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Chicken Ularthiyathu / www.quichentell.com

Kerala-Style Chicken Ularthiyathu

Quiche 'n' Tell
A slow roasted chicken dish flavoured with a fragrant mix of ground spices, curry leaves, shallots, ginger and garlic.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3


  • Flat, wide pan, cast iron works well.


  • 500 gm chicken (on the bone,curry cut) 
  • 100 + 50 gm shallots thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp (heaped) ginger
  • 1 tbsp (heaped) garlic
  • 20 + 10 curry leaves
  • 70 gm fresh coconut cut into thin, 1-inch slivers and tossed in a pinch of turmeric (optional)
  • 3 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp ground spice mix (recipe given below)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil (to fry the coconut if using) 
  • 3 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • Salt

For the dry ground spice mix

  • 1 2-inch piece cinnamon
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp aniseed
  • 1/4 tsp mace
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds


  • To make the spice mix, gently dry roast the whole spices in a pan on a low flame for a couple of minutes. Toss them around in the pan to prevent them from burning. Cool and grind in a blender or coffee grinder. Transfer to an airtight jar with a tight lid. Use as required.
  • Mix the chicken with all the ingredients, setting aside 50 gm of shallots, coconut, 10 curry leaves, mustard seeds, coconut oil and the ground spices. Marinate overnight or for an hour.
  • Fry the coconut slices in a tsp of oil and set aside.
  • Put the chicken in a flat, wide pan (the surface area will help the pieces brown evenly). Cover and cook on a medium flame, stirring intermittently and adding a tbsp of water (only if required). The chicken will release enough steam to cook. The medium-high flame will help the pieces brown.
  • Cook the chicken for 15-20 minutes till done. When it is almost done, heat coconut oil in a small pan, add the mustard seeds and let them crackle, add the remaining shallots and curry leaves and fry till golden. Pour this seasoning on the chicken and mix well.
  • Reduce the heat, add the ground spice mixture and cook for a minute more before turning off the heat.


You should have a thickish gravy. In case there’s more, remove the lid and allow the water to dry up a little.
Keyword chicken ularthiyathu