Chicken With Curry Leaves


Chicken with Curry Leaves is a combination of chicken with curry leaves and many other ingredients. Curry leaves are so called because they add a distinctive spicy flavor, reminiscent of curry powder. They belong to the pepper family and can be used fresh or dried. This is an authentic Fried Chicken Recipe from Southern India, especially Kerala….

Curry Leaf Chicken is an Indian chicken recipe that’s mildly spicy but full of flavor. It’s made with some common spices and ingredients you probably have on hand right now. Are you looking for the health benefits of curry leaves? Then you’ve come to the right place. I will be talking about its health benefits which is equally important and interesting.

Chicken With Curry Leaves

Chicken Kadi Patta is a delicious, spicy, and aromatic chicken dish from South Indian cuisine prepared using curry leaves, peppercorns, and a few fragrant spices.

This chicken recipe can be prepared in dry, semi-dry, and gravy form and can be served with steamed rice, naan, roti, chapati, phulka, etc.


Curry leaves are a popular fresh herb used in South Indian cooking. Ninety percent of the tempering in South Indian recipes – that includes dal, upma, chutney, etc. – use curry leaves. Am I right?

And if there is any garnish in Indian cooking that is green and not coriander leaves (cilantro), then it is curry leaves 🙂

Curry leaves is also known as kadi patta or Kari Patta in Hindi, kari bevu in Kannada, Karivepaku in Telugu, Karuveppilai in Tamil & Malayalam.

We have curry leaves tree in our backyard in my hometown. If you are in the U.S, you can find curry leaves in any Indian store and sometimes even in Asian stores.

I first had kadi patta mushroom in a local restaurant in my hometown, and recently I have also shared a recipe for kadi patta fry using paneer. That version is entirely different from the one below. That is the deep fry version, and this is more like a stir fry.

One more thing, most of the non-veg recipes on my blog are cooked by my better half, and he does it really well, and you can see that here in the picture and the video. I only prep the ingredients required for non-vegetarian dishes. If he is busy or I want to surprise him with his favorite chicken or fish dishes, I cook everything on my own.

When you are a bachelor, and if you learn cooking, the person who will benefit the most is your better half. In this case, I am definitely lucky that my partner is a foodie like me and encourages me to experiment with various dishes in the kitchen.

Close up view of Thai red curry with a rich and creamy curry sauce, prepared in a skillet. Has basil and cilantro leaves as garnish.
  • Marinating is optional for this recipe, but it helps in tenderizing the meat.
  • We are spicy food lovers. You can adjust red chilies, green chilies, and peppercorns to taste.
  • I have prepared semi-dry version that goes well as an appetizer with any drink. Chicken Kadi Patta in semi-dry form can also be eaten with naan, roti, chapati, phulka, etc. To make a gravy version of this dish, add a few cashews and water while you grind the masala ( referring here to the masala with ginger, onion, garlic, green chilies, etc.) and later adjust the consistency of the gravy by adding more water if needed.

1 tbsp Black Peppercorns
4 to 5 Dry red chilies
1 cup Curry leaves or kadipatta
1 tbsp Coriander seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds


250 gram Chicken thighs (I have used skinless, with bone.)
1/3 cup Yogurt or Curds
Salt, a pinch
Juice of 1 lemon


2 tbsp Garlic cloves
1 small Onion
1 tbsp Ginger
3 Green chilies


2 tbsp Oil
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1 Onion, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
1 tsp Garam masala powder or Curry powder



In a bowl, add chicken, yogurt, salt, and juice of one lime and toss. Keep this aside for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, you can complete the following two steps.


In a pan on medium heat, add all the ingredients mentioned under “dry roast spices” and roast till the curry leaves become crispy.
Transfer this to a blender or mixer and blend it to a smooth powder. 


In another blender or mixer, add garlic cloves, onion, ginger, green chilies, and few tablespoons of water and blend it to a smooth paste.


In a pan on medium heat, add oil and cumin seeds. Once cumin seeds start to sizzle, add onion and saute on medium flame until onion becomes translucent.

Add marinated chicken, ground masala from Step III, and mix it well. Next, add curry leaves powder from Step II, mix, and add 1 or 2 tbsp of water only if needed. Cover this and cook on low flame till water evaporates for about 5 minutes. 

Now add salt to taste, garam masala powder, and mix. Cover and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Finally, cook with the lid open until the masala dries out and coats the chicken.

Fried Chicken Recipe

  • 15 mins preparation
  • 35 mins cooking plus marinating
  • Serves 4

“Used extensively in South Indian and Sri Lankan cooking, fresh curry leaves (Murraya koenigii) are now common in many Asian markets, even supermarkets” says Tan. “They are used in several Malaysian dishes including this fried chicken to impart a distinctive fragrance. For something different, substitute Thai basil or pandan leaves.”


  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1.5 kg chicken drumsticks, halved through the bone (see note)
  • 1 litre (4 cups) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) fresh curry leaves
  • 30 gm tamarind pulp, soaked in ½ cup hot water
  • Pinch of caster sugar
  • 1 long green chilli (optional), seeds removed and thinly sliced, to serve
  • Lime wedges, to serve
Close up view of Thai red curry with a rich and creamy curry sauce, prepared in a skillet. Has basil and cilantro leaves as garnish.

Spice paste

  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 golden shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 15 gm (3cm piece) ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 3 long red chillies, coarsely chopped


  • 1Pound garlic and turmeric with 1 tsp fine salt, or to taste, to a smooth paste with a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a snap-lock bag, add chicken and seal. Massage chicken well and refrigerate to marinate (30 minutes, or overnight).
  • 2For spice paste, pound ingredients with a mortar and pestle or blend in a food processor to a fine paste.
  • 3Heat oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat to 180°C. Fry chicken in batches, turning occasionally, until golden and crisp (7-8 minutes; be careful, hot oil may spit). Drain on paper towels. Strain oil into a heatproof bowl and reserve.
  • 4Wipe wok clean and return to medium-high heat. Add 250ml reserved oil and heat to 170°C. Fry curry leaves until crisp (a matter of seconds; curry leaves will spit, so use a lid to prevent oil splashing) and drain on paper towels.
  • 5In the same oil, add spice paste and fry, stirring frequently, until soft and aromatic (4-5 minutes). Mash tamarind with a fork (discard seeds) and add to pan with sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer over low heat until syrupy (2-3 minutes). Add chicken and stir to heat through (1-2 minutes). Check seasoning, then transfer to a bowl. Top with crisp curry leaves and chilli and serve with lime wedges.


Use a sharp heavy knife or cleaver to halve the drumsticks, or ask the butcher to cut them for you.

Curry Leaf Chicken

As  I was  taking  this picture DH  walked in. “You know  what is missing  here here, don’t  you? ”  there  was a  faraway look on his  face.   I knew  where  he  was –  reliving the  “pub  days ” of  Bangalore. Buddies, beer  and  banter – the ritualistic Bs of good old bachelor  days.  Finger  foods  were an important part of those carefree evenings, and that is where this dish dish – Curry Leaf  Chicken – comes from. Today though, the  best  part about this dish is the  effortless  cooking. 

Pretty much every chicken  curry in Kerala have  curry leaves in it. In those parts  if  you  wanted a   meal without  curry leaves  you  may have  to  cross  state lines. Well, may be I exaggerate, but still… Now this is not a  chicken  curry, but a  dry appetizer  where  curry leaves play a big  role. It is easy to make dish that one  can  put  together  in the  evenings   without a lot of time and effort.

Here are the spices  and  seasonings  used in this  dish.   The flavors are a bit of north south fusion. I like  to use fresh ginger and garlic as opposed to the ginger garlic paste often found in Indian  Stores. A fine grater (zester)  comes  very handy here.  Grate  these  right into the  dish, or  marinade for  truly unmatched flavors.

I know I have said this before, but it is  truly an  easy dish to make, make  the marinade , add to the  chicken,  and marinate  for a  10 minutes. There is enough time to multi task – tackle the kids  homework,  edit that  final  draft or do 10 minute yoga or just  enjoy  a  bit  of  music.

Close up view of Thai red curry with a rich and creamy curry sauce, prepared in a skillet. Has basil and cilantro leaves as garnish.

The  marinade  is  made  with   a  few  ingredients – yogurt,  turmeric powder,  garam  masala,  ginger, garlic, curry leaves ,  chilies  and  salt.   Curry leaves have strong  earthy ,  woody  flavors. Only a  few,  5 to 6 , curry leaves  are  needed in the  marinade.  Crush or  chop these into the marinade.

Cut the  chicken  to bite  size  pieces.  I recommend using boneless skinless chicken. It  saves on cooking  time   and  more  importantly  finger foods  have  to be  convenient for  conversation.  Try  the   tandoori chicken  or the  Peruvian  Chicken  if you  are  looking  for a  bone in  recipe. Mix  the chicken  with  the  marinade  and  set  aside  for  10 minutes.  When ready to cook, heat a  heavy bottomed  pan  with lid add  the  chicken along with the  marinade into it. Cover and cook  over   medium  heat  until  it boils.  Lower  heat and  simmer  for  10 minutes.  When using  bite sized  boneless  pieces  that is  all it  takes.

Once the chicken is  cooked,  take  the  lid  off  stir  the  chicken pieces  and  let  the  extra juices  cook out.  At  the  same  time  heat a  small pan  with 1 tbsp oil.  Break off 2 stalks  of  curry leaves   and  add to the  oil  along  with   green  chilies.  You could  use  dried  red chilies  as  well,  but  I find  that  the  smoky red  chili flavors compete  with the  curry leaves.

Once the  extra  juices of the  chicken  is  dried  add  2 tbsp of  coconut  cream (or  cream)  to the  chicken  mix  well, taste, adjust  salt if needed and  turn off  the  heat.   Pour  the  oil   and half of  the  curry leaves over  the  chicken.  Stir  and  transfer  to a  serving  dish. Garnish  with the  remaining  curry leaves.

Isn’t  this a  something  you  would  want to  much  on  while pondering   the  weightier  matters of   human existence   and sharing a  bottle  with  like  minded  people?  What if  that is not  me  you ask ?  Don’t  worry the  chicken wasn’t  either.  I would  like  to  serve  it  with  some  traditional  coconut palm  toddy.   If  you  ever go to  Kerala  try to get some –  toddy shops  are  aplenty there, but the  good  fresh toddy “madhura kallu”  is a  bit  hard  to  come  by.

But  that is  not  the only way to  enjoy this  dish – my kids  love  this  Kariveppila  Chicken  in a wrap  or on  pizza. Talk  about  unlikely matches!  If that is  what   you are  planning  to  do,  let  the  curry leaf  oil infuse  the  chicken for a  few  minutes,   and  remove the leaves before  the  next  step.

Curry Leaf Chicken

Bite sized  pieces of  chicken  cooked  with  war  spices  and  coconut  cream. Curry leaves  adds  wonderful flavors  and  warmth to this  dish.

  • PREP TIME 10 mins
  • COOK TIME 20 mins
  • TOTAL TIME 40 mins
  • COURSE Appetizer
  • CUISINE Indian
  • SERVINGS 4 Servings


  • 500 g Chicken Boneless, Skinless – About 1 lb
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Cream

For Marinade

  • 1/4 C Yogurt
  • 1 Sprig Curry Leaves
  • 1 Tsp Grated Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Grated Garlic
  • 1/2 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt To taste
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Green Chili To Taste

For Seasoning

  • 2 Sprigs Curry Leaves about 20 -25 small leaves
  • 2 Green Chili Serrano or Similar
  • 1 Tbsp Oil



  • Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Slit or slice the green chili if you prefer spicier food.


  •  Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together to a smooth paste.  Taste  and  adjust  salt.   Add the  marinate to the   chicken  and  mix  well to coat  all the pieces.  Cover and set a side for 10 minutes.


  • Heat a heavy bottomed pan and place the chicken and marinade in it. Cover and cook over medium heat till it begins to boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the chicken pieces are cooked through. Remove the lid and let the remaining juices dry.Add 2 tbsp of coconut cream to the chicken, mix taste and adjust salt if needed. 

Season & Serve

  • Heat a small pan with 1 tbsp oil. When the oil is hot , add the curry leaves and slit (optional) green chilies. Fry until the chili looks blistered and the curry leaves turn  bright green .
  • Turn off the heat and pour the hot oil over the chicken along with half the curry leaves and green chilies. Mix well and transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with the reserved curry leaves.

Health Benefits Of Curry Leaves

The curry tree, a unique citrus tree native to regions of India and Sri Lanka, has become almost synonymous with Indian cuisine. As a member of the citrus family, curry leaves have a strong, fragrant flavor similar to lemongrass.

Used as an herb, curry leaves pack a much subtler flavor than curry powder by lending a complex depth of flavor to any dish. When cooked into a dish, curry leaves enhance the other flavors, giving Indian food its fragrant, robust flavors. Curry leaves have a somewhat sweet taste, earning them the nickname sweet neem leaves.

More than acting as a flavorful herb in Asian cooking, curry leaves have a number of health benefits. In fact, they’re commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine,  a type of holistic medicine practice that began in India over 3,000 years ago.

Health Benefits

While curry leaves are popular in cooking, they’re also commonly used in holistic medicine. This herb is packed with powerful health benefits worth knowing about. 

Support Immune Health

As important as treating an illness once you have it is preventing yourself from getting sick in the first place. Curry leaves are rich with antioxidants, which can help prevent you from getting sick, and which can help lessen the amount of time you stay sick.

Other studies suggest that curry leaves can help your body fight genetic mutation, which has been linked to chronic illnesses including cancer.

Help Treat Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the second-most prevalent cancer in the world. Current breast cancer treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, all of which have their own side effects and risk factors.

However, research suggests that curry leaves may help treat breast cancer by causing cancerous cells to die off. One initial study had a small sample size and has not yet been reproduced, but shows promise for the future of breast cancer treatment. 

May Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is a degenerative disease that causes brain cells to die.Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, though some medications can slow the disease’s progression. 

However, early studies suggest that curry leaves may actually help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. A study done in rats suggests that curry leaves not only protected against future damage to brain cells, but actually reversed some effects of past brain cell damage.

While this early research is promising, the study has not yet been reproduced with humans.


Curry leaves are an excellent source of the following nutrients:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin B

Nutrients per Serving

The U.S. Department of Agriculture does not yet have a standard portion size for curry leaves, so we don’t know the exact nutrients per serving of curry leaves. This may change as curry leaf becomes more popular in Western cooking.

Things to Watch Out For

Because the USDA does not have a standard portion size for curry leaves, it’s hard to be sure exactly how many nutrients and calories you’re getting when cooking with curry leaves. If you’re on a restricted diet, make sure to talk to your doctor before adding curry leaves to your daily regimen. 

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