ( You can add more if you want it sweeter)
  • Cardamom (Elaichi) Powder – 1 tsp
  • Lemon Juice – 1/2 tsp
1. Boil the milk in a heavy bottomed pan, preferably one that is non stick
2. Once it starts boiling, reduce flame to medium
3. Now add the lemon juice to the milk, a few drops at a time, so that the milk curdles just a little.
Make sure you don't add more than 1/2 a teaspoon as otherwise it may become too sour.
4. Turn the heat down to low. Stir the milk frequently so that the milk does not burn or stick to the pan, especially in the bottom.
5. Once the milk starts turning thick, add the sugar and cardamom powder, and keep stirring.
6. Continue to stir until the milk has become a stringy, powdery white solid and there is no water left. This soild is called Milk Koya or Pal khova.
7. Remove from flame and allow it to cool down.
8. You can also add a few drops of rosewater as well as some slivers of badam/almond and pistachio nuts if you like.
9. Either serve it warm and gooey like I did, or knead it into any shape and chill it in the fridge so that it hardens.

For the South American sweet Dulce De Leche made with condensed milk, in about 15 mins in the microwave, which in the liquid state can be used to fill cakes, tarts etc. see here 
For a choco-variation of this that's made in the microwave and so is much quicker try this recipe here
Here are some more ways to make this