It was just one of those days. I did not have many ingredients in the fridge and wasn’t in the mood to go out and buy them. I just wanted to improvise a quick chicken curry to go with a packet of kori rotti I had bought the previous day. I found the following traditional kunkdachi kadi (chicken curry) in an old recipe book that has been lying around our house for years and modified it slightly. The result was a delicious chicken curry that goes well with kori rotti, neeru dosa, or ghee rice.
750gms chicken cut into small pieces
Half a coconut grated
10 dry red chillies (I used a mixture of short and long chillies)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
5 – 6 grains of black pepper
1 marble-sized ball of tamarind
Half teaspoon turmeric powder
1 medium-sized onion
How I made the chicken curry
- I roasted the dry chillies, pepper, cumin seeds, and coriander seeds and ground them to a fine paste with the turmeric, tamarind, and one-fourth of the grated coconut.
- I squeezed the milk out of the rest of the grated coconut.
3. If you are a Konkani speaker, you might have heard the phrase “vaan dulle udak.” Of course, we no longer use the “vaan” to grind masalas thanks to the availability of mixers and grinders. But we still haven’t forgotten the concept of “vaan dulle udak.” I transferred the masala into a bowl and put some clean water into the mixie jar. I closed the mixie jar, gave the water a good shake, and boiled the chicken pieces in this water. You need to add some salt while boiling the chicken.
4. When the chicken was boiling, I fine chopped a medium-sized onion.
5. I poured some coconut oil into a large vessel and added the onion to it when it was hot enough.
6. I fried the onion till the aroma began spreading all over the house and then added to it the boiled chicken along with the liquid portion.
7. After giving it a good stir, I added the ground masala and enough water to give me a not-so-thick, but not-so-thin gravy. I added enough salt to taste.
8. I made sure that the chicken was well-cooked, soft, and tender before adding the coconut milk to the gravy.
9. All that the gravy now needed was a little salt.
The result was delicious chicken curry, cooked the traditional way.
- Those of you who are addicted to the flavours of coriander leaves, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, tomatoes, and cloves may find this curry a bit bland.
- On the contrary, if you are fed up of gravies based on ginger-garlic paste, onion, and tomato puree will love the simplicity of this curry.
- Take care not to burn the spices while dry roasting them.
- Do not boil the gravy too much after adding the coconut milk to it. Add the coconut milk slowly, a little at a time, and keep stirring as you do so.
- You are free to add as many chillies and pepper grains as your tongue can handle.
- How to squeeze the milk out of the coconut: Everybody has his/her own style of doing it. I just grind the coconut with some water and squeeze out the juice in a good old strainer. You can use a cloth strainer too.
- You can have your chicken curry with anything you like, although I strongly recommend neeru dosa, kori rotti, or ghee rice.
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