September 17, 2013

Stuffed Chicken Roast in Spiced Gravy / Malabar Style Kozhi Nirachathu

I have noticed that some of my recent posts usually start off with ramblings about how my day went, the weather, my family, memories, events and sometimes even about nutritional values of certain  ingredients. But today I am going to deviate a tad from the beaten path and instead I am just going to focus on the story of a bird that was transformed into a finger licking traditional dish called Kozhi Nirachathu . Yumm!! For those of you who don’t follow the Malayalam language name of this dish, here is a literal translation; 'Kozhi' means chicken and 'Nirachathu' means stuffed. This recipe has its origins from the Malabar region of Kerala, the southernmost state of India.

Whenever I see a whole roasted chicken, juicy and warm, I get this hunger pang attack and my tummy simply starts rumbling. With such a drool-worthy presentation, this dish is apt for any special occasion (like Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving or any of the usual family parties)

The chicken is first marinated in spices and lemon juice and then braised in curry-leaf infused coconut oil. Sounds delicious already right? - slurp! I know – lets continue… The braised chicken is then stuffed with boiled eggs which are spiced to perfection with some browned onions, raisins and cashew nuts. No – hold on, I am not done yet. Then the braised stuffed chicken is cooked in a spiced tomato- based sauce. Now a’int that something delectable and mouth-watering? 

...So why wait – get cooking!!! Good luck :)

Serves 6-8 people

2 Kg - Chicken, skin off
2 Tablespoon - Red Chilly powder
1 Tsp - Black Pepper powder
3/4 Tsp - Turmeric
2 Tablespoon - Lemon Juice

3-4 sprig - Curry Leaves
Coconut Oil

2 - Eggs, boiled
2 Tsp - Concentrated Tomato Paste
2 Tablespoon - Black Raisins
14 - Cashew nut, whole
1 Cup - Red Onion, sliced
1 - Green chilly, chopped
1/2 Tsp - Garlic, grated
1 twig - Curry leaf
1/4 Tsp - Turmeric powder
1/4 Tsp - Chilly powder
1 Tsp - Coriander powder
1/4 Tsp - Pepper powder
1/8 Tsp - Cumin / jeera powder
1/8 Tsp - Garam masala
Ghee (Clarified butter)

2 Cups - Red Onion, chopped
2 - Green chilly
3 twigs - curry leaves
2 Tsp - Ginger, grated
1 Tablespoon - Garlic
3 - Tomato, chopped
1/2 Tsp - Saunf /Fennel seed powder
1/4 Tsp - Turmeric
3/4 Tsp- Chilly powder
1 Tsp - Coriander powder
1 Tsp - Pepper powder
1/4 Tsp - Cumin\jeera powder
1/4 Tsp - Garam masala
1/2 Cup - Thick Coconut Milk
Coconut Oil

1 - Egg, boiled and sliced
Lime wedges

  • Remove the packet of giblets from the cavity of the chicken.
  • Discard the skin.
  • Wash the chicken then drain and blot dry with paper towels.
  • Make incision on the legs, thighs and chicken breast
  • In a bowl enough to hold the whole chicken, mix chilly powder, pepper, turmeric, lemon Juice and salt and rub this marinade all over the cleaned chicken. Make sure to get inside the incisions
  • Tie the legs together with a twine. 
  • Marinate for at least 1 hour
Braise the chicken
  • Take a wok\kadai with a lid. This pan should be large enough to hold the whole chicken.
  • Heat coconut oil and add the curry leaves and saute for a minute and then add the whole chicken. While braising add oil enough to cover the whole surface of the wok/kadai else the chicken will stick to the bottom and you will end up using more oil during the process. 
  • Let it cook on all sides until you see some browning
  • Close the lid and cook further to make sure that the chicken is cooked through. You can cook the chicken in the oven after braising it but I completed the whole cooking process in the wok/kadai.
  • Take out the whole chicken and keep it aside to cool
  • While the chicken is cooking, take another pan and add some ghee to it.
  • Add the raisins and when they fluff up strain and keep them aside
  • Now add the cashew nuts and sauté them until golden brown. Strain and keep it aside
  • To the remaining ghee, add the sliced onions and curry leaves and saute until they are golden brown.
  • Mix in green chilly, garlic, turmeric, chilly powder, coriander, pepper, cumin and garam masala and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Cut the boiled eggs into half. I used 2 for the stuffin and 1 boiled eggs to garnish
  • Take the pan off the heat and add the fried raisins, cashew nuts and boiled eggs. Gently stir carefully making sure not to rupture the eggs
  • Stuff this mixture into the braised chicken
  • Heat coconut oil in a pan and add curry leaves, onions, ginger, garlic, green chilies and sauté until the onions are golden brown. I made this in the same pan in which the chicken was braised so I got some flavored oil to start my cooking. If you have too much oil in the pan, discard the rest and work with the amount you need.
  • Now add the spices: saunf, turmeric, chilly powder, garam masala, pepper, cumin and coriander and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Once the raw smell from the spices disappears, add the tomatoes and sauté until they are cooked and almost like a thick sauce.
  • Add coconut milk to this and cook until the desired consistency is attained 
  • Now add the stuffed chicken and cook for a few minutes. If the chicken looks dry smear some of the sauce onto it while cooking. You can close the lid and cook for some time to make the chicken more mosit
  • Drizzle with lemon juice and serve with sliced boiled eggs
Notes and Tips
  • Braise means to fry lightly and then stew it slowly in a closed container.
  • Please dont forget to tie the legs of the chicken together before cooking otherwise you will end up with a funny looking bird! I inserted toothpick to get the wings tucked in between the legs and the body. 
  • I highly recommend coconut oil and ghee while cooking this dish
  • Be sure to add curry leaves to coconut oil before starting to braise the chicken.
  • While braising add oil enough to cover the whole surface of the wok/kadai else the chicken will stick to the bottom and you will end up using more oil during the process. After you have braised the chicken, if you end up with a lot of oil, use it to make the gravy and discard the rest.
  • You can cook the chicken in the oven after braising it but I completed the whole cooking process in the wok/kadai.
  • If the chicken is cooked right, the pieces will fall right off  while cutting
  • Serving suggestions: Serve with Pulav, Naan, Roti/Chappati or Kerala Paratha


  1. You had me at curry leaves. I cannot resist anything that has curry leaves. This such chicken looks and sounds amazing! What layers of flavours, just gorgeous.


  2. awesomeee!! even i can't control myself when i c whole chicken on a plate.. lovely presentation
    Ongoing Event-Back 2 School

  3. Ooh, it looks simply awesome. I have tried stuffed chicken too, and I loved it. Literally drooling now!

  4. this looks awesome!!! i've been wanting to try this for ages, but the time taken really discourages me... i guess i should try this for some special occassion for sure, you've really tempted me... :)

  5. This chicken looks so yumm! I can imagine the taste of this chicken with so many spices in it. My mom user to make a similar type of roast chicken but yours is definitely a must try.

  6. Beautifully roasted, delicious flavours!

  7. Awesome Shema!!! I wanted to try this for a long time, but the lengthy process keeps me doubtful...but after seeing this snaps I want to give it a try...may be with cornish chicken first. How much coconut oil did you take to braise the whole chicken?

    1. Shibi - While braising add oil enough to cover the whole surface of the wok/kadai else the chicken will stick to the bottom and you will end up using more oil during the process. After you have braised the chicken, if you end up with a lot of oil, use it to make the gravy and discard the rest.

  8. Shema, you have done a perfect job of roasting that chicken. The layer of spices on top looks amazing!

  9. Oh my Shema, you've made this chicken look so darn delicous and good looking, I am craving it now. I am in love with the first picture. You guys sure had a great time enjoying the spread. A great post.

  10. oh my this chicken looks so darn beautiful... I will be trying this sometime soon :)

  11. Oh my - I am feeling "Nirachathu" looking at this chicken! Wow - the marinated chicken looks mouthwatering!

  12. oh wow, I am glued on screen looking at that pretty bird! Made this only once before as the process was lengthy, but yours is tempting me now..maybe for the next Eid I will make this!

  13. Shema, dear! I am about to drool over my keyboard. What a great looking chicken!!! I am saving this recipe b/c I intend to adapt to make it but using a turkey instead -- for Thanksgiving. I hope you do not mind. Thank you for such a masterpiece!Pinned and pinned!!!

  14. this simply looks divine. have seen it around on different blogs but never really had the enthusiasm to to it.. maybe for a big lunch il do it :)

  15. I'm perfectly fine with your ramblings as long as you keep serving us delicious and delectable recipes like this :)

  16. this bird looks gorgeous, ilove the pictures, so inviting

  17. Curry-leaf infused coconut oil... yum. These spices must give such an amazing flavor to the chicken! I love your beautiful photography too...

  18. Wow..Shema!!! This looks absolutely fabulous. I am seeing this now :)). This tops my "must-try" list now.


  19. dont eat chicken but those pics look stunning ! And I have had the luck to have great malyalee friends my whole life - so I can actually follow 2-3 words in the language :)

  20. the colors of this roast are so warm and inviting and the spiciness is just making us drool :-)

  21. I have never seen the bird look so gorgeous after a roast.. This is making me drool and can't wait to give this a try :-)

  22. Hi Sherma,

    I have never seen a roast looking so good!!! Yours look extremely gorgeous!


  23. Wow looking delicious, I can't wait to eat such a yummy recipe :-)

  24. This one is exceptional Shema...bookmarking it. Now gotta call few guests home to experiment this on them and us , coz if left alone with it, I might just eat up the whole thing ;-) But seriously I will try this sometime soon.

  25. Glad I stumbled across your blog! This chicken looks mouth is watering. Your pics are stunning too :-)

  26. Wow, Shema!!! I just love rustic looking dishes! Chicken must be so succulent and tasty! Well done my dear friend!

  27. I so badly want to try cooking a whole chicken, but have been so intimidated and think that I might freak out seeing a whol bird on my table. But then I love kerala cuisine and the spices in this sound so good. Pinning it and hopefully one day when I am feeling brave enough will try it out!

  28. Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Absolutely love it.

  29. Gorgeous! This chicken looks incredible!
    Love your presentation and clicks. Simply stunning!

  30. Hi Shema, I happened to stumble across this bright reddish 'Malabar Style Kozhi Nirachathu ' on your blog page, and just by reading the ingredient after ingredient and the wonderful process of making this attractive and delicious Stuffed Chicken I fell more and more in love wit it, that I'm going to get it done this saturday for sure. I just have one question Can you please tell me approximately how much cooking time it took for you after you braised the chicken?

    1. I completely forgot to give my feedbacks on this recipe after having tried it successfully as promised in my above comments. Guess what? ... the results were 'Fantabulous' Though the process of making it was a bit tedious I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process of making it, having put in my heart and soul (as usual when I cook any recipe) it turned out toothsome indeed! My husband and my toddler son loved and relished it too! Even took a photo of the end product right before serving! ;) Thanks a ton for sharing this with all of us!

    2. Thanks a lot for sharing your feedback. Glad you and your family enjoyed it.


First of all thanks a lot for stopping by my space. I would be very happy to hear from you and would love to see your comments and feedback :)
Thanks a bunch,


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