Mangalorean Chicken Curry | Roce Curry
They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. That's how Felcie has kept Wilfy smiling for nearly half a century; with Chicken Roce Curry and appams on Sundays and special occasions. This Mangalore Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk, aka Kunkdamas Roce Kadhi or Konkani Chicken Curry is one of Felcie's best dishes.
Felcie is from the Indian coastal city of Mangalore where the curries are hot and the weather is hotter; where women take great pride in preparing delicious home cooked fare and where cooking is a daily, elaborate ritual that takes up a good portion of the Konkan lady's day.
Felcie lives in a large bungalow with a beautiful, flower filled garden and a lush lawn frequented by playful and very entertaining mongooses. But, her backyard is where the magic happens. The backyard is her own personal supermarket, filled with almost everything she requires for her cooking; bimli and lime trees, tall coconut trees and short curry leaf plants, bushy coffee plants, twining pepper vines, shiny broad-leafed banana trees, spiky pineapple plants, unfussy guava trees, fragrant cinnamon, ginger, bay leaf, allspice ... a truly bounteous, botanical backyard. And this is where she sources the coconuts needed for her chicken curry.
Felcie usually starts preparing her Mangalorean chicken roce curry early in the morning before the heat of the day makes it too uncomfortable to work. At this time, nobody else has started stirring other than the neighbor's rooster, who takes it upon himself to compete with the morning church bells. One day, if he's not too careful, he just might end up being the guest of honor in her chicken curry. Felcie breaks open a coconut, harvested from her own coconut trees. She scrapes the coconut, then grinds it fine to extract, first the thick coconut milk and then the thin coconut milk. She carefully picks out the required whole spices (red chilies, coriander and cumin seeds, cinnamon and cloves), roasts them on a hot tawa, before dry grinding them into a fine powder. These freshly ground spices will then be ground once again with tamarind, turmeric and roasted grated coconut, onions and garlic. In the olden days, she would have done all this scraping and grinding by hand using an aadhalo and a vaan. But, now, she has an impressive electric grinding stone that takes care of business. However, it's all still an elaborate, intricate process, but one that yields a very tasty, creamy coconut curry.
How to Make a Quick and Easy Mangalorean Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk (Roce Curry)
Recipe for an Easy Mangalore Chicken Curry or Roce Curry
Spice level- 2 on 5
For soup stock
☐ 3/4 cup thin coconut milk (taken from one 13.5fl oz. can of coconut milk. Without shaking can, turn can upside down and pour out the thin coconut milk)
☐ 1 teaspoon thick coconut milk/cream (taken from 13.5fl.oz. can of coconut milk after pouring out the thin coconut milk)
☐ 1/4 cup water
☐ 1 medium onion, sliced (approx. 1 cup)
☐ 3 bay leaves
☐ 1 medium onion, diced
☐ 4 flakes garlic, diced
☐ 3 heaped teaspoons chili powder
☐ 2 heaped teaspoons coriander (dhania) powder
☐ 1 heaped teaspoon cumin (jeera) powder
☐ 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (haldi) powder
☐ 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
☐ 1/4 teaspoon clove powder
☐ 1/2 teaspoon Tamicon tamarind paste
☐ 1/2 onion, sliced (approx. 1/2 cup)
☐ 1 1/2 cup water
☐ 3 potatoes, cut into pieces and boiled separately
☐ 2/3 cup thick coconut milk/cream (the remaining portion of the 13.5fl. oz. can of coconut milk)
Step- by-Step Instructions
1. Boil Chicken and make soup stock
- In a large vessel, add the chicken, thin coconut milk*, bay leaves, 1 sliced onion and salt. Cover and cook on medium heat for 20-25 minutes.
*To get the thin coconut milk, without shaking the can of coconut milk, turn the can upside down and open the can. The thin liquid/ coconut milk will be on top and the thick coconut milk/cream will be at the bottom. Pour out the thin liquid/ milk. Add a teaspoon of coconut cream to the thin milk. Add 1/4 cup of water and mix it well. This will make 1 cup of thin coconut milk to boil the chicken in.
- After the chicken is boiled, remove chicken and reserve stock for later. Discard bay leaves.
2. Fry ingredients for masala
- Pour a little oil in a pan. Add the grated coconut, diced onion and diced garlic and fry lightly on a lowish flame. Stir constantly to prevent the mixture from burning.
- Fry until the mixture turns a light brown. Then, remove from heat.
3. Grind masala
- In a blender or mixi, add the fried mixture (onion, coconut and garlic), tamarind paste, chili, coriander, jeera, turmeric, cinnamon and clove powders.
- Pour in the chicken stock and blend well until the masala mixture is smooth and creamy. You will have approximately 2 1/4 cups of masala.
4. Fry masala for curry
- In a large vessel, add 5 tablespoons of oil.
- When the oil is hot, add 1/2 a sliced onion and fry until the onions turn golden brown.
- Then, pour in the masala and fry lightly for about 5 minutes stirring constantly.
- Add the boiled chicken, 1 1/2 cup of water and more salt if required.
- Cover and simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes. Then lower flame.
5. Add thick coconut milk to curry
- Blend the remaining thick coconut cream in the blender along with 1/4 cup of water.
- Pour the thick coconut milk into the boiling curry and stir for 10 seconds to mix the coconut milk into the curry.
- Now, stop stirring and watch the curry carefully for the first signs of movement. As the first bubble makes its way to the surface, switch off the stove and take the vessel off the burner. If it is allowed to cook any longer, the coconut curry will curdle. Do not cover the curry, but leave open to cool.
Before serving, add boiled potatoes to the curry.
- For a tasty chicken curry, use chicken with bones.
- Add boiled potatoes afterwards to the cooked curry rather than cooking the potatoes in the curry. This will prevent the potatoes from absorbing the gravy.
- This curry goes well with rice, appams, rotis, chapatis or mutlis (dumplings).