Kerala Chicken Stew or Ishtu as it is called in Kerala is a very mild but flavorful stew. It is made with coconut milk, a few spices, along with chicken and vegetables. It is a light yet hearty stew that is great to make for a weeknight dinner.
Kerala cuisine is famous for coastal and seafood recipes which are mostly prepared with fresh grated coconut or with coconut milk. One such popular dish is this Kerala Chicken Stew which is cooked in coconut milk and mild spices. The consistency of this stew is soupy and traditionally in Kerala it is eaten with appams a rice type pancake. It is one of the easiest chicken curries and can be made in an hour.
What type of chicken works best in this stew?
For almost all Indian chicken curries I always prefer to use a whole chicken with skin removed and cut into small pieces. If I don’t have a whole chicken, then I use skinless bone in chicken thighs cut into small pieces. The bones add a lot of richness and depth of flavor to Indian curries, especially in this stew. It is possible to make this stew with boneless chicken thighs, but it will not be as flavorful.
Spices in this Kerala Chicken Stew
A handful of whole spices are needed to make this stew. Cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and coarse ground pepper are what is used to spice this stew. We also use some aromatics such as garlic, ginger, Indian green chilies and curry leaves.
Which vegetables can be used in the Stew?
Carrots and potatoes are the classic vegetables used in Kerala chicken stew. The other types of vegetables that will work well in this stew are green beans, peas, and cauliflower.
The type of oil to use
Coconut oil is traditionally used to cook this stew which gives this stew a strong coconut aroma. If you don’t enjoy a strong coconut flavor then use a neutral vegetable oil.
As mentioned above traditionally in Kerala this chicken stew is served with appams a type of savory rice pancakes. I serve this stew with parathas, rice, or even bread to soak all that soupy broth.
More Indian Curries
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