Bold, and spicy is what defines this chicken curry; a very aromatic dish that heavily pronounces the flavors from the south western part of India – Kolhapur; a recipe as vibrant and rich as the history of this ancient town.
Kolhapuri Chicken has always been a favorite, “give me more” kind of dish in our home; but I never did cook the real thing until one day I discovered that the well trusted “Parampara” brand chicken Kolhapuri spice mix is not in my pantry. I was all set and prepared to cook with the store bought spice mix. Well if I am set to do something, I will do it – “Parampara” or not. I went about making my own Kala masala; it was close, but not perfect as I did not have a few ingredients that the traditional spice mix uses. The Kolhapuri paste was not that difficult to do. The two homemades combined made the most delicious Kolhapuri chicken curry.
If you are missing a few ingredients from the spice mix in your pantry, do not fret. Indian cooking is very liberal and provides a very wide horizon that helps one to personalize the dish. The curry will still be sensational if not originally true. However you will definitely need the peppers, fresh cilantro, tomato and the coconut to make it “Kolhapuri”.
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Ingredients:(will serve about 6)
- 2.5 lbs chicken, skin removed and cut into 1-2″ ( Feel free to use any kind of chicken pieces)
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 tablespoons yogurt
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 2 tablespoon red chili powder (more or less)
- 2-3 tablespoons Spice Mix/Goda Masala or Kala Masala Mix (Recipe Below) – May use the store bought powder too.
For the main Sauce:
- 3 large onions, sliced into thin half moons
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced or minced
- 3″ fresh ginger, grated or thinly sliced
- 1/2 can coconut milk (about 7 oz/200ml)
- 3/4 cup oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, tender stalks and leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh or dried coconut
- 3/4 cup tomato paste + 1/2 cup water
Spice Mix (Goda Masala or Kala Masala Mix):
Light fry in oil:
- 1 tablespoon white poppy seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cumin/jeera
- 3 tablespoons coriander/dhania seeds
- 1.5 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek/methi seeds
- 1 teaspoon peppercorn
- 6 dry red chilli pepper (more or less as per your spice tolerance)
- 4 cloves
- 4 small green cardamom
- 2″ cinnamon stick
- A pinch of hing/asafoetida
- 2 tablespoons dried coconut
- 1 teaspoon sesame seed
Preparing the Spice Mix/Goda or Kala Masala mix:
Heat very little oil in a pan and very lightly fry the ingredients mentioned in the “Light Fry”at low heat for a couple of minutes. Switch off the heat when they get fragrant. Do take care and watch like a hawk, for they will burn very quick.
Dry roast the coconut and sesame seeds for a couple of minutes, till the coconut is very light brown.
Blend in a spice grinder or coffee grinder all the ingredients of the “light fry” and “dry roast” in a powder.
Note: This spice mix is not exactly the kala/goda masala mix. I did not have all the ingredients that the authentic mix asks for; this was pretty close. If you do not have all the ingredients, just skip them. The taste of the curry might vary a bit but it is still going to be good if not 100% traditional.
Marinate chicken with yogurt, turmeric, salt, chili powder and spice mix for at least an hour (I left mine overnight).
Cooking the curry:
Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and brown them in the heated oil on both sides. they should be light brown; does not need to be evenly brown. Save the marinade.
Remove the chicken pieces and save the leftover oil.
Making the Sauce/Kolhapuri sauce
Heat 3/4 cup oil and fry the onions, ginger, garlic, sugar and salt till the onions are brown and starts to caramelize. Switch off the heat and transfer half of the onion mix from the pan to a blender or food processor along with the fresh cilantro, coconut, tomato paste, water and the left over marinade and blend till smooth.
In the remaining half of the fried onions in the pan, add the chicken and toss them and cook them for about 10 minutes at medium to high heat. If the spices stick at the bottom of the pan, do not worry. Just sprinkle some water and scrape it off .
Add half of the mix from the blender to the chicken and the leftover oil from frying the chicken if you have any) in the pan and stir everything gently. Cook/simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes at medium to high heat. When you see the sauce reducing pour out the rest of the blended ingredients in to the pan. Gently stir everything together for them to combine. Cover and cook at low to medium heat till the chicken pieces are tender.
Uncover and increase the heat. Add the coconut milk. Cook till the oil separates (you will see the sauce sizzling and bubbling and the little wells of oil on the sides and the top layer) for about 15 minutes. There should a considerable amount of sauce/gravy left; it is going to be a thick sauce which readily coats a spoon.
The flavor of this dish matures with time. Let it sit overnight if you can before you serve it.
Serve hot with Basmati rice or Indian Flat Breads.
Spicy, robust and delicious. This is the kind of recipe that will make the aroma waft and dance around your home and linger in air, and the taste that makes you want more and go back and cook it again in a few days time… if you enjoy Indian food and strong flavors, this is for you.
Now for the Culinary Olympics 2010 at the BloggerAid-CFF…
This delicious Chicken Curry from India is my entry for the BloggerAid-CFF – Culinary Olympics.Exotic spices, bold flavors, rich and spicy is what generally defines a “Curry“. Here is Curry demystified… read all about it! We might not be athletes, but our “SPORT is FOOD” as Giz and Val puts it. So let us all participate and show the national pride in our own countries and cuisines.
Bloggers from all over the world joined together to create the beautiful BloggerAid Cookbook, bringing the world a little bit closer to each other. The book can be purchased at CreateSpace. Buy it for yourself for a treasure in your kitchen library or for a gift for your dear friends and family.