Recipe by Maunika Gowardhan


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder or mild chilli powder, see notes below
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 chicken legs, jointed and skins removed
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • to serve chapatis or naan breads


  • 6 dried kashmiri chillies, deseeded (see notes below)
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 star anise
  • 6 cloves
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 6cm piece cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp caraway seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg


  • 150g fresh coconut, grated
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • a thumb-sized piece ginger, roughly chopped
  • chopped to make 2 tbsp coriander


  • STEP 1

    Tip all of the spice mixture ingredients, except the nutmeg, into a large frying pan and cook over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Stir the spices then, as they become fragrant, turn the heat off and cool. Use a spice grinder or pestle and mortar to grind to a fine powder, and stir in the nutmeg.

  • STEP 2

    For the paste, fry the coconut in the spice mixture pan over a low heat for 15-20 minutes, then tip out into a bowl. The colour of the coconut will turn light brown and dry out slightly. Add the vegetable oil to the pan followed by the onion, garlic, ginger and coriander. Mix well and fry for 10 minutes over a medium heat until the onions and garlic have browned slightly and Cool, then tip into a blender or food processor with 150ml of water and the coconut, and whizz until smooth.

  • STEP 3

    Heat the vegetable oil in a large, lidded, heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat. Fry the coconut paste for 2-3 minutes. Add the chilli powder, turmeric and spice mixture. Fry for 1 minute, stirring well. Turn up the heat slightly and add the chicken pieces. Fry for 5 minutes, mixing well as the chicken cooks. Season and add 400ml of water, bring to a boil and simmer over a low heat for 25 minutes with the lid on, stirring halfway. Add the coconut milk, remove the lid and simmer for another 15-20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is tender. Stir in the lime juice and serve with chapatis or naan breads, if you like.

*This recipe is gluten-free according to industry standards

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