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+ servings

Kerala Fried Chicken

With a crisp crust and all spiced up with the warming spices of South India, this Kerala fried chicken will thrill you and the lucky ones you are serving. Make it hot or not; either way, this chicken is memorable!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian-ish
Keyword Chicken, Curry Leaves, Egg-free, Entertaining, Gluten-free, Indian-ish, Kerala, South Indian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Marinating 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 173kcal



  • 3 pounds boneless and skinless chicken thighs ~ About 8 thighs
  • 2 cups yogurt ~ Or buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons whole garlic cloves ~ Or 9 garlic cloves, puréed, or finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger ~ Grated or puréed
  • 1 tablespoon Kashmiri ground red chili ~ Or 1/2 tablespoon cayenne or substitutions, more or less to taste
  • 2 teaspoons green chili ~ Minced: 3 small Indian or 1 1/2 Serrano chilies
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sea or table salt ~ 2 tablespoons Diamond kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black salt ~ Optional


  • 1/2 cup rice flour ~ White or brown
  • 2 cups cornstarch ~ See Notes below
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon sea or table salt ~ Or 2 1/2 tablespoons Diamond kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Kerala garam masala ~ Or 1 tablespoon regular garam masala; Kerala garam masala recipe; see Notes below
  • 1 tablespoon Kashmiri ground red chili ~ 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne, more or less to taste!

Optional Garnishes

  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt ~ Maldon for example, optional garnishing
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves ~ Optional, fry for garnishing
  • oil for frying ~ Grapeseed, avocado, or your favorite oil
  • lemon or lime wedges



  • Gather your marinade ingredients.
    Kerala Fried Chicken Ingredients gathered and ready for South Indian flavors.
  • Trim and cut each chicken thigh in half.
  • Mix together all the marinade ingredients. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature for 20 minutes before frying.
    Kerala Fried Chicken The chicken in yogurt bath spice up with the Indian basics: chili, ginger, and garlic.
  • Gather all the breading ingredients and mix together. Place a cooling rack on a sheet pan to be ready for the fried chicken.
    Kerala Fried Chicken The breading ingredients gathered alongside some good avocado oil, and curry leaves for the perfect Keralan garnish.
  • Shake off excess marinade and coat the chicken with the flours and spices.
    Kerala Fried Chicken The first piece of chicken getting its dusting of spiced flours.
  • Using a dutch oven, wok, or a large cast-iron skillet, add oil to the depth of 1-inch and heat over medium-high heat. Bring the oil to 350°F (180°C) using an instant-read thermometer, candy thermometer, or use the handle of a wooden spoon. Put the end of a wooden handle into the oil and if bubbles up immediately, the oil is hot enough. After adding each batch of chicken, temporarily increase the heat as needed because the additional meat will reduce the temperature of the oil. Frying with too low a temperature will lead to oily fried chicken.
    Kerala Fried Chicken Breaded chicken in a bath of hot oil.
  • Stir the chicken gently after adding to the pan to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Fry it until it is a deep golden brown and cooked through and the temperature registers 165°F (75°C) on a thermometer. This will take about 4 minutes on each side. Place the cooked chicken on the cooling rack to drain and sprinkle with coarse salt, if using. Leave space between the pieces of chicken and keep it warm in a 200°F (100°C) oven. Don't leave it too long or it will dry out. A 30-minute wait will be fine.
    Kerala Fried Chicken Fried and draining on a rack.
  • If you are using curry leaves after all the chicken is cooked, add the curry leaves to the hot oil and fry for 10 to 15 seconds until turn a darker, shiny green.
    Kerala Fried Chicken All beautifully fried and golden brown, resting on a bed of a multi-colored cabbage and carrot salad.
  • Serve with raita and/or a favorite Indian pickle.


  • Play with a mix of flours that work for you. Potato starch, cornstarch, and rice flour all add to the crispiness of your final coating. If you are not avoiding gluten, you can use all wheat flour if you don't have any of these other ingredients.
  • Instead of garam masala, use a mix of 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala and 1 1/2 teaspoons chaat masala. Play with your favorite spices for this delicious Kerala fried chicken! Or use your favorite curry powder.


Calories: 173kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 330mg | Potassium: 121mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 61IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 1mg