Coconut Chicken Masala

The much awaited part of Sankranti is Kanuma, the third day of the festival, celebrated with a culinary feast replete with non-vegetarian favorites. On that day, recalling a recipe of my friend’s mother, I whipped up a chicken dish using coconut. I’m glad I prepared it, as it turned out beyond my expectations.

The only ingredient to be careful is with the use of fresh coconut, which can easily overwhelm the other flavors (if used more than the required quantity). This subtly sweet based chicken curry is quick to prepare, once you have all the ingredients on hand and makes a great curry with chapatis, steamed white rice or biryani. Try it and it sure will enthrall the palates of your family and friends.

Coconut Chicken Masala Recipe

Recipe source: Nirmala Aunty

Prep: 15 mts, Cooking Time: 25 mts

Serves 5-6 persons

Cuisine: South Indian



1 kg chicken, washed and cut into medium sized pieces

1 large onion finely chopped

1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste

1 tbsp coriander powder

2-3 green chillis slit length wise

1 1/2 tsp garam masala pwd (2″ dalchini, 2 green cardamom, 6 cloves finely ground)

fresh coriander leaves for garnish

salt to taste

1 1/2 tbsp-2 tbsp oil

Make a paste:

1 large onion

3-4 green chillis

1/2 cup fresh grated coconut

1 small bunch fresh coriander leaves

10-12 mint leaves

10-12 cashewnuts, soaked in 2-3 tbsps milk for 15 mts

1 Marinate the chicken in coriander pwd, turmeric pwd, ginger garlic paste, 2 slit green chillis and few mint leaves for 10-15 mts. Soak the cashewnuts in 2-3 tbsps milk for 10-15 mts.
2 Make a paste of onion, green chillis, grated coconut, coriander leaves, mint leaves and cashewnuts. Keep aside.
3 Heat oil in a cooking vessel, add the green chillis and chopped onions and saute till transparent.
4 Add the marinated chicken and cook on high heat for 4-5 mts, combining the ingredients once in a while.
5 Reduce to medium heat, add the ground paste and salt and combine well. Let the chicken cook in this paste for 8-10 mts, uncovered. Cook till oil separates. There is no need to add water as the chicken cooks in its own water.
6 Finally add the garam masala pwd, combine well and remove the contents to a pressure cooker. Pressure cook the chicken for 3-4 mts or upto one whistle. Turn off heat and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
7 Serve hot with white steamed rice, biryani or chapatis.


Use only fresh coconut and not the dry variety. Adjust the green chillis according to your spice level. Ensure that the chicken doesnt pressure cook for more than one whistle, you wouldn’t want a mushy chicken curry.

Coconut Chicken Masala

  Prepare time:
 Serves: 2

 Main Ingredients:

  •  chicken


  • sandeepa

    Hey Sailaja
    Thanks for all your recipes
    I made your chicken balls over the weekend and they turned out great. My friends over for dinner liked them too. I added an egg to the mix, the only diff, rest I followed to the tee.
    The balls were over before I could take a pic, so next time I am taking a pic and posting it
    Thanks again

  • Spice Lover

    The chicken curry looks delicious. I religiously follow your Spicy chicken masala curry recipe and it works like a charm everytime. The next time I cook chicken it will be this one.
    I notice that you have not used any tomatoes. Is that right?

    No tomatoes, SL. Before pressure cooking the chicken, I added 2 dried red chillis (de-seeded and torn) to add more spice. But thats purely optional, that was basically to offset any sweetness from the onions, cashewnuts and coconut. The spice of the dish depends on the variety of green chillis used as there is no use of chilli pwd in this chicken recipe. All the spice is from the green chillis only and the day I prepared it, the green chillis I had on hand were not the spicy variety, hence the addition of dry red chillis.

  • Jeff

    I’d so be trying to get someone to eat the evil looking pepper on top of your dish

  • maheswari

    That looks mouth watering…i just made another chicken dish with fried coconut.Chicken with any form of coconut is tasty…

  • Asha

    I believe you when you say it’s worth trying!! It just looks divine,Sailaja. You are sweetheart to share this gem with all of us!:))

  • Mae

    Hiya! Oh, that looks so tempting! Your photos are so clear and so, so drool-worthy…

  • Prreetii

    Recipe looks yummy as always…thanks for sharing Sailu…

  • Paz

    Coconut and chicken? I love the sound of this!


  • Nidhi

    Hello Sailu,
    Your coconut chicken looks perfect to serve with hot butter Naan or Jeera rice and pickled onion. Yum! My mouth is watering already. Beautiful picture too.
    Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • mandira

    Sailu – this looks delicious, I love all the ingredients. Will try this soon. The pictures are great!

  • Lera

    The picture is so tantillising, I feel green gravy goes well with chicken dishes to give a spicy touch, for other wise bland chicken meat. Lovely Recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

  • jacob

    that looks so yummy. would be a killer with hot rotis, i think!

  • Prreetii


    I tried the chicken curry yesterday and my husband was all praises for it but I have a doubt…my curry looked more green though your pics look more yellow…secondly I didn’t have much gravy but your pics show a lot of gravy…so was wondering what the reason could be…anyway thanks for such a wonderful dish…

    Prreetii, did you transfer the chicken curry to a pressure cooker and cook for a few mts or until one whistle? If you did that, you would definitely have more gravy. And probably you added more coriander and mint leaves than called for in the recipe, that could be the reason for the green color.

  • Victoria

    Dear Sailu, thank you for a lovely recipe. I tried it two days ago, and it came out perfectly (I did not have as much gravy though after following all of the instructions, but it could be because the onion and the chicken I had were not as juicy as yours). Still, it was delicious, and I have several requests from family to make it again.

  • Prreetii

    I did transfer to the pressure cooker and cooked till 1 whistle but found that it got burnt at the bottom of the cooker…are we supposed to add more water when we transfer to a cooker..but the taste was amazing though irrespective of the color difference..

    Prreetii, in your case I guess the chicken and onions didn’t work to your advantage.:)..I guess it didn’t leave much water cooking. The next time you prepare, add a cup of water before transferring to a pressure cooker. You won’t have a burnt chicken if you do that.

  • Spice Lover

    looks like someone has been copying a bunch of recipes with the pictures. including yours.

  • Ojaswini

    We live in singapore, my hobby is cooking and I always see your site for any new recipes, today I tried out your version of coconut chicken masala, it came out yummy. My husband liked it very much.Though I replaced fresh coconut with dry one (I dont like the smell of fresh coconut). Your website is too cool for any occasion. Keep up the good work. Thanks!.

  • Sujatha

    Hi Sailu, your website is awesome and am so glad that I found yours a few weeks back while searching on the net for some interesting recipes!

    I tried your coconut chicken masala 2 days back and it came out so great! (the only diff. I did – I reduced the green chillies to 4 to bring down the spicy level to my kids level). It didn’t match to the lovely color of yours and you already answered some one else with the same doubt. But honestly I didn’t worry about the color…the taste that’s all I cared for..And it was a huge hit in my family! In addition to my husband’s praises, both my kids loved it and especially I loved when I3 yr old said ‘yummy’ after tasting a bite of rice mixed with this curry. I have to say one thing here, my kids are so pickey eaters and when they both said they like it I really wanted to send you a ‘Big Thank you’ for sharing this wonderful recipe. Keep up the good work!

    Your most welcome, Sujatha. I’m so glad your kids and hubby enjoyed this.

  • Sujatha

    Hi Sailu, I meant to say my 3 yr old kid, some how got an ‘I’ in front of it which makes it look like 13! Oops.. Typo.

  • chandu

    Hi Sailu, I wanted a chicken recipe with coconut in it (coz I Like Thai for that reason)… did google and got ur recipe.
    The dish came out Yummmyyyyyyy and looked exactly like the pic here. I usually cannot appreciate another cook( that’s me ๐Ÿ™‚ )
    but I think YOU ARE AN AWESOME COOK……

  • Anna

    I tried this chicken recipe last weekend, and my husband and kid liked it a lot. (Though there wasn’t much gravy since I didn’t pressure cook it). This is the first time I am using mint leaves, so I was a bit apprehensive. But it turned out well. Thanks for the recipe. Next time I will definitely pressure cook it:)

  • Maninas

    I made this last night, and we loved it! Will blog about it soon!

    I couldn’t get to your website yesterday nor the day before, but I found your recipe on someone else’s blog! this is one reason why i love blogging! recipes are shared, tried and tested, new things suggested! I added a little cumin, lemon juice and a dash of almond powder to thicken the gravy, and it was lovely!

  • swathi

    hello sailu garu,
    i browse thru ur blog almost everyday…guess my day starts with it! i love non-veg but don’t cook at home .but this chicken curry was so tempting n easy too i culdn’t resist. i tried it!! wow….it was heavenly! my hubby loved it too! thank u very much! we really njoy ur recipes! keep posting!

  • sk

    Tried this curry twice.It’s yummy!!!!!!!!
    I added a little red chilly pwd for little spice and also to avoid the plain geen color.

  • Ipshita

    Can i substitute 1 can coconut milk for fresh grated coconut?

    Sure you can but fresh is always best.

  • Bruce Benjamin

    This is a great looking recipe but I haven’t tried it yet. I just came across your wonderful website and I’m very interested in trying some of these recipes.

    I see you mention using a pressure cooker in some of the recipes. I’m pretty experienced with a pressure cooker but I have some questions as to how you use it. When you say, “Pressure cook for 3-4 minutes” do you mean start timing after it’s reached full pressure? I use 15 pounds of pressure. This is the way I alway do it but I just wanted to make sure. Also, what does, “Until one whistle” mean? I have a couple of different kinds of pressure cookers but neither one of them whistles. Thanks for all of the great looking recipes!

    One more thing…Review #24 is not a very nice post. It contains a dangerous link to a porn site that is difficult to exit out of. It NEEDS TO BE REMOVED. Thanks


    Yes, Bruce, ‘pressure cook for 3-4 mts’ from the time of reaching full pressure. With Indian Pressure Cookers, when the pressure builds up, the weight valve on top lifts up and let’s out a whistling sound. The first whistle is usually within approx 6-7 mts of reaching pressure.
    And thanks for informing on the spam link.

  • Archana

    Hi Sailu,
    I am a vegetarian, but I have mastered to cook one chicken dish which everybody loves. I would love to learn your coconut chicken masala. How do you cook it if you don’t want to pressure cook? Please help me out.

    You can still cook it without a pressure cooker like you would cook any chicken curry in a cooking vessel, Archana.

  • learningtocook

    Hi Sailu,

    I tried this dish out the other day and it turned out really really great! Thanks for posting it, and for making it so easy to follow. You have some wonderful recipes here – I’m going to try out the brinjal-freshcoriander- stir fry this weekend. Will let you know how it goes. Have a good day ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Shreya

    Hey Sailu

    Have a look at the link. Pictures and recipes copied.

  • shreya

    Hey Sailu

    Your above recipe and pictures along with others has been copied word by word on the above site.

  • shreya

    Hey Sailu

    Have a look at this link. All pictures and recipes copied.

  • Ravi

    Hi Sailu

    Your blog is too good for people who love Andhra food and like trying different varieties if it. I cook every now and then when the time permits. On this ocassion I made your Coconut Chicken Masala and surprised my family and my extended family. It turned out very good for an ocassional cook. Your narration sounds as if from a typical west Godavari born though you are from Vizag. We all enjoyed the dish.


  • Malleeswari


    I tried this one yesterday and was very tasty. Can you pls help me out with the recipe for the chicken biryani which is being served in restaurants with boneless chicken fry pieces.

  • vidya

    hi sailu, i’m an andhraite n i love cooking. My style of cooking is more or less similar to urs especially seafood. Ur doing a great job n i’m almost addicted to ur website. Anybody who wants to know about authentic andhra food can log on to ur blog. Thanks a lot for ur efforts for making andhra food in a simple n easy way n delicious too. :}

  • sri

    i read it from wiki that non vegetarian dishes are cooked on mukkannuma day

  • Pingmouse

    hi sailu, am very interested to make this. What if I dont have a pressure cooker? Can I just add some water at the end, cover the pot then let it simmer till done?

    • Sailu

      Yes, you cook over stove top with lid.

  • meghna

    Absolutely delicious and a different taste from the standard, everyday fare of chicken curry. Mine was very good, aroma permeated the kitchen and made mouthe water, but mine also came out a true vibrant green color, rather than yellowish, as seen in your pictures. I followed the recipe exactly, but also did add about 1 and 1/2 cups water after adding the onion/dhania paste mixture as mine did not let off much water at all, naturally. Actually, I liked the vibrant green color of the dish. With some red chilis for garnish, it looked quite beautiful on the table, and would look very festive if served for a dinner party.

  • Sayana

    Tried this today and it was YUM! I subtituted coconut milk instead of the fresh coconut powder and it came out great.

  • Arpana

    Hi! I got introduced to your blog through my dear friend Miri’s blog – Peppermill. Must say I love the blog!

    A quick question, which chicken can I serve with Dosa & Idli? I will have sambar and chutney too. Very confused between the pepper chicken & this curry! Please shed some light ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Sailu

      Thanks, Arpana. ๐Ÿ™‚ Try Coconut Chicken Masala.

  • Shay

    I have read and tried some of your recipes and thay have been a hit so far.
    In this recipe, you have used raw onion made into a paste. My experience of using onion paste (that isnt cooked well enough) has not been very good. It leaves almost a bitter tatse to the curry, if you see what I mean. I’ll be cooking the curry in a vessel rather than pressure cooker and worried that I will have a raw/bitter after taste from onion paste that may not have enough time to cook and caremalise. Can you please advise how to go about avoiding this? Where I live (Oxford), it isnt easy to get fresh coconut. Can you advise of substitute (cocunut milk, cream coconuts etc).


    • Sailu

      You can use 3 small shallots instead of a large onion while prepared the paste. You will not have any bitter taste issues even if you cook in a vessel. Trust me and go ahead and make it. :). You can use canned coconut milk. Use less quantity initially and if required add more coconut milk since its a concentrate. Hope this helps.

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  • Revathy

    Hi Sailu,

    I tried this recipe and it turned out really delicious. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • stargazer

    the paste turned out too green & not like a coconut curry (as in the image). I suppose I added too much coriander (see paste: 1 small bunch fresh coriander leaves) ? Also, I used coconut curry from a can instead of fresh coconut. Should I increase amount of coconut curry ?