At Coconut Lunch Box in a Canoga Park strip mall, owner Abhilash Kurian serves fiery Indian cuisine from his home state of Kerala. He replaced short-lived Biryani Hut, a rare Sri Lankan restaurant, and while I’ll miss the previous tenant’s aromatic biryani, I’m pretty excited about a great Kerala combo from Coconut Lunch Box’s powerhouse menu.
Chicken Pepper Fry ($9.99) is a spicy curry loaded with what must have been two full chicken breasts. Bite-sized chunks are stir-fried with onions and black pepper powder. Steamed white rice is a natural pairing, to help put out the culinary fire in your mouth, but I’d suggest Kerala Perotta ($2.25). This flaky, pull-apart, roti-like bread is coiled and crisped at the edges. I spooned tender chicken on the bread, rolled it up like a burrito, and ate ravenously. My only regret is not ordering more perotta, since the quantity of chicken far outpaced bread and my last bites were pure fire.