Chicken has been playing on my mind since a few days. K’s cousin also has been craving for some home cooked chicken. Unfortunately when K went to pick some chicken at the butchers, he gave him a very old chicken whose meat was very thready. I was so disappointed that I did not cook that meat. Both K & I do not like eating thready chicken, it turns too chewy when cooked. So had to drop chicken cooking plans for yesterday. Later in the night went over to a supermarket & picked up chicken from their meat section.
Kerala is a yummy state & beautifully charming. I always have loads to say when it comes to Kerala. Food habits change from the north to the south & a particular recipe is prepared in slightly different ways when compared between the North & South parts of this state.
When I had visited my aunt in Calicut last year, she had prepared this for lunch on one of the days. I love the Mangalorean chicken sukka, this dish is tad similar to that & has a surprise in every bite because of the different spices added to the seasoning & the ground masala.
You will lick your fingers clean if you are a coconut lover. Remember to eat the curry leaves with your chicken. They are yummy & they are good for you.
I have had this dish before in small Mallu restaurants (People from Kerala are referred to as Mallu, I mean no offence any of you Mallayali’s) & Mallu messes (Mess is a small eatery which opens up only for lunch & dinner, usually serves a complete meal which consists of a dry vegetable, on chapati, rice, dal, sambhar & rasam along with some pickle & papad. You can order additional non-veg dishes & omelette’s as sides) in & around my workplace.
Note: Traditionally, most cooking in Kerala is done using coconut oil. But if you think the amount of coconut can stop with the grated coconut , go ahead & use any cooking oil of your choice for preparing this dish. Also, traditionally boneless pieces of chicken are used in this recipe. But since we prefer chicken with bones, I prepared it with bones.
I bought an organic brand of turmeric powder, hence my dish ended up looking a little extra yellowish than brownish.
Ingredients: (Serves 3-4) Preparation Time: 30 mins (Time for marination not included)
Chicken – 750 gms, skinless & cut into small pieces, I used pieces with bones, you can use diced chicken breast as well.
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp, use the small fennel seeds rather than the bigger ones if you do not want to bite into them, these closely resemble Cumin seeds
Curry Leaves – 3 sprigs + additional for garnishing if required
Red chilli’s – 4, whole, do not break them
Whole pepper corns – 1/2 tsp – freshly ground
Garam Masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Coconut oil – 2 tbsp, else use any cooking oil of your choice
Salt to taste
For the Chicken marination:
Green chilli’s – 5,
Ginger – 1 inch piece, roughly chopped
Garlic – 8-10 cloves
For the freshly ground masala:
Shallots/ Sambhar onions – 5-6, peeled
Freshly grated Coconut – 1/2 cup
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp or more based on your tolerance
Turmeric – a pinch
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Wash & drain the chicken pieces. Marinate it with the paste made of the ingredients mentioned for the chicken marination along with some salt. Use some water to help you grind the ingredients to a coarse paste. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes. More is good.
Put together all the ingredients required for the freshly ground masala into a blender & blend them to a coarse paste. Use very little water to help you grind. You need to feel the grainy texture of the coconut in each bite..
In a deep bottom pan, heat the coconut oil. Set heat to medium. Add mustard seeds & let them splutter. Add curry leaves. Next throw in the fennel seeds. Let them sizzle. Now add the whole red chilli’s & fry them for a minute. Add the marinated chicken along with any juices left in the marination bowl. Mix well. Toss the mixture around for a minute or two. Add the freshly ground black pepper.
Now add the freshly ground masala & mix well. Season with salt. Also we want the raw flavours of the ingredients added to make the fresh coconut masala fade away. Simmer & let the chicken cook.
Note – If you want to make this as a curry, add some water when you add the coconut paste to the chicken.
The chicken will ooze out some water content present in it. When the water evaporates, add the garam masala powder. Mix well. Adjust seasoning. Check if the chicken is done. When the oil begins to separate out & the dish dries up, turns slightly brownish, its done. I wanted some moisture in the dish hence did not fry the chicken till it turned brownish.
Garnish with some additional curry leaves.
Serve as a starter or as a side along with some boiled rice & curry or along with chapatis’.
If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Chicken Stew – Kerala Style, Meen Molee/Boneless fish pieces in a fragrant Kerala style coconut curry, Prawn Pepper Fry – Kerala style, Mutton Chilli Masala…….., Alle Piyava Ghashi/Konkani style Fish curry.., etc.