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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mangalorean Chicken Ghee Roast

Recently caught an episode of 'Coastal Curries' hosted by the dashing chef Vikas Khanna. He happened to be in Mangalore and was sampling the famous 'Chicken ghee roast'. As usual I was so engrossed in looking at him that I missed whatever he was saying. Soft-spoken with an almost school-boy charm, the guy seems like a total misfit to me. That is till he starts to wield the ladle. I really wonder how much he works out or whether he eats any of the tantalizing dishes that he rustles up. Coming back to the dish itself, I finally had to look up the recipe on the net. I finally settled on this one posted by Ria ( Check her blog ) but made a few subtle changes based on the snatches of conversation that I had caught.

This is one of the few Mangalore dishes that I will be remembering for a long time. Sampled it for the first time at a small eatery in Hampankatta (mangalore) during my stay in the city. This along with the deep fried surmai are my favorites among all the varieties available in Mangalorean cuisine. I would rate it higher than the 'Kori Gassi- Roti' combo preferred by many folks. Ofcourse, the creamy Kori Gassi is in a class of its own but my funda happens to be 'To each his own' . The Chicken ghee roast is traditionally served with the snow white and soft 'Neer dosas' but I enjoy it with white rice, yogurt and rasam too. One word of caution. Do not be thrifty with the ghee. You can always slog it out in the gym over the next week or maybe month.

Read on for the lip-smacking recipe -

Preparation Time - 45 mins

Ingredients -

For the marinade -

  • 600 gm skinless chicken (cut into medium pieces)
  • 1/2 cup hung curd
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste

For the masala-

  • 1 tsbp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 Kashmiri red chilis
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 10-12 peppercorns
  • 10 fat garlic flakes
  • a thumbnail sized tamarind ball

Others -

  • 4 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Preparation - Wash the chicken pieces and drain out all the water. Add the other ingredients mentioned under marinade. Rub well all over the chicken pieces. Keep in the fridge for 4-6 hours or even overnight. ( I marinated the chicken for 6 hours )

Cooking - Dry roast the chilis on a pan till you get a faint smell. Remove and keep aside. Add 1/2 tsp ghee to the pan. Add coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick and peppercorns. Remove from flame once they start to release their fragrance.

Grind the roasted chillis and spices along with the garlic cloves and tamarind. Add a little water and grind again to get a smooth paste.

Heat the remaining ghee in a wok. Add the marianted chicken and fry on a medium flame till almost done ( 75-80 % ). Remove and keep aside.

Add the masala paste to the same wok and fry till the oil starts to form a separate layer ( 4-5 mins should be enough unless you have added excess water during the grinding process ). Add the fried chicken at this point and stir/toss for 2-3 mins.

Finally add 1/2 cup warm water and cover with a lid. Allow the juices to permeate the chicken. Finally when the water dries up and the chicken pieces are well coated with the masalas, add the curry leaves and corainder. Switch off flame and remove from stove.

Serve hot with Neer dosa.

Note - I am not too sure about the kind of chilis used in the original dish. I assume that one of them is Byadgi ( a Karnataka staple ) which makes for the striking color. Not sure about the other ( could be the Guntur ones ) but it is sure to be hot as the dish will almost surely set your tongue on fire. I have used the Kashmiri chillis which have a medium heat and give a nice color too. My dish was hot but tolerably so. No point in putting too much chillis and then drinking gallons of water instead of enjoying the dish. I also made a sweetened Ghee rice to go with it!!

Sorry for the bad camera work. My hands feel kinda shaky these days.


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