Mangalore Ghee Roast Chicken

This traditional recipe comes from the kitchens of Mangalorean households. It’s origins go back to a town called Kundapur or Coondapoor in the state of Karnataka. This dry dish is a combination of succulent pieces of chicken marinated and cooked in a robust masala or spice paste cooked in rich ghee. Do not skimp on the ghee. The more you add, the tastier and more fragrant is the dish.

To marinate

• 2 lbs. Chicken

• 1 Lemon

• 1/2 cup Yogurt

• 1/2 tsp. Ginger paste

• 1/2 tsp. Garlic paste

• 1 tsp. Turmeric powder

• 4 tbsp. Kashmiri chili powder

• 1 tsp. Pepper powder

To grind to a paste

• 12-15 Garlic cloves

• 2 tbsp. Ginger

• 1 tbsp. Coriander seeds

• 1/2 tsp. Cumin seeds

• ½ tsp. Fennel seeds

• 1/2 tsp. Fenugreek seeds

• 2 tsp. Peppercorns

• 1 tsp. Cinnamon

• 4 cloves• 1 tsp. Poppy seeds

• 5-6 Cashews

• 10 Bydyagi chilis

• 1 tsp. Tamarind paste

• 3/4 cup Ghee

• 2 tsp. Brown sugar or jaggery

• 5-6 Curry leaves

• Salt to taste

Garnish

• Cilantro leaves

• 1 tbsp. Coriander powder

Method

Wash and cut chicken into bite-size pieces and marinate it in yogurt, ginger and garlic paste, coriander powder, pepper powder, chili powder, turmeric, salt and lime juice. Marinate for about 5 hours or overnight.

Heat 1 tbsp. ghee in a pan. Add to it garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, poppy seeds, cashews and Bydyagi chilis. Sauté for about 3 minute or so on a LOW flame. Add the tamarind pulp to the pan and about a cup of water. Allow the water to boil for about five minutes so that the spices soften. Cool down, grind to a fine paste in the food processor.

In heavy bottomed pan, heat a large amount of the ghee and add the curry leaves. When the air gets fragrant (make sure the leaves do not burn), add the masala paste along with 1/2 tsp. salt. Gently stir till the ghee floats to the top of the paste. This may take about 20 minutes. Add a FEW tablespoons of water to prevent the paste from sticking to the pan and getting burnt.

At the same time, in another pan, add about 1/2 tsp. ghee and the marinated chicken along with the marinade. Cover and cook till the marinade thickens.

Mix the cooked chicken with the fried masala and continue frying for about 10 minutes. Add powdered jaggery and mix well.

Please ensure that each piece of chicken is coated with a thick layer of masala by stirring constantly. Again, once you see ghee floating to the top, you’ll know it’s done.

Garnish with cilantro and sprinkle fresh coriander powder. Serve hot with rice or rotis.

Tip: Shop for ghee, Kashmiri chili powder, curry leaves (kadipatta), and jaggery (guud) at the Indian store.Chicken with bones are tastier, but hey, you do you.If you don’t want it to be too spicy, soaking the Bydyagi chilis in water for an hour removes the heat.

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