Embui’s Chicken Curry

Embui’s Chicken Curry

This is no curry ordinaire. This is THE chicken curry that has spun through our generations of family, the curry that amalgamates all of us together, through thick and thin, through happiness and despair, through joy and bickerings. This is the ancestral recipe that has travelled from Kerala to Malaya then (Malaysia now) during my grandfather’s voyage to the new land, where the rest of our families,  except me, live now.  It is famously known in the family as Embui’s chicken curry.

Embui is my aunt, my mom’s eldest sister. I called her “embui’ when I was a baby and somehow the name sticks until now. She is the one who carries the torch of Malabar cuisine after my Grandfather passed away, making sure we don’t forget our roots. This curry surely does its job best. I watched her making this curry for like, almost all the years of my existence, tso much so that the recipe is ingrained  in my brain that I don’t even need to write down the recipe when I started cooking on my own.

There are some differences in my version though. Whilst Embui would be happy to pick her sprigs of curry leaves from our vast backyard and use pestle-and-mortar for her spices, I use the shop bought curry leaves and ground spices instead. By all means, if you have the time and passion, grind the whole spices manually as they taste better, if you are like me running around the household like headless chicken, shop bought ground spice is ok too. Having said that, Ialways use fresh ginger and garlic where I blend them into a paste as per recipe, I think it taste far superior than the shop bought ginger-garlic paste.

This curry is nice as a main course on daily basis, and also as a table winner on special occasions and gatherings. Simple to make, but it taste superb with almost anything- rice, chappati, pathiri, appam, dosa, idli etc. Without further ado, let me share with

Embui’s Chicken Curry


Prep time

10 mins

Cook time

20 mins

Total time

30 mins

An easy everyday chicken curry, with milder spices infused in coconut milk gravy.

Recipe type: Main course

Cuisine: Indian


  • 750g chicken-cut into small pieces (1 baby chicken)
  • 2 tomatoes-cut into 4
  • 3 medium sized potatoes- peeled cut into chunks
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 inch ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 cloves
  • ½ tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 5-6 twigs of curry leaves-chopped
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups water
  • optional: ½ tbsp garam masala for spicier curry


  1. Blend 1 onion, ginger and garlic into fine paste. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Fry the curry leaves, cinnamon stick and cloves until fragrant. Slice onion finely and add to the pan. Add in the blended onion-ginger-garlic paste. Fry until they are well mashed.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the turmeric, coriander and chilli powder with few tablespoon of water until it forms a paste. Add this spicy paste to the pan. Once it is well blended, add in the chicken and coat well with the spices. At this point, turn the hob to medium heat and add in the 2 cups of water, salt, tomatoes and potatoes. Leave on the hob for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
  4. Add in the coconut milk and garam masala (optional) just shortly before serving. Leave for few minutes on the hob. Serve hot.

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Eva Rosenberg

Eva Rosenberg

Welcome to Eva's Kitchen where I share my adventures in cooking. My creations may not always turn out Pinterest perfect, but I usually end up with a funny picture or an interesting meal. Thanks for stopping by!


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