Usually when I post a recipe I also blog a few snippets into my normal life or mention observations around me that pique my interest, but today I think I am going to stray off the beaten path.
This particular recipe is a traditional preparation from my beautiful home state – Kerala, on the south western tip of the country and known as the land of coconuts. In fact, Kerala is the 3rd largest producer of coconuts in the world, apart from being a perfect destination for tourism, yoga, ayurveda, folk dances and cultural festivals. Owing to the abundance of coconuts in the region, a wide range of dishes in Kerala cuisine use this fruit or drupe in some form or the other. In making this chicken curry dish, first whole spices are dry roasted, the chicken is cooked in a thick tomato and onion gravy, and then freshly ground creamy coconut paste is added to the simmering gravy. Yes it does sound tempting and I just cant wait to sit down for dinner....
Dry Roast Spices
5 - Cardamom
2 - One inch piece Cinnamon
1 Tsp - Cumin Seeds
1 Tsp - Fennel Seeds
1 - Bay Leaf
3 - Cloves
1 - Star Anise
½ Cup - Coconut
1 – Whole chicken, skinned and cut into pieces (5.5lb or 2.5Kg)
3 – Onions
2 – Tomato
1 ½ Tablespoon – Ginger, finely grated
2 Tablespoon – Garlic, finely grated
3 1/4 Tsp - Chilly powder
1 3/4 Tsp - Pepper powder
3/4 Tsp- Turmeric
2 Tsp - Coriander powder
1 Tsp – Mustard Seeds
1/8 Tsp - Fenugreek Powder (Uluva podi)
1/8 Tsp - Asafetida
1 Tablespoon - Vinegar
2 sprigs - Curry leaves
Oil (Preferably Coconut Oil)
Salt to taste
- Dry roast the Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cumin, Fennel, Bay Leave and Cloves. Take off the heat and let it cool
- Add grated coconut, dry roasted spices and some water and grind the mixture into a smooth paste and keep it aside
- Heat oil in a sauté pan and sauté the onions, garlic and ginger until the onions turn golden brown
- While the onions are getting cooked take chilly powder, pepper powder, turmeric, coriander powder, fenugreek powder, asafetida in a bowl and add some water to make it into a thick paste
- Add this to the sauteed onions and season with salt
- Add in tomatoes and saute until the tomatoes are cooked and mushy.
- Take off the heat and let it cool.
- Once cooled transfer it into a blender and grind into a smooth paste. This helps to make the gravy thick.
- While the onion-tomato mixture is cooling, add some more oil and add the mustard seeds and allow them to splutter.
- Mix in some curry leaves
- Add the chicken, the pureed onion-tomato mixture and some water and cook until the chicken is done.
- Add the coconut paste and vinegar to the chicken and cook for 5 mins
- Serve with warm Rice or Roti (Indian bread)
- Keep a close eyes on the spices while dry roasting as they can get burnt pretty quickly
- I highly recommend dry roasting the whole spices but if you are in extreme hurry you can substitute the dry roasted spices with Garam Masala
- Add water if you prefer more gravy
- If you are using tomatoes that are sour then use only one instead of two. I use Roma Tomatoes and they are usually not very sour
- Tone down the chilly powder and pepper powder if you want to reduce the heat