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Chicken Coconut Chettinad
India - Tamil Nadu - kozhi varatha kosambu
A flavorful curry from Tamil Nadu, the southern tip of India. I make it
more liquid than they might in India because for me it's not just an item
on the thali, it's a main dish with rice so I like a little more sauce.
This recipe can be prepared even a day ahead up to adding curry leaves and
lime juice. Note that chicken is very expensive in India and generally
reserved for special occasions.
Chicken meat (1)
Coconut, fresh (2)
Poppy Seeds (3)
Cinnamon Stick (4)
Garam Masala (5)
Chili Powder (6)
Curry Leaves (7)
PREP - (40 min)
RUN - (1 hr)
- Cut CHICKEN into bite size pieces.
- Prepare your COCONUT as needed. Run in a Mini-Prep food
processor or grate fine by some other means.
- Dry fry POPPY SEEDS until lightly browned. Crush in a mortar
and moisten to a paste with a few drops of water.
- Grind SPICES to powder in a spice grinder. Mix together
with Poppy Seeds and Coconut.
- Chop ONION fine.
- Scald TOMATOES 1 minute in boiling wate, quench in cold
water, peel and chop small.
- Crush GARLIC and chop fine. Slice GINGER very thin and
chop fine. Mix.
- Squeeze Lime Juice.
- In a spacious sauté pan, heat Oil and fry Onions
stirring until golden.
- Stir in Garlic mix and fry stirring for another minute or so,
then stir in Star Anise, Chili Powder, Coconut mix,
Salt and 2/3 c Water. Cook stirring for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in Chicken and fry stirring for a few minutes until well
coated. Stir in Tomatoes and cook stirring often until water has
evaporated and the pan starts to fry. Stir in 1 cup of water and simmer
covered until Chicken is tender, about 25 minutes.
- Stir in Curry Leaves for a couple of minutes, then stir in
Lime Juice and take off the heat.
- Serve hot with plenty of Jasmine rice.
- Chicken: Weight given is for skinless
boneless chicken meat - I prefer thigh meat for flavor. Chicken is always
stripped of skin and all removable fat for Indian recipes (except tandoor).
In Tamil Nadu the chicken is cut small but still on the bone. Legs cut
crosswise would work well if you want bone in (use a sharp Chinese cleaver
driven by a soft faced mallet).
- Coconut: Use an actual coconut if at all
possible, I prefer a fresh (white) coconut because the sauce will be less
gritty than with a brown coconut. If you must use dried grated Coconut
(unsweetened) soak it for 1/2 hour in just as much warm water as it will
absorb. Weigh out the needed amount after soaking. For details see our
- Poppy Seeds: In India white poppy seeds
are always used (available in Indian markets or on the Internet). Black
seeds will work, but it's rather hard to tell when they've been fried just
enough. This is a thickener and doesn't much affect the flavor.
- Cinnamon Use real cinnamon if at all
possible. American "cinnamon" is actually cassia bark which is thick
and hard. Real cinnamon can be found among Mexican spices - the bark
is very thin. Real cinnamon originated in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), just south
of Tamil Nadu.
- Garam Masala: This should be a southern
masala if at all possible. See our recipe
Garam Masala - Tamil Nadu.
- Chili Powder: Reshampatti would be right
for this recipe, but others can be used depending on how hot you want
this dish. The given amount of Reshampatti makes for a noticeably spicy
dish. For details see our Indian Chilis
- Curry Leaves: There is no substitute, and
dried are rather inferior. Fortunately production has been ramped up
in North America and fresh leaves are now available in most Indian
markets and on the Internet - but use caution, some people don't like
the resinous taste. For details see our
Curry Leaf page.
- U.S. measure: t=teaspoon,
T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce,
#=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required
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