Instant Pot Kerala Chicken Stew


This mildly spiced Kerala chicken stew is a hearty and comforting soup made with chicken, carrots, potatoes, and curry leaf spiced coconut milk.

Instant Pot Kerala Chicken Stew by

What is Kerala Chicken Stew?

If you’ve never had Kerala chicken stew before, think of it as a South Indian version of chicken soup. Everyone loves Chicken Soup; it’s absolute comfort food on a cold day or when you’re feeling under the weather. Eating a bowl of chicken soup instantly makes you feel better. Well, this coconut chicken stew does all of those same things and in my opinion, it’s even more delicious than regular chicken soup.

This lightly spiced coconut chicken stew is a dish thatโ€™s often served for breakfast/brunch in Keralite homes. I love making it for Sunday brunch because it makes the day feel a little extra special. You can make this any time though – thanks to the instant pot, this dish would even make for a simple weeknight recipe.

As someone who grew up in a North Indian family, I find the flavor of this curry to be very different from the dishes that I grew up eating. It’s unique and certainly not a dish that you’d find in an Indian restaurant, though I have no idea why.

“I wanted something cozy for the cooler weather, and this stew is perfect! Iโ€™ve never knowingly had Keralite food before โ€“ this stew has such a unique and delicious flavour. My husband loves it as well. This will be a staple in my house for sure.”


I honestly prefer this chicken stew to Butter Chicken. I just love the flavor of curry leaf spiced coconut milk with chicken and potatoes. To be honest, I love curry leaf spiced anything.

I tell my husband all the time that I must have been Keralite in another life because the cuisine is my favorite – it’s absolutely for me. I learned how to make this stew after watching my mother-in-law make it many times and though my dish will never be as good as hers (because I swear she and all Indian moms switch up their recipes every time they make a dish!) – it’s pretty darn close. It’s also much easier to make and faster too – all thanks to the instant pot. My husband loves this dish and he’s super picky when it comes to Keralite food (and all food really lol), so I am sure you will love it too.


  • Coconut Oil
  • Red Onion
  • Curry Leaves: there’s no substitute for the unique flavor and aroma that curry leaves provide. You can find curry leaves at your local Indian grocery store.
  • Chicken Thighs: skinless and boneless
  • Ginger
  • Spices: coriander powder, meat masala, salt, pepper, turmeric, cayenne
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Coconut Milk: please use canned and full-fat.

Suggested Items

What to Serve with Kerala Stew:

You can serve this stew Matta Rice or with appam (lacy rice flour and coconut milk pancakes). I don’t have a recipe for appam on my blog yet because I have yet to perfect them. When I do perfect them (one day?), I’ll be sure to share ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s also great with rice or another type of Indian bread too. I really like this with my Paleo Naan. Most of the time though, I just eat a bowl of this stew by itself. It’s so, so good.

I hope you all love this stew as much as I do!

Instant Pot Kerala Chicken Stew by

More Keralite Recipes:

Instant Pot Kerala Chicken Stew

Instant Pot Kerala Chicken Stew by

Instant Pot Kerala Chicken Stew

This lightly spiced coconut chicken stew is a dish thatโ€™s often served for breakfast in Keralite homes. I love making it for Sunday brunch! As someone who grew up in a North Indian family, I find the flavor of this curry to be very different from the dishes that I grew up eating. I learned how to make this stew after watching my mother-in-law make it many times. I love the flavor of curry leaf spiced coconut milk with chicken and potatoes. I hope you love this as much as I do.
5 from 23 reviews
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Cuisine Indian


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 red onion thinly sliced
  • 20-30 curry leaves
  • 1 ยฝ pounds skinless and boneless chicken thighs cut into quarters
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger


  • 2 medium potatoes approx. 1 pound, peeled and cubed
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk


  • Press sauteฬ, add the coconut oil and when it melts, add the onion. Stir-fry for 10-12 minutes or until they turn brown. Remove some of the onions and set them aside to use as a garnish.
  • Add the curry leaves and the chicken. Stir-fry for 8-9 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer no longer pink and is mostly cooked through.
  • Add the ginger and ground spices and give everything a good mix so that the chicken is coated with all of the spices.
  • Add the potatoes and carrots, stir, then add the coconut milk.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 4 minutes at high pressure.
  • Naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. Open the valve to release any remaining pressure.
  • Garnish with the browned onions and serve.
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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, Iโ€™m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and youโ€™ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Cait says

    5 stars
    Made this tonight using bone in chicken legs, so increased the cooking time to 15 mins. Turned out perfectly. Just sorry I didn’t double the recipe, but its now book marked so will definitely be made again.

  2. Jordan says

    5 stars
    I made this with sweet potatoes instead of potatoes and carrots and it came out amazing. The spices in the chicken stew complemented the sweet potato so well. My 2 year old loved it tooโ€”I think this is a great Indian dish to give to a toddler as itโ€™s not very spicy and has a lot of sweet spices in it.

  3. Bonnie says

    5 stars
    I wanted something cozy for the cooler weather, and this stew is perfect! Iโ€™ve never knowingly had Keralite food before – this stew has such a unique and delicious flavour. My husband loves it as well. This will be a staple in my house for sure.

  4. Sukhi says

    Hi Ashley,

    I would love to try this recipe. I have one question, can I use marinated chicken thighs in this recipe? and for how long do I have to cook in case I substitute boneless chicken with chicken thigh?


    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Hi Sukhi, you can marinate the chicken if you’d like but it’s really not necessary for this recipe. I use boneless chicken thighs. I haven’t tried this with chicken breast but I would think that’d be fine to use. Let me know how it goes!

  5. Sangu says

    This is to die for! My husband is a Mallu and he was reminiscing about his momโ€™s cooking when the aromas of this stew wafted through the kitchen. Thank you again!

  6. Shirrin Shaikh-Anwer says

    5 stars
    Sooooo yummy! just made this and served with your brown rice recipe. another easy quick midweek meal!

    so grateful for all your recipes xxx

  7. Shital Barman says

    5 stars
    this was super yummy! i made both the chicken and the veggie versions and both were super duper hits. Goes very well with Appam. Thank you

  8. Maya says

    5 stars
    Once again, you hit it out of the park and make my heart happy with flavors of home. The meat masala was spot on and this was so easy to make. Definitely adding to my regular rotation in the fall/winter!

  9. Charlotte says

    5 stars
    Wow, this recipe was really delicious! The flavor profile of the meat masala, curry leaves and coconut milk was amazing – it really is the ultimate comfort food! This was the first time we tried a Kerala recipe and we can’t wait to try the others!!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Charlotte, that’s so great to hear ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for letting me know how much you liked this! I can’t wait to hear what you think of other Keralite recipes you try!

  10. Leora says

    5 stars
    I too grew up in a non Keralite household but my best friend growing up was Keralite and her Mom made the most fabulous food. I distinctly remember her stew. I have to say this recipe is absolutely spot on! I made it last night for dinner and it took me back to my childhood. Thank you!

  11. J says

    5 stars
    This is the second time that I made this. I served this with Appams. So so so good and easy to make. Tastes great with some rotis or even plain bread.

  12. Neha says

    I’m from Punjab and my husband is from Kerala, and I can relate to how you feel about Kerala food. We both miss Appam and stew, and I’m so excited to try this recipe over the weekend! Any update on the Appam recipe? ๐Ÿ˜Š

  13. Lekha says

    Hi Ashley – I am trying out each of your recipes. Just as a note in traditional ishtew as you know, we use whole spices but no turmeric ๐Ÿ™‚ this stewโ€™s color looks different but was delicious ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Mita says

    5 stars
    Ashley, I have your awesome book and love this recipe off the website. Question: is there a way to print the recipe without all the advertisements taking up precious space in the middle of the recipe? Iโ€™d like it to print as only 1 page, but the ads bloat it to 3 pages!

  15. James says

    5 stars
    This was absolutely amazing, made it tonight, will certainly make it again.

    Only thing I changed was a bit more salt.

  16. Ginger Bingham says

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! And so excited because when I went to the store to buy my curry leaves, they had baby curry trees! I bought one. We will see how it likes the Texas heat๐Ÿ˜Š.

  17. Tanvi says

    5 stars
    If I could give this 10 stars I would! Wow!! I love all the amazing flavors this stew has, it reminds me of being in someoneโ€™s Grandmotherโ€™s kitchen. I recently started making Indian food and your blog has been one of my favorite places to go to for inspiration and recipes. Thank you again for sharing your recipes with everyone.lots of Love from Plano, Tx ๐Ÿ’œ

  18. Sarika says

    The coconut milk – wonโ€™t it split when cooked on high pressure? Can I make this with chicken with bone? Will the cooking time be same?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Sarika, I haven’t had that happen but you can definitely add it at the end! As for the bone-in, I think as long as you follow step 2 and cook until mostly done it’ll be fine – the recipe calls for that since there’s only a 4 min cook time so as not to overcook the veggies.

  19. Benjamin Smith says

    Wooow! Looks very appetizing! I love to experiment with chicken and it will be the next dish that I try to cook:)))
    Have a good week!

  20. Jen says

    Made this curry for a dinner party with friends on the weekend. I threw in leftover roasted red onions that I had on hand into this, which gave the curry subtle smokey, caramised flavour I think. Absolutely blown away by how quick and delicious this curry turned out to be. Everyone loved it! Thank you Ashley for the recipe xx

  21. Julie says

    5 stars
    Thanks Ashley for the recipe. I am new to IP, and still learning to cook in the items. When you say Natturally release pressure for 10 mins, it means after the 4 min high pressure- you need to wait for 10 mins and then release the remaining pressure? Please let me know. Thanks

      • Esther Arden says

        It turned out so good and it was easy. You were right, the fresh curry leaves gave it an amazing flavor. I’m making it again today, it’s perfect for this cold weather. Question: Can this be frozen and used later? I would like to make bigger batches. But potatoes tend to taste different after freezing a curry dish with potatoes in it.

  22. Evelyn Adams says

    5 stars
    Thank you, Ashley, as always your recipes are simply incomparable!
    This is not the first time when I show my recipe to my students, because they are always very creative and delicious.
    I have long wanted to ask, are You the author of recipes that you post in your blog?

  23. Pat says

    5 stars
    It’s me again. ๐Ÿ™‚ I just wanted to say I made this today and it is just amazing! I decided to substitute the potatoes with turnips. Anyhow – wonderful recipe. Thank you!

  24. Pat says

    I love your recipes, and this one looks wonderful. Do you think I could substitute the potatoes with sweet potatoes – are would that change the dish completely?

  25. Maneesha says

    Wow!! I only know how to make Gujarati and Punjabi style chicken dishes, and I’m so excited to try this Kerala chicken stew! First time making a non-veg South Indian dish!

instant pot pour and cook chicken biryani

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