First off, here is a confession. I have for some strange reason always used the formula of putting up a post when I have a recipe AND a story to back it up because that is the formula that seems to have worked for me the most. More often than not, I find myself with ready recipes (because I cook for a living now) but without a story I find worth telling. So, I always end up putting the post off for later. The end result being, the recipes remain forever pending because stories are not things that can be conjured in the blink of an eye; at least not for me. So, here’s me, deciding to take a step in another direction. I have no story to tell today, but what I do have is this recipe which I came up with last week and instantly fell in love with; a recipe that is going to be a staple in my kitchen; a recipe that had me licking my plate clean both the times I tested it.
This is a hearty chicken curry with some strong North Kerala undertones. The main players in this recipe are coconut, ginger, garlic and green chilies and it may nudge your fancy to know that there is absolutely no red chili powder used in this dish. So, here you go.
Things you will need:
- Chicken- 500 grams (preferably on the bone. But if you must get the boneless variety, get chicken thighs)
- Grated coconut/ full fat desiccated coconut- 3 tablespoons/ quarter cup
- Onions- 2 medium sized, chopped finely
- Tomatoes- 2 small, chopped
- Green cardamom- 3 pods
- Turmeric powder- 1/2 teaspoon
- Coriander powder- 3 heaped tablespoons
- Ginger- 1 inch stick
- Garlic- 8-10 large pods
- Green chilies- 6-7
- Coconut milk (thick)- 200 ml
- Cooking oil (I prefer coconut oil)
- Curry leaves- 2 sprigs
- Water- half cup
How to go about it:
- First, grind the ginger, garlic and green chilies to make a coarse paste. Keep it aside. Next, grind the grated coconut with two tablespoons of water (more if using the desiccated variety) and grind very well into a smooth paste. Keep that aside.
- Next, heat (medium heat) two tablespoons of cooking oil in a heavy bottomed wok. Add the cardamom pods and fry for for a minute. Add the chopped onions and saute till they turn nice and brown. Make sure you stay patient and get the onions brown as this is crucial for this recipe. Adding salt to the onions while you saute them helps in getting them to brown faster.
- Once the onions are brown, add the ginger, garlic and green chili paste. Saute for a minute. Next, add the chopped tomatoes, mix well and keep the wok closed for a minute or until the tomatoes soften. Once soft, saute the mixture well for another two to three minutes. Next, add the turmeric and coriander powders and mix well and keep stirring until the oil starts to leave the sides of the mixture.
- At this point, add the coconut paste and keep mixing for another minute. Add the chicken pieces and curry leaves. Mix well and keep frying the chicken till it loses the pink and starts to seal in the masala.
- Add half a cup of water, mix well and keep wok closed for another four to five minutes. Next, add the thick coconut milk, mix well, and let the curry simmer on low heat (with the wok closed) till the chicken is cooked and the meat begins to fall off the bone. Stir once in a while to make sure the curry doesn’t stick to the bottom of the wok.
- Once the curry achieves a nice, thick consistency, adjust the salt, turn off the heat, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot. Goes amazingly well with rice, appams, idiyappams and chapatis.
- Dig in!