Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Karaikudi Kozhi Kulambu - Karaikudi Chicken Curry

Ever since this Chettinad style restaurant opened up near my office it has become a popular spot for all the Indians and by extension the other folks in the office as well. The kids are becoming fans of the food as well. One day we made a list for takeout and then felt lazy to drive out and decided against it, but the Karaikudi kozhi kulambu that was on the list kept coming into my head at all times. I had to put an end to the misery.

Anyway there was no drama involved when I bought home chicken to make the aforementioned Karikudi chicken kulambu. Very simple in terms of what was needed. Most were items we readily have on hand other than the spice called kalpasi in Tamil or by its English name Parmotrema perlatum or Dagad Phool in Hindi. It is a spice that is commonly used in Chettinad cuisine. I have never seen it or used it, so left that out. The other spice that I cannot imagine not having in a chettinad non-veg dish is poppy seeds or kasa kasa as it is called in Tamil, so I added that in. Otherwise I tried to follow the steps mentioned in this video I consulted for the recipe.

Without further delay shall we proceed to the recipe?

I generally use chicken thighs but anything really would work. If you are vegetarian cauliflower, potatoes or even raw banana will be fantastic in this recipe.

Roast the spices first, followed by the ginger, garlic and coconut and set it aside.
Blend the spices to a smooth paste with a few tbsp of water and set it aside. Now heat a wide mouthed pan and heat oil and add the seasonings.
Saute the onions till they start to turn brown, add in the tomatoes and let it get mushy.
Add in the chicken and give a good mix and add in the spice powders and mix it in.
Add the blended masala paste and water if required, cover with a lid and cook till it reaches the desired consistency. Check for salt.
Open the lid and cook more if required to make the curry thicker.

The curry tastes great with steamed rice or any of the India breads - chapathi, naan, paratha or naan.

Recipe Source: Karaikudi Kohli Curry
Karaikudi Kozhi Kulambu - Karaikudi Chicken Curry
Preparation Time:20 minutes
Cooking Time:30-40 minutes
  1. 1 1/2 lbs of chicken thighs bone in and cut into bite sized pieces
  2. 2 cups of onions in small dice
  3. 1 cup of finely diced ripe tomatoes
  4. 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
  5. 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
  6. 1/2 tbsp red chili powder (the masala has chilies so be careful here)
  7. seasonings: cumin seeds, fennel seeds, bay leaf and mustard seeds
  8. 2 -3 tsp oil
  9. salt to taste
  10. For the Masala
  11. 6-8 cloves of garlic chopped
  12. 2 inch piece of ginger chopped
  13. 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  14. 2 tsp cumin seeds
  15. 1 inch piece of cinnamon
  16. 2 tsp poppy seeds
  17. 6-10 cloves
  18. 1 tsp pepper corn
  19. 6-8 red chilies
  20. 1 star Anise
  21. 1 tsp kalpasi (I left this out)
  22. 3 tbsp coconut

  1. Wash the chicken and marinate with turmeric, salt and oil and let it sit till the masala and spices are ready.
  2. In a saute heat oil and roast the whole spices - coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves, pepper corn, red chilies and star anise. When they start to turn color and set them aside.
  3. Add in the ginger and garlic and let saute till it starts to brown. Now add the coconut and poppy seeds and saute for a couple of minutes more.
  4. Transfer the whole spices and the ginger,garlic and coconut and if required add a couple of tbsp of water and blend to a smooth paste and set it aside.
  5. In a wide mouthed pan (or kadai) add the rest of the oil and when hot add the seasonings - cumin, fennel, bay leaf and mustard seeds and when the mustard seeds start to pop add the onions and saute till they are nice and browned.
  6. Add in the tomatoes and saute till they are cooked well and mushy.
  7. Add the chicken pieces and saute for 5-8 minutes. Then add the coriander, turmeric and chili powder and mix it in.
  8. Now add the masala paste with about 1/2 cup of water if you require a gravy like dish else leave it out.
  9. Mix in the masala and close the lid and cook for a about 10 minutes. Add salt and continue if you want the gravy to thicken a bit more.

Serve with rice or any type of bread.

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