After all the bingeing and festivities all you crave for is a bowl of something warm and comforting. In such cases, it is usually a bowl of dal-rice topped with some pickle or maybe some piping hot khichdi that does it for me. But if I’m in the mood for something a little more elaborate, I usually make some chicken curry and rice. We typically eat this with some simple salad, most often it is sliced onions soaked in vinegar or sirke wale pyaaz, to make it a complete meal. And of course, some dahi to go with it.
If you look for a recipe of Mangalorean chicken curry online, chances are that you’ll find dozens of versions. It is difficult to say which one is ‘authentic’ and which isn’t but, what I can tell you is that, after having tried a good number of variations of this curry, each of them are delicious!
While the recipe for this chicken curry is super-simple and what makes it such a favourite is that it has some lovely, nutty flavours that stand out. It is also really easy to make because the ingredients are what will be available in any pantry. The coconut milk is an essential component of this dish, which gives it the Mangalorean touch, but beyond that it also helps tie in the spices with the meat to give it a sort of mellowness that spells comfort.
Mangalorean chicken curry
This recipe is good for 3-4 people, you can adjust the quantities as per the number of people you’re cooking for
750 gms of chicken, skinless, cleaned and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
For the marinade
2 tbsp of ginger-garlic paste
1 tbsp of curd/yogurt/dahi
Salt to taste
Take a sharp knife and make cuts on the surface of the chicken. This helps the flavours of the marinade and gravy seep in.
Mix the ingredients of the marinade together to make a thick paste. Coat the chicken with this and marinate for a minimum of half hour going up to 2-3hours. If you have time you can put the marinated chicken in a ziplock bag, freeze it and then take it out to use when you need to make the curry.
For the gravy
1 tsp of coriander seeds (sabut dhania)
1 tsp of cumin seeds (jeera)
2 grains of methi
4-5 Bydagi (pronounced bed-gi) chillies
1 onion, sliced finely
1 large tomato, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp of mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves, torn
1 cup of thin coconut milk
2 tbsp of coriander leaves, chopped
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a pan and add the dry spices – red chillies, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, methi – to it. Let it roast until it releases the aroma. Now add the onions and stir it around a bit. Next, add the garlic to this and keep sauteeing until it has all turned a light shade of golden brown.
Add the chopped tomatoes, some turmeric powder and a little bit of salt. Cook until the tomatoes are soft. Allow the mixture to cool down until it reaches room temperature and then grind into a smooth paste. Keep it aside for a while.
In the same pan, without adding any more oil, add the mustard seeds when the pan is slightly hot. Follow this with the curry leaves. Now add the marinated chicken to this and quickly stir it around to sear the chicken.
Next the ground masala/paste goes in, make sure you mix it well to coat the chicken pieces well. Add some water at this stage as the entire preparation will be a little dry. About 1/2-1 cup of water should do. Mix it well. Cover and let it cook on a medium flame for about 15 minutes.
Remove the lid and check if the chicken is done. If it is not, then cover and let it cook some more. If it is done then add the coconut milk, simmer for another two minutes, give it a quick stir, check the seasoning and switch off the flame. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or rotis.
*If you want to eliminate the coconut milk then add a couple of cashews while roasting the dry spices. This will help give it some thickness
*You can also add some freshly grated coconut while roasting this spices. This will give the curry a more nutty edge
*This gravy is versatile, you can make a large batch and freeze it. Add boiled eggs to make a quick egg curry. Or some soya chunks, mushroom or even some baby corn if you want to go vegetarian