Margarita's International Recipes

Cochin Jew

Kozhi Kari

Coriander Chicken

This chicken dish was commonly eaten during Passover by the white Jews of Cochin. It is quite tasty, though I'm not sure it is worth all the time and work it requires. Still, I was quite happy to eat it.

I followed the original recipe closely, but I omitted the curry leaves as it would be a hassle to get them and they would not have added much to a dish with so many spices. I also deseeded the chilis. If you like spicier dishes, keep the seeds and/or add more chilis.

Coriander Chicken


  • 1 2" stick cinnamon bark
  • 6 cloves
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cardamon seeds (about 4-5 pods)
  • 1/2 tsp anise seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • 3 yellow onions, cut into large chunks
  • 4-5 lbs chicken thighs
  • 1 15-oz can whole tomatoes
  • 4-5 curry leaves (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 2 piece ginger
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 or more serrano chilis
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves


Heat a small, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamon seeds and anise seeds. Cook until seeds start to pop. Remove from heat, let cool a little and grind together. Mix in the ground turmeric, nutmeg and salt.

Clean the chicken thighs, remove and discard the skin. Rub the spice mixture all over the thighs and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the onions and cook until golden. Add the chicken thighs and cook for one minute. Add the tomatoes, curry leaves (if using), vinegar and cup water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the ginger and garlic cloves and remove seeds from chilis. Cut all of these into largish pieces. Put ginger, garlic, chilis, cilantro and mint in a food processor and chop finely together.

After the chicken is done add the herb mixture into the pot, stir together and cook for an additional five minutes. Serve with rice.

Adapted from Joan Nathan's recipe at the New York Times.

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