Mangalore, the coastal town of South Karnataka is situated where the river Nethravathi meets the Arabian Sea. This ‘meeting point’ or ‘Koodala’, as it is called in Kannada (one of the local languages of Mangalore) is believed to be the reason why Mangalore is also known as ‘Kudla’ amongst the local people. ‘Kodial’ is another local variation of the same name. Every Mangalorean is proud to be associated with one of India’s most beautiful coastal places. The virgin beaches and coconut groves easily remind one of Goa and Kerala – well Mangalore is similar because it lies along the same coast as these two States and has been bestowed abundantly with nature’s bounty. Those who come to Mangalore instantly fall in love with this place and adapt themselves to it in many ways, taking back with them its rich culture, heritage and cuisine.
Chicken - 1 kg (with bones)
Onion - 1 medium sized, finely sliced
Coconut milk - extract 2 cups thin milk and 1 cup thick milk * see note#1 for substitute
Cinnamon stick 1"
Cardamom - 1, slightly bruised
Coves - 2
Salt to taste
Short red chillies 2, * see note#2
Long red chillies - 2, * see note#2
Coriander seeds - 1 1/2 tbsps
Peppercorns - 1 tsp, * see note#2
Fenugreek seeds / methi - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds/jeera - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/8th tsp
Garlic - 8-9 flakes (Indian garlic) with skin
Onion - 1 medium sized, sliced
Tamarind - 1/2 lime sized ball
Coconut - 1/2 (or 1 cup grated coconut)
Ghee - 2 tbsp ghee (or oil)
Onion - 1 medium sized, finely sliced
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Cut the chicken into medium sized pieces, wash and allow to drain on a colander.
In a heavy bottomed pan/kadhai heat 2 tbsp ghee or oil and roast the red chillies, coriander seeds, peppercorns, fenugreek seeds & cumin seeds one by one. Each of them should be roasted on a slow flame for a few seconds until you get a nice aroma * see note # 3
Next fry the onion and garlic and remove and add the coconut, turmeric powder and tamarind to the same pan, roast and remove.
Grind all the roasted ingredients to a fine paste using a little water. Reserve the masala water.
In the same pan add the ground masala and the sliced onion. Mix and add the thin coconut milk. Leave the pan uncovered & bring the curry to a boil, add the chicken pieces and salt to taste. Cover the pan now and cook the chicken till tender on a medium flame. When the chicken is cooked, simmer and add the thick coconut milk and bring it to boil for just a couple of seconds. Turn off the flame.
In a smaller pan, heat the ghee for seasoning and toss in the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pod and the sliced onion, fry till golden brown and add this to the curry. Cover the pan immediately to trap the aroma of the seasoning.
Serve hot with crispy rice Rotti - let the curry soak up the rotti a bit before you eat it. Alternatively, you can serve the curry with rice, pan polay (neer dosa), appams, sanna, mutlim (rice dumplings), polay (dosa) or chapathi.
1. A large coconut yields approximately 2 cups thin milk & 1 cup thick milk. Here's how to do it & the substitute for it. If you do not wish to use coconut milk in your curry just use 1-1/4 cups of grated coconut instead of 1/2 cup and skip the coconut milk altogether. But you may need to adjust the spice a bit here.
Extracting fresh coconut milk
Grate the flesh of one coconut and transfer it to a mixer grinder. Add about 1/2 cup of warm water and pulse the mixer grinder for a few seconds.
Line a bowl with cheese/muslin cloth and transfer the ground coconut into it. Cover the cloth into a bundle and squeeze to extract thick milk. Keep aside
Add a little water (depending on how much thin milk you desire) and repeat process. This is the thin milk.
Preparing coconut milk from coconut milk powder (I use Maggi)
To make approx 2 cups thin milk - Dissolve 6 tbsp coconut milk powder in 1-1/2 cups warm water
To make approx 1 cup thick milk - Dissolve 6 tbsp coconut milk powder in 3/4th cup warm water
2. Mangaloreans, especially Bunts use short red chillies which are also called as Harekala chillies - these are quite spicy. The long dry chillies that are used are called the Byadge/Bedgi chillies. You may use a combination of both or just use the Bedgi variety. To reduce the spice adjust the quantity of peppercorns and use the chillies partially deseeded. For a mildly spicy curry you can use Kashmiri chillies. The original recipe asked for 22 chillies & 1 tsp peppercorns. I reduced them to 15 chillies and 1/2 tsp peppercorns which yielded a medium spicy curry. A lot of the spice gets balanced out when the coconut milk is added, so please use your judgement here.
3.While roasting the spices take care to ensure that they don't burn or turn black - this will lend a bitter taste to the curry which is avoidable. Ensure that roasting is done in a good quality heavy pan.