Chicken Kalmas

Are you familiar with this yummy chicken snack?

Frankly I was not, until a few days back. Even if I spent my four years of engineering in Kannur, I had never heard about this snack that is popular in Kannur. Those days my favorite snack was a chicken roll that we used to buy from a bakery very close to Kannur railway station. I can’t exactly recollect the name of that bakery, but those memories still tickle my tastebuds. That was one of the best chicken roll I have tasted till now. Few days back while I was scrolling through my Insta profile, I came across these Chicken kalmas pic in a friend’s profile. It’s shape was a bit different from the usual roll recipe. I asked her about it and she explained that it is a tea time snack called chicken kalmas made in her hometown. I wanted to try it and she happily shared the recipe for this yummy snack.

The dough for this snack is made with rice flour and steaming and shallow frying of chicken kalmas makes it a healthier alternative to the deep fried snacks.The shape of chicken kalmas is like that of an Unnakaya, another tea time snack from Malabar. This can be made with other fillings like egg, beef, prawns etc. So here is the recipe for a tasty chicken kalmas:)


For the dough:
  1. Roasted rice flour 1 cup
  2. Grated coconut 1/2 cup
  3. Fennel seeds 1/2 tsp.
  4. Cumin seeds 1/4 tsp.
  5. Salt 1/2 tsp.
  6. Boiling water as required to form a smooth dough( varies depending on the brand of rice flour)
For the filling:
  1. Chicken cooked with pepper and salt and cut in to small bite sized pieces (preferably boneless) 200gm
  2. Onion chopped 2
  3. Green chili chopped 1 to 2
  4. Curry leaves chopped 1 sprig
  5. Ginger chopped 1 tsp.
  6. Garlic chopped 1 tsp.
  7. Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp.
  8. Coriander powder 1 tsp.
  9. Red chili powder 1 to 1.5 tsp.(depending on spice tolerance)
  10. Pepper powder 1/2 tsp.
  11. Garam masala 1/2 tsp.
  12. Chopped coriander leaves(optional)
  13. Salt
  14. Oil 2 tbsp.
For red chilli paste:
  1. Red chili powder 1 tbsp.
  2. Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp.
  3. Salt 1/4 tsp.
  4. Water 2 tbsp.

Oil for shallow frying 2 to 3 tbsp.(I used vegetable oil)


Prepare the filling:
  1. Heat oil in a pan. When oil is hot enough, add chopped ginger, chopped garlic, chopped green chili and chopped curry leaves and saute until the raw smell leaves.
Sauté ginger, garlic, green chili and curry leaves
  1. Add chopped onions and saute until the onion turns light brown in color.
Sauté onion until it turns light brown in color
  1. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, pepper powder and garam masala and saute for a few seconds until the raw smell leaves.
Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, pepper powder and garam masala and sauté
  1. Add bite sized cooked chicken pieces and mix well. Cook it covered on a low flame for 4 to 5 minutes until the masala is well absorbed by the chicken pieces. Check it in between to make sure the masala is not sticking to the pan. Taste check for salt and add more as needed. Add chopped coriander leaves( if using)at this stage and mix well.Switch off the flame.
Add cooked chicken pieces, mix well and cook it covered
Prepare the dough:
  1. In a mixer, make a coarse mixture of grated coconut, fennel seeds and cumin seeds.
Make a coarse mixture of coconut, shallots, fennel seeds and cumin seeds
  1. In a mixing bowl, mix together rice flour, coarsely ground coconut mixture and salt using a spoon.
Add coconut mixture to rice flour and mix well
  1. Add boiling water little by little as required and mix well using a spoon to form a smooth soft dough. Rest it covered for 10 minutes.
Make a dough by adding boiling water
  1. Make small ball from dough and spread in to a circle in your hand. Apply oil on your hands to prevent sticking.
Make balls and spread it in to a circle using hands
  1. Add chicken filling in the center and seal the edges and roll in to the shape of an Unnakaya or as desired.
Add filling in the center and seal the edges
Roll in the desired shape
  1. Place it in an oil greased steamer and steam on medium flame for about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the kalmas.
Steam until well cooked
Prepare the red chilli paste:
  1. In a bowl, make a medium thick batter with 1 tbsp. red chili powder, 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder, chopped curry leaves, salt and 2tbsp water.
Make red chili paste
  1. Dip all kalmas in chilli paste and place in a plate.
Dip kalmas in chili paste
Frying chicken Kalmas:
  1. Heat 2 to 3 tbsp. oil in a frying pan and shallow fry the Kalmas on both sides until it is light brown in color. Enjoy it hot with a cup of tea:)
Shallow fry in oil on both sides


  1. This snack is a spicy snack. Adjust the red chilli powder in the filling according to your spice tolerance.
  2. While spreading dough, spread it to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. If the thickness is more, the cooked dough will be very thick. If thickness is very less, dough may break while rolling.
  3. I used about 3/4 cup boiling water to make a soft and loose dough. The dough should be loose enough to spread well with your hands.