Serving
(click to enlarge)

Chicken Coconut Chettinad
India - Tamil Nadu
  -   kozhi varatha kosambu
Serves:
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
2 main  
***
2 hrs  
Most

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.



1-1/4
4
1
------
1/2
1
2
2
1/3
1/3
------
5
14
2
1/4
2
3
1/3
1/2
1/2
2/3
1
5
------
#
oz
t
---
t
in


t
t
---
oz
oz
cl
in
t
T

T
t
T
c

---
Chicken meat (1)  
Coconut, fresh (2)  
Poppy Seeds (3)
-- Spices
Fennel Seed
Cinnamon Stick (4)
Cardamom, green
Cloves
Turmeric
Garam Masala (5)
---------
Onion
Tomatoes
Garlic
Ginger Root
Lime Juice
Oil
Star Anise
Chili Powder (6)
Salt
Water
Water (more)
Curry Leaves (7)
-- Garnish
Cilantro Leaves
PREP   -   (40 min)
  1. Cut CHICKEN into bite size pieces.
  2. Prepare your COCONUT as needed. Run in a Mini-Prep food processor or grate fine by some other means.
  3. Dry fry POPPY SEEDS until lightly browned. Crush in a mortar and moisten to a paste with a few drops of water.
  4. Grind SPICES to powder in a spice grinder. Mix together with Poppy Seeds and Coconut.
  5. Chop ONION fine.
  6. Scald TOMATOES 1 minute in boiling wate, quench in cold water, peel and chop small.
  7. Crush GARLIC and chop fine. Slice GINGER very thin and chop fine. Mix.
  8. Squeeze Lime Juice.
RUN   -   (1 hr)
  1. In a spacious sauté pan, heat Oil and fry Onions stirring until golden.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Stir in Curry Leaves for a couple of minutes, then stir in Lime Juice and take off the heat.
  5. Serve hot with plenty of Jasmine rice.
NOTES:
  1. 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).
  2. 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 Coconuts page.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Garam Masala:   This should be a southern masala if at all possible. See our recipe Garam Masala - Tamil Nadu.
  6. 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 page.
  7. 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.
  8. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste

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