Apart from toasting the spices in a pan this really is a one pot meal.

Kerala is in the south of India where they would use coconut milk for this recipe – the proximity to Sri Lanka no doubt but at the time I didn’t have any so I simply substituted yoghurt – it to work for me.

Lightly toast the following whole spices:
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
2 or 3 cardamom pods

Allow to cool then grind to powder in a pestle and mortar (or spice grinder if you have one).
Now add ½ teaspoon ground turmeric and a teaspoon of ground ginger, squeeze over the juice of one lemon to form a paste. To the paste add 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped and two red chillies chopped and deseeded unless you like it rather hot in which case leave some of the seeds in.

Chicken – two legs and two thighs (skin on or off) and vegetables of your choice. I used cauliflower florets, sliced fresh green beans and frozen peas.

Place the chicken in a zip lock bag then add the paste making sure the pieces are covered. Let it marinate in the fridge overnight.

Next day allow the chicken to come up to room temperature.

Sauté a large onion in plenty of oil or ghee in an uncovered frying pan. When softened add the chicken starting the cooking process on a low to medium heat but not allowing it to burn or dry too much. Add a grated tomato at this stage and a little turmeric plus one bay leaf.

Keep a small jug of water handy to top up if things start to look too dry.
After 20 minutes or so add cauliflower florets and cook for 5 minutes with the lid on (don’t forget to add a little water). Now add the green beans and replace the lid. After a further 10 or 15 minutes the vegetables should be cooked but still a little al dente. At this point add the peas and stir everything gently making sure all vegetables have a coating of the ‘gravy’ then continue cooking with the lid on whilst you hunt for a tub of yoghurt. Season to taste.

I use Greek yoghurt for its extra creaminess – add a table spoon at a time until you have your desired consistency and colour.
This makes a hearty meal for two or will feed four if you add enough vegetables.
Finish with fresh coriander and serve with naan bread, chapattis or rustic bread. Goes well with mango chutney too.
Keralan Chicken Curry