In the spirit of the Kerala custom of sharing food, Nimmy Paul, a Christian from Kochi, gave this recipe, which she makes for Christmas and other special occasions, to the author. Malli kozhi is typical of the kind of dish Christians will offer to Muslim and nonvegetarian Hindu friends and neighbors.
- 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 (1'') piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 tsp. minced fresh hot green chile (serrano or thai)
- 10-12 curry leaves
- 6 tsp. ground coriander seeds
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 tsp. cayenne
- 1⁄4 tsp. turmeric
- 2 pinches ground cinnamon
- 2 pinches ground cloves
- 2 pinches ground cardamom
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. salt
- 2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1'' cubes
- 3⁄4 cup fresh "second milk" coconut milk or 1/4 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk diluted with 1/2 cup water
- 1⁄4 cup resh "first milk" coconut milk or 1/4 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
Heat oil in a medium heavy-bottomed casserole over medium-high heat. Add onions, and sauté, stirring often, until browned, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chiles, and curry leaves, and sauté for 1 minute, then add coriander, black pepper, cayenne, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, salt, and just enough water (4-6 tbsp.) to keep spices from sticking to the pan. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes longer.
Add chicken to pan, and continue to cook (adding a little more water, if needed, to keep spices from burning), stirring constantly and scraping browned bits stuck to bottom of casserole with a wooden spoon, until chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add "second milk" coconut milk, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until chicken has cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Add "first milk" coconut milk, and bring just to a simmer (sauce will curdle if allowed to boil), then remove from heat. Add salt to taste.