Thursday, October 24, 2013

Chicken Gassi, a Manglorean style Chicken Curry

In Mumbai, some of the seafood restaurants serve a few Mangalorean dishes typically neer dosa, gassi and sukke dishes. One of the seafood restaurants I like in Mumbai is Apoorva and they serve an awesome prawn and chicken gassi. Chicken gassi is a typical South Indian recipe in which coconut is used lavishly. Both grated coconut and coconut milk is used along with coconut oil to make this a creamy and very coconutty curry. Chicken gassi is best had with rice especially the brown rice that is predominantly used in South India. And yes, remember to cook some vegetable with coconut to go with the curry and rice.
When we were in the US, a colleague of mine told me about a restaurant that served Mangalorean cuisine in Jersey City, NJ. We visited it once and fell in love with the food they served, especially the amazing mutton sukke. But the next time we visited it had shut down, I guess they did not have many takers there.
Chicken - 800 gms
Onions - 1.5, medium
Tomatoes - 2, medium
Coconut milk - 1/2 cup
Tamarind - a small ball
Turmeric pwd - 1tsp
Red chilli pwd - 3 tbsp (Kashmiri chilli)
Curry leaves - a few sprigs
Oil - 1 tbsp
Coconut oil - 1 tbsp
Salt as per taste
for a paste
Coconut - 1/2 cup
Onion - 1.5, medium sized
Garlic - 8 to 10
Cloves - 4
Cinnamon - 2 small pieces
Coriander seeds - 4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - a generous pinch
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Peppercorns - 10
Dry red chillies - 5
for tempering
Curry leaves - 10 - 15
Coconut oil - 1 tbsp
Clean and trim the chicken pieces off all the fat and then wash it well. Put the pieces into a bowl and add a little salt and turmeric powder and mix and keep in the refrigerator an hour at least.
For the masala, heat a frying pan and dry roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, peppercorns, fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon and dry red chillies separately. Then dry roast the grated coconut till medium brown and keep aside. Add some oil into the same pan and sauté the onion and garlic till the onions turns light golden.
Add the roasted whole masalas, coconut and fried onions and garlic into a blender jar with a little water and grind to a fine paste. Keep aside.

Chop the onions and tomatoes and keep aside. Soak the tamarind ball in water and extract pulp and keep aside.
Heat a pressure cooker and add both the oils and when hot add the curry leaves and onions. Sauté till the onions are translucent then add the chicken, red chilli powder and the ground masala and sauté for a few minutes till everything is mixed well. Then add the chopped tomatoes and 1 cup water and cover and cook till almost done. I cooked it in pressure for 2 whistles. Open and add the tamarind pulp and mix well and give it one boil. Adjust the seasoning and add the coconut milk and mix in well. The curry should have a slightly thick gravy, add water if required since it continues to thicken even when taken off the gas.
For the tempering, heat the pan or small kadai and add the coconut oil, when its hot add the curry leaves and take off the heat. Stir till all leaves are coated well and pour it onto the prepared curry and cover and keep till ready to serve.
I sautéed some sliced small / sambhar onions in the oil before adding the curry leaves since I thought it would add to the taste. Its completely optional to do so.

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