Kerala Chicken Dry Roast


We are making Kerala chicken dry roast – and coating tender, juicy chicken in a thick and spicy masala!

Spicy Chicken Dry Roast

This dry chicken roast is one of my favorite Keralite dishes! What’s not to love about chicken smothered in warm, aromatic spices?!

You will be tempted to use water when making this recipe. Please don’t do it. This is a dry dish, and so the masala mixture is supposed to look dry. Roasting spices gives this dish its unique aroma. When you add the chicken, it will release its juices, which will give the dish moisture. If you add any water beforehand, you’ll end up with a chicken curry rather than a dry roast. It’ll still be good, but trust me, you’ll enjoy dry roasted chicken even more.

“I made this a couple of days back, and it came out so good! The best thing was it tasted even better the next day, if that is even possible. So easy to make, this is going to be recipe I will come back to, time and again.”


Notes About the Ingredients:

This recipe calls for thick frozen coconut slices, which you can find in your local Indian grocery store’s frozen aisle. The coconut adds texture to the dish, but because it’ll be smothered with masala, you won’t get too much coconut flavor – the coconut oil will help add more coconut aroma. Before meeting my Keralite husband, Roby, I had always associated coconuts with sweets. This spicy chicken dish goes to show that coconuts are exceptional in savory Indian dishes too.

Coriander powder is a major player in this dish. If you’re not a fan of coriander leaves (cilantro), that doesn’t mean you won’t like coriander powder (ground seeds). Personally, I don’t think the two taste anything alike. I like cilantro, but I wouldn’t say I’m crazy about it, you know? But I am a huge fan of the seeds that come from the plant. Cilantro has a sharp citrusy flavor to it, whereas coriander seed is milder in flavor. Coriander powder has more of a warm and nutty flavor, and it also helps create a nice, thick masala.

Another must-have ingredient is my homemade Kerala garam masala. also known as meat masala. You can use this spice mix in so many recipes (find a list in the meat masala post linked above); it’s made with fennel seeds, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, and black peppercorn. This masala is what gives this chicken roast its distinct Keralite flavor, so don’t skip it or replace it with another type of garam masala blend.

I hope you love this dish as much as we do!

Spicy Chicken Dry Roast

Spicy Chicken Dry Roast

Spicy Chicken Dry Roast

5 from 1 review
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  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (approx 1 large tomato or 2 small/medium)
  • 1 cup frozen coconut slices you can find this at your local Indian store


  • Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Once it melts, and add the mustard seeds. When the seeds start to pop, add curry leaves, serrano pepper and dried red chillies to pan and give everything a stir (You may need to shield for cover when the seeds pop!)
  • Add sliced onions and saute for around 5 minutes, or until they turn golden brown.
  • Reduce the heat to low, then add the ginger, garlic and mix well. Add another tablespoon of coconut oil and the spices and mix well.
  • Add the chopped tomato and raise the heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to cook down.
  • Then add the chicken and coconut slices and mix well. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Stir occasionally.


Do not add any water, even if mixture seems super dry. When you add the chicken, the meat will release water.
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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’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 you’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. Sree N says

    I made this a couple of days back, and it came out so good! The best thing was it tasted even better the next day, if that is even possible. So easy to make, this is going to be recipe I will come back to, time and again.

  2. Anne says

    Hi Ashley, I have tried many dishes from your blog and love them all! Would love to see IP version of this!

  3. DB says

    I have been lurking on your website for a month or so and have tried a few different recipes posted here. I have become especially fond of this dry chicken recipe as well as the slow cooker goat curry recipe. I have made both the dishes multiple times and they always turn out great. I am not one to post comments on blogs but I had to write to express my gratitude for your efforts in “paleoizing” indian recipes. You are providing an admirable service to people looking for healthful Indian food options. Also, you write very well!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi DB, thank you so much! Comments like this make my day – it’s nice to know that you’re really enjoying my recipes. Thanks again and I hope you’ll let me know how any other recipes turn out for you!


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