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Coorgi Chicken Curry

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Nestled in the Western Ghats of Karnataka in South India, beautiful Coorg is a nature lover's paradise. Scenic beauty abounds and draws thousands of tourists every year. It has been said of Coorg that it is impossible to visit it only once! Coorgi cuisine while unique in nsome aspects, is strongly influenced by South Indian cuisine in its use of ingredients and cooking methods. Delicious Coorgi Curry is a good example. It uses the popular south Indian ingredient coconut. This delicious curry is simple and wholesome and goes really well with plain boiled rice and a green salad.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg chicken drumsticks/ legs, skin removed

  • 1 tsp red chili powder

  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • A walnut-sized ball of tamarind
  • 2 X 2" pieces cinnamon

  • 10 cloves

  • 2 tsps khus-khus/ poppy seeds

  • 1 and a 1/2 cup fresh or frozen grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder

  • 2 tsps cumin powder

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves

  • 1 tbsp garlic paste

  • 1 tbsp ginger paste

  • 2 green chilies

  • 4 tbsps vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
  • 2 large onions chopped fine

  • 1 large tomato chopped fine
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

Tip: To get rid of a strong poultry smell from the chicken, put it into a large non-metallic pot or bowl. Pour 1/2 a cup of white vinegar over the chicken and mix well to coat all the chicken. Leave aside for 4-5 minutes. Now wash the chicken thoroughly under running water and use as required. It will no longer have a strong poultry smell!
  • Put the chicken pieces in a large, deep bowl and add the turmeric and red chilli powders. Mix well to coat all the chicken pieces evenly. Keep aside to marinate for half an hour.
  • Soak the tamarind in 1/2 a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Now mash the tamarind with your fingers to mix it well into the water. Strain through a sieve to extract all the pulp. Keep pulp aside.
  • Now heat a skillet on medium heat and add the cinnamon, cloves and khus-khus. Dry roast, stirring frequently, till the spices start to get fragrant. Remove from the heat, grind to a smooth paste in a food processor and keep aside for later use.
  • On the same skillet, dry roast the grated coconut till it just begins to brown. Take off from the heat and keep aside for later use.
  • Now grind (in a food processor) the roasted cinnamon, cloves and poppy seeds along with the coriander and cumin powders, fresh coriander leaves, ginger and garlic pastes and green chillies to make a fine paste. Keep aside for later use.
  • Set up a deep, heavy bottomed pot on medium heat. When hot, add the cooking oil and allow to heat. Now add the finely chopped onions and fry until they just start to turn brown.
  • Add the paste made from the spices and fresh coriander leaves, ginger and garlic pastes and green chillies, to the onions and fry until the masala starts to separate from the oil.
  • When this happens, add the finely chopped tomato and fry till it turns pulpy.
  • Add the marinated chicken pieces, salt to taste and fry till browned. Now add 2 cupa of hot water, cover and cook on low heat until the chicken is tender. Check and stir occasionally to prevent the chicken from burning.
  • When cooked, uncover the chicken, stir well and add the coconut and tamarind pulp. Cook for 7-10 minutes or until the gravy starts to thicken.
  • Turn off the heat and serve with plain boiled rice or Chapatis and a salad like Kachumbar.

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