It isn’t even December yet but Santa has arrived earlier than usual. A very humble and aspiring entrepreneur, Faiza, of Earth and Ethics spotted me on Instagram and was very kind enough to send me a cast iron kadai from her sustainable kitchen collection. The concept of her business emerged from her passion for toxic free living. In a world where we are compromising on our health and environment to a great extent, Earth and Ethics is pursuing to substitute it with something that is closer to nature while empowering artisans and craftsmen from different parts of India, a country that is diverse and rich in heritage. 

The kadai arrived perfectly seasoned and I love that it has a deep bottom for various chores like deep frying and making curries. Cast iron pans/kadai are rustic which naturally makes them the best food-photography prop, but there is more to it than just good looks.For one, they are durable and last a lifetime without any teflon coating chipping off and letting toxic fumes out in the air. Another big advantage  is that they are an iron supplement in cooking form. I started off by roasting spices, searing chicken and roasting veggies before doing a full cookout. The cast iron holds the heat well and keeps the temperature steady  while doing a slow cooking in little liquid {like for in this recipe} to give the most tender results from braising. More details on how you can order from Earth and Ethics are given at the end of the recipe.

In support of Earth and Ethics, I have this simple yet laced with spice chicken curry that is mostly eaten in the villages of India, especially across the Konkan belt. Dhabas on the outskirts of Bombay are filled with the aromas of chicken curry as you enter.  Dhabas are small roadside restaurants usually frequented by truck drivers, scattered over the highway connecting two cities. We, for the most part, would go there for experience. Wooden cots and planks, mud shacks that gives the feel of a village. Stopping over at a dhaba for chicken curry, mutton karahi, garlic daal and tandoori roti would make up for one of the best food experiences in our growing up years and even now.

Although I cook curry so often, I am always left fascinated because there are so many different varieties based on regional and geographical boundaries and even more variations in the amount of spices and ingredients every household use. This recipe for chicken in an onion-coconut gravy is an absolute winner if you are looking for a spicy chicken curry. It has a warmth from whole spices such as dry red chillies, peppercorns and cloves that is a classic in Indian recipes and the slow cooking process that lends this dish a unique flavor.


Village Style Chicken Curry
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr

Laced with spices and slow cooked, this chicken curry in onion-coconut gravy is an absolute winner. It is spicy, hot and fragrant that makes it perfect for weekend dinners in winter season.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 people
Author: Tasneem Rajkotwala
  • 500 gms whole chicken , cut in medium pieces
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp grated garlic
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 medium sized onions , finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli , slit into halves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp grated jaggery or sugar
  • salt to taste
For spice paste:
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh grated coconut
  • 4 nos dry red chillies
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 medium onion , roughly chopped
  1. Wash and clean the chicken. Rub it with red chilli powder, turmeric powder, ginger, garlic and salt and keep aside while you prepare the spice paste.

  2. Heat the cast iron kadai until it is smoking hot. Roast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorn, sesame seeds, dry red chillies and cinnamon for few seconds until fragrant. Remove in a spice jar of your food processor. Now roast coconut until it begins to change the color. Add roasted coconut and chopped onions in a spice jar and blend to a smooth paste. Add water if required.

  3. In the same cast iron kadai, heat oil and add bay leaf. Add the onions and chilli and keep stirring until translucent. Add the spice paste. Stir and cook until oil starts to leave from the sides. Mix in the chicken and coat it well with the spice paste. Add salt and about 2 cups of water to thin out the gravy. Turn the heat to medium low and cook covered for another 20 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. Grate jaggery for earthy taste and mix in. Garnish with ginger and serve hot with chapatis or fluffy rice.

Earth and Ethics is an online store operating through Facebook and Instagram offering household items that are ethically sourced from artisans and are organic. Call them on +971554617800 or message them on Facebook and Instagram to place an order. 

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