It had been a while since I had prepared chicken this way. This is also a great way to prepare any red meat, crabs, prawns, peas or even mushroom....
During my grandma's days, the coconut paste was ground on the stone and all the spices were added whole. But now, this recipe is the shortcut version, maybe not as spectacular, but can come really close...
Most households in Kerala would have their own version of this recipe, and this is mine...
Grated coconut - 1 cup
Shallots/ cheriya ulli - 5 to 6 nos.
Pepper corns - 1/2 tsp
Cumin/ small jeera - 1/4 tsp
Saunf/ perum jeerakom - 1/4 tsp
Garlic - 3 cloves
Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Dry roast the grated coconut till it is lightly brown, keep stirring continuously, making sure it does not burn. Add the shallots and the pepper corns, both the jeeras and garlic, fry till golden. Add the coriander powder and the chilli powder at last as the stove is being switched off. Otherwise there will be a fierce bout of sneezing and watering eyes...
Let this cool and then grind well, adding about 1/2 glass of water. Keep aside.
Now, the curry
Chicken - 1 kg (cleaned and cut into small pieces)
Whole spices - 3 each of cloves, cardamom,1 inch cinnamon
Onion - 2 nos (sliced fine)
Green chillies - 3 (slit)
Ginger - 1 inch piece (sliced thin)
Curry leaves - 2 stalks (separate leaves)
Tomato - 2 (sliced thin)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Heat oil in a kadai, preferably coconut oil to make the taste as authentic 'Kerala' as possible. when hot, add the whole spices, then the onions, green chillies and ginger and saute till onions are golden brown.
Now add half of the curry leaves and the turmeric powder. Add the tomatoes and saute till the oil comes on top and the tomatoes disintegrate.
Add the prepared coconut paste. Add water according to how loose or thick you want the gravy. Add the salt now.
When the gravy is near boil, add the chicken pieces and bring to a boil. Now adjust the flame to medium or low for about 30 minutes or till the chicken is fully cooked.
Add the garam masala powder, 1 tsp of oil, and the remaining curry leaves.
A great combination with rice, chappatis, appam etc.