Kozhi Ishtu ~ Kerala Chicken Stew



For this week’s Blogging Maraton #106 theme of “Soups and Stews”, since the last two posts were soups, I thought I will post a stew this time. A stew usually has more body that soups and eaten with a side of bread, rice or something similar. I just decided that the easiest thing for me to do is to post our own stew – Ishtu, which is basically a “Malayalamized” word of stew. 😀


For umma, ishtu is always vegetarian – with potatoes and some additional vegetables. Whenever we would tell her to add chicken or meat, she would give us such a stare as though we have done some sacrilege. Hehe… However, non-veg ishtu very much exists in the menu card of Keralites. Just like umma, I used to think rasam was always vegetarian till I heard of “kozhi rasam”. Hehe… yet to try though… OK, coming back to the ishtu, as usual, this dish goes amazingly well with noolputtu/ idiyappam or with some appams – yet to get the proportion right. 🙁


The recipe is very similar to the vegetarian version, just that I have added a pinch of turmeric, so it has a pale yellow hue to it. Since chicken releases its stock, it is always better to very careful while adding the coconut milk so that you don’t end up having a very watery stew. You can adjust the quantity of the coconut milk as per your required consistency. Off to the recipe…





5 from 2 votes

Kozhi Ishtu ~ Kerala Chicken Stew

Course Main
Cuisine Malabar
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Author Rafeeda


  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 1 large onion sliced thin
  • 3 green chillies minced
  • 2 large potatoes cubed
  • 800 gm chicken small pieces washed and drained
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp black pepper powder
  • 3/4 cup thin coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup thick coconut milk
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder


  • Heat coconut oil in a pressure cooker. Coarsely crush the whole spices and sizzle in teh oil.
  • Add the ginger and curry leaves and fry for a minute.
  • Add the onion and green chilies and saute till wilted.
  • Add in the potato and toss well. Add the chicken along with the turmeric powder and black pepper powder and toss.
  • Add the thin coconut milk and salt. Close and pressure cook for one whistle. Switch off and allow the pressure to go by itself.
  • Open the lid, add the thick coconut milk and garam masala powder into the hot stew. Close and leave for a couple of minutes - no need to cook.
  • Adjust seasoning and serve hot with idiyappams or appams.


Make sure that the potatoes are cubed according to the chicken pieces. I ensure the chicken is cut small so that it cooks faster and the potatoes wont get overcooked.
You can skip the turmeric to give the stew an off white color.


Check out the Blogging Marathon page to see what the other Blogging Marathoners are doing this BM#106.


Join the Conversation

  1. Well, a ishtu is welcome after two soups heheh…and I am sure your kids will love this one!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Valli…

  2. This is something I would love too! So comforting and tasty.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Angie…

  3. Even here at home, ishtu predominantly means veg stew though I love a good mutton or chicken stew better, especially with hot lacy appams !! Urs look lovely 🙂

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Chitra… 🙂

  4. Ishtew is one of my favorite comfort food and with appams it is a heavenly meal

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Taruna…

  5. Must be a treat to the soup lovers…and a perfect winter recipe.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks a lot Vaishali…

  6. Thought of making such a stew when I made appams yesterday, but then ended up making egg curry as usual! As the season is changing these kinds of dishes are the most welcoming

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Priya…

  7. Kozhi ishtu with appams must be a treat. So apt for the upcoming winter.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Annu…

  8. Good one for the weather here.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks a lot Harini…

  9. 5 stars
    I also thought rasam was always vegetarian. Will have to check out the version with meat. but as far as this is ishtu goes, perfect especially now that the weather is cooling over here. Perfect comfort food!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Mir…

  10. Kozhi Ishtu looks simply delicious. Perfect for cold winters.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks a lot Amara…

  11. I thought isthu was vegetarian and the same case with rasam as well. Seems like a good soup for chicken lovers.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Even me too, till I found their non-veg counterparts… Thank you so much Suma…

  12. 5 stars
    Stew look so rich with coconut milk. Perfect to enjoy with some appam or idiyappam.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Narmadha…

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