Coorg chicken curry

Coorg or Kodagu is one of the most beautiful places in Karnataka. Just before we moved to US, we had been to Madikeri. This has some of the breath taking sceneries with very beautiful water falls. For some reason, whenever I hear the name Madikeri, I think of the beautiful Kannada song Madikeri sipayee from film Muttina haara. As far as I remember, that was the film that gave me a glimpse of this beautiful paradise on earth. Coorg cuisine is as popular as its nature. I found this article about this cuisine in my recipe collection.

As I have mentioned many times, I don’t cook chicken very frequently. But last week we had a special guest. This person is a food blogger and one of the bloggers who has been blogging for a long time now (even though this foodblog has been hibernating for last few months). Even though I am pretty comfortable creating big menus for my guests, I get all nervous when I cook for an expert. Finally I decided to make 2 chicken dishes, one fish, one shrimp dish and some vegetarian sides, pickles, salads. Now, deciding which particular chicken dish I was going to prepare took me a very long time. I spent about 2hrs going through all my recipe collection. Since I wanted a chicken with gravy, I was almost hitting a dead end in anything I shortlisted, mainly because I knew our guests didn’t like coconut a lot – even though they had told me its perfectly fine if I cook something with coconut. It was like whatever I did, finally I would stop at this particular recipe. The name “Coorg” in the title has that effect on me. So even though it had coconut, I decided to make this. To go with this, I made yellow flavored rice. all this, I had least expected my hubby to appreciate this gravy. I was very happy when this flavored rice and gravy was a hit combination. He even asked me to make it again (considering he never says that for any chicken dishes, it was a huge compliment). As far as my guests are concerned, they loved it. So I guess I will be going back to this recipe again and again.

1/2 lb chicken pieces
1 tea spn red chili powder
1/4 tea spn turmeric powder
1/2 tea spn coriander seeds
1/4 tea spn cumin seeds
2″ piece cinnamon
4 cloves
1/2 tea spn poppy seeds
7-8 strands coriander leaves
1/2 tea spn chopped garlic
1/2 tea spn chopped ginger
2 green chilies
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup fresh/frozen coconut
1/4 tea spn tamarind extract or 2 pieces of tamarind soaked in warm water

Apply red chili powder and turmeric to chicken pieces and leave it aside.
Grind together coriander-cumin seeds, ginger-garlic, green chilies, coriander leaves, cloves, cinnamon, poppy seeds. This is called raw masala.
Roast(without oil) coconut till it turns slightly brownish. Grind it to a smooth paste.
Heat a little oil and fry onions. When they turn slightly brownish, add tomatoes and fry for sometime. Now add raw masala and fry till the raw smell goes off and a nice aroma comes out of it. Now add the chicken pieces, salt and fry for about 5mins. Add 2 cups of water, cover and cook till chicken is tender.
Add the ground coconut, tamarind extract and cook for about 7-8 mins till the curry thickens.
Serve hot. I served it with yellow flavored rice and chapathis.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 30mins

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