Chicken Kuzhambu (Muniyandi Vilas Style)


Madurai region in Tamilnadu is known for its popular Vilambu Naidus cooking style who mostly dominate that area. No one can deny drooling over those Madurai Sri Muniyandi Vilas traditional menus…. Naatu Kozhi kuzhambu, Varutha kari, Samba arisi biryani. These items are typical homestyle traditional touch non-veg curries and gravies, served at the vilas which mostly known as a local mess. All these items are prepared with homegrown poultry, fresh veggies, fresh ground masala, tempered with sesame oil and traditonal spices. Here is my version of one such Naidu style Naatu Kozhi Kuzhambu which we enjoyed with mutton biryani.

Naatu Kozhi Kuzhambu / Cornish Game Hen / Cornish Rock cornish Hen / Country Style Chicken Gravy / Madurai Sri Muniyandi Vilas style / Kulambu / Kolambu / Gravy / Restaurant Style

6 nos Dry red chili
2 tbsp Coriander seeds
1 tsp Raw rice
1 tsp Black pepper corns
1 tsp Cumin seeds
½ tsp Fennel seeds
1 tsp Poppy seeds
1 tsp Split roasted grams(pottukadalai)
1 no Cinnamon (1/2 ” stick)
2 nos Cloves
1 no Cardamon
1 tsp Dry coconut flakes
2 nos Onions (finely chopped)
1 no Tomato (chopped)
1 no Green chili (finely chopped)
4 clove Garlic (crushed)
1 inch Ginger (crushed)
1 no Cornish hen (or use 1 pound regular chicken)
½ tsp Turmeric powder
1 tbsp Fresh ground coconut paste (diluted with water)
2 no Bay leaf (small)
2 no Dry red chili (for tempering)
½ tsp Mustard seeds
4 tbsp Oil (sesame oil preferred)
1½ tsp Salt (or to taste)
2 stks Coriander leaves (chopped for garnishing)
10 nos Curry leaves


What are Rock Cornish Game Hen??? First of all its not a game bird but a typical chicken that is slaughtered at a young age and therefore they look smaller in size. Though the bird is called a "hen," it can be either male or female, the meat is less..but tender and taste good for gravy preparations. This is the closest to our typical home grown Naatu Kozhi (Country Chicken). Tyson is only brand I've seen so far which sells in small packs as shown. Sams club have these but looks little bigger when compared to local produce markets.

For Colour, flavour and gravy — I've used 2 red chilies as thats a lot for my taste, if you prefer extra spicy throw in a couple of chilies which also adds colour. Rice and Split roasted gram adds body to the dish, its literally thicken the gravy. Dry coconut or copra gives that oily flavour to the gravy. If using regular dessicated or fresh grated.. pls do dry fry them over the tawa till slightly browned. This releases that coconut oil in them and add tons of flavour. Fresh ground coconut at the last stage is added for consistency, adjust with water if you prefer thin gravy. Tempering dry red chili and mustard seeds in sesame oil adds traditional touch to the dish…its also ok to use regular oil.


Masala Powder : Dry roast all the ingredients from table-1 (Dry red chili + coriander seeds + raw rice + black pepper corns + cumin seeds + fennel seeds + poppy seeds + split roasted gram + cinnamon + cloves + cardamon + coconut flakes ) until slightly brown. Switch off and cool completely. Grind to powder and keep aside.

Kuzhambu : Heat sesame oil and toast bay leaf, curry leaves and splutter mustard. Now add chopped onions, green chilis, crushed ginger and garlic. Fry them for 5 minutes or until slightly browned. Now add the tomatoes and cook for a minute, add the cut chicken pieces, cover with a lid and cook further for 3 minutes. When the meat turns all white, add the turmeric powder, our ground masala powder and saute. Fry till the masala browns well, add salt and keep frying (definitely requires some scraping as the masala will be become very sticky at this point). Now add 1 cup of water and ground coconut paste, cover with lid, bring the flame to low. Let it simmer for another 5 to 8 minutes, the oil should separate as the kuzhambu boils. Garnish with coriander and finish the dish.

Traditionally served Seeraga samba arisi biryani , boiled egg and thayir pachadi or poured over stacked parottas.


Yields: 3 to 4 adult servings.

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