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Kundapur Style Chicken Ghee Roast

This has been one recipe which I have been wanting to do for a while now. I was first introduced to Chicken Ghee Roast in a restaurant called Kanua in Bangalore. It was “love at first bite”. The Chicken Ghee Roast along with Neer Dosas were a match made in heaven. We were so fond of this that Kanua became a regular lunch/dinner place for us till we moved out of Bangalore. But even after moving out, I remember that once on my way to Kolkata, I had a couple of hours of layover in Bangalore around noon time. I took a cab from the airport all the way till Kanua (and that wasn’t a small distance) to have my lunch there and also pack some Chicken Ghee Roast for hubby dear.

It took a while for me to perfect my Neer Dosas. So obviously the next step was to try my hand at the Ghee Roast. When I thought I was close enough, I saw a post from my friend Jacksy Verghese that he had perfected the recipe for the Kundapura Style Chicken Ghee Roast in the same way as it was presented by Rajesh Pai in his restaurant Kanua. I tried out his recipe the following day and I was not surprised at all – what Jacksy had said was absolutely right. He had in fact nailed the Chicken Ghee Roast recipe. Then came the next step – I called up Jacksy and asked if he could be a guest at FoodTokWithSherin and present his recipe. He immediately agreed. After multiple reschedules, we finally managed to fix a date which worked for both of us and did this shoot. Do try this recipe out and let us know your feedback. It will surely tickle your taste buds!

Few things to keep in mind

  • Marination Time: We have figured through multiple trials that best results are when chicken is marinated overnight. Even upto 24 hours is good. This makes the chicken really soft once cooked and it absorbs the flavours better. If you are really hard pressed for time, marinate it for atleast 1-2 hours.
  • Chicken: The thigh pieces of chicken with bone in gives the best flavours. I have tried this recipe with boneless pieces too. The difference is primarily in the juiciness of the chicken pieces.
  • Tamarind: The recipe calls for Malabar Tamarind. That gives a slight smoky taste and a different kind of sourness to the dish. However, if you do not have that, you can use the regular tamarind too.
  • Chillies: The combination of Byadgi and Guntur chillies and their balance is what make this preparation extra delicious. It is recommended to remove the seeds from the chillies to control the spice levels.
  • Ghee: Well, it is Chicken Ghee Roast, so you should not skimp on the ghee is all I would say..:)
  • Fine Paste: There is a fine paste which is made in this recipe. You can prepare this in advance in bulk and freeze it too, to be used later whenever you want to prepare the recipe. It just cuts down on the process time.

Recipe

Ingredient List

For the marination

  • Chicken – 300 gms (thigh pieces with bones work best for this recipe)
  • Curd – 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp
  • Kashmiri Chilli Powder – ½ tbsp
  • Lime Juice – ¼ of a lime
  • Salt – a pinch

For making the fine paste

  • Dried Byadgi Chilies (Seedless) – 7-8
  • Dried Guntur Chilies (Seedless) – 2-3
  • Mustard Seeds – ¼ tsp
  • Fenugreek (Methi) Seeds – ¼ tsp
  • Coriander Seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Black Pepper – ¾ tsp
  • Jeera – ½ tsp
  • Garlic – 7-8 cloves, crushed
  • Tamarind water (From Kudampuli / Malabar Tamarind) – 1-2 marble size pieces of tamarind soaked in some hot water

For making the coarse paste

  • Byadgi Chilies (Seedless) – 5, soaked in some warm water

Remaining Ingredients

  • Curry Leaves – 7-8
  • Jaggery – ½ tsp
  • Lime Juice – ¼ of a lime
  • Salt – to taste
  • Ghee

Step by Step Process

  1. Add the chicken pieces along with all the ingredients for marination into a bowl. Mix it well so that the marinade coats the chicken pieces well. Cover it and keep it refrigerated overnight. If you do not have time, marinate it for atleast 2 hours. (See Recipe Notes above for what time works best for marination).
  2. For making the fine paste, heat a pan and first add the chilies. Fry them till fragrant, taking care not to burn them. Add the remaining ingredients, except the tamarind water and the garlic.
  3. Fry the dry spices till you get the fragrance of the chilies infused with the spices. Take it off heat and let it cool down a bit.
  4. Add them to your mixer jar and grind to a coarse powder form. Next add the garlic and just enough tamarind water to grind this to a paste form. Make sure it is a thick paste and not watery.
  5. Take the chilies soaked in water for the coarse paste and grind it coarse. It just needs to be pulsed once or twice to reach a coarse paste stage. Take care not to grind this fine. Heat 1/2 tbsp of ghee in a pan and fry this coarse chilli paste till it turns bright red in color. Take this off heat and keep it aside.
  6. Add about 2 tbsp of ghee in a pan / kadai and add the marinated chicken to it. Cook for about 10 min and continue stirring till the ghee and chicken marinade are well mixed. The chicken should be cooked through by this time.
  7. Remove the chicken pieces alone from the pan and keep it aside. Leave whatever marinade is there in the pan.
  8. Add another tablespoon of ghee to the pan with the leftover chicken marinade and let it heat up. Add the fine paste prepared earlier to this and fry it, stirring continuously, till the ghee starts separating from the paste and the paste is aromatic.
  9. Add the chicken back to the pan and continue mixing, so that the paste coats the chicken well.
  10. Continue stirring and add the jaggery, curry leaves, lime juice and salt as per taste. Stir for another 10 min and then add the coarse paste to the pan along with another one tbsp of ghee.
  11. Cook this, while stirring continuously, till the chicken and paste have a nice reddish-brown color. This usually takes another 5-10 min of stirring. You can add more ghee to this too which makes it even more aromatic.
  12. Serve hot with plain rice or Neer Dosa.

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