This recipe is reminiscent of all the meals I’ve had from the roadside shacks of my hometown. The thattukadas. This is not your best bet if you’re looking for a healthy recipe as we use lavish amounts of oil here. The key to perfecting this recipe lies in the way you adjust the heat throughout the process.
Things you will need:
- Chicken on the bone, cut into medium to small pieces- 500 grams (make a few lines on the pieces with a sharp knife.)
- Kashmiri red chilli powder- 1 tablespoon
- Turmeric powder- ½ teaspoon
- Lime juice- 1 teaspoon
- Coconut oil for best results. Regular cooking oil like rapeseed oil etc works too. You need to be a little lavish with the oil for this recipe.
- Curry leaves- 2 sprigs
(for this recipe, it’s important to keep this paste coarse. Don’t grind it all together to make a smooth paste as this will affect the end product. The brazen flavours and little bites of ginger and garlic give this recipe its soul. It’s the imperfections that make this dish perfect.)
- Dried red chillies, the big variety. Not bird’s eye chillies)- 12-15 (bump it up if you like it hotter) You can substitute this with ready made chilli flakes. Use 1.5-2 tablespoons BUT do not grind it. Add in after you make the coarse paste out of the rest of the ingredients given below.
- Shallots- 6-7 (if you don’t have shallots, use half of a medium sized red onion.)
- Ginger- 1 inch stick
- Garlic- 8-10 cloves if you’re using the regular variety. 4-5 cloves if using the large variety.
- Fennel seeds- 1.5 tsp
- Whole black peppercorns- 1.5- 2 teaspoons
How to go about it:
- First, rub the clean and lined pieces of chicken with the Kashmiri red chilli powder, turmeric, lime juice and salt to taste. Keep in the fridge while you do the rest.
- Next, make a COARSE paste out of the ingredients listed under “to grind.” DO NOT add the chilli flakes if that is what you’re using. Instead, make the paste out of the rest of the ingredients and just mix in the chilli flakes after.
- Add this marinade to the chicken kept aside. Mix it all up well with your hand for best results. Check the salt again. Add more if needed. Allow the chicken to marinate in the fridge for an hour.
- When ready to fry the chicken, heat a little more than quarter cup coconut oil in a wok or deep pan. Medium to high heat. Add the curry leaves. Wait for about 20 seconds for the flavour to infuse into the oil.
- Next, place the chicken pieces along with the marinade coating the pieces in the hot oil. Don’t over crowd the wok. You can always fry the whole thing in two or more batches. Reduce the heat to a low and cover the wok. Allow the chicken to cook for 12-15 minutes or until the chicken is almost cooked checking once or twice in between and moving the pieces around to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
- Once the chicken is almost cooked and the meat begins to fall off the bone, increase the heat and fry it all up well. Add more oil at this point if needed. Fry the chicken till the chicken is completely cooked and the masala is a deep brown. Don’t wait until it’s completely black. It tastes best when it’s at a point right before it turns black. Again, a couple of attempts will help you perfect this 🙂 Get the chicken pieces out along with the fried masala and place it all in a dish lined with paper napkins.
- Serve hot with chapati or dosas or ghee rice with crisp slices of red onions. Make sure you help yourself to the fried masala and curry leaf bits. It’s the absolute best!