Malvani Chicken Curry In Fresh Coconut And Spices

I’ve been seeing my mum cooking this curry since I was a little kid. Her patience and efforts always reflected in the way we gobbled it down.
We come from the coastal area of Malvan, where coconut’s the king. That’s how coconut forms the base of this recipe. She often used to (and still does) cook this style of chicken apparently because my pappa loves it. Twisting, turning and playing with the flavors, she’s now aced it.
I’ve got it all ready and it’s always just a phone call away. I’ve never taken it from her in writing. Never will. May be I love irritating her more on the phone than on paper 🙂
Malvani Chicken CurryPreparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6-7

Ingredients:
Chicken – 750 grams, cut into medium chunks
2 medium onions, sliced lengthwise – for the paste
1 medium onion for frying
3/4th of a coconut – freshly grated
2 green chillies, chopped
1 bunch of coriander, chopped along with stems
15 medium size Garlic cloves or 12 big ones
4 cm ginger
4-5 curry leaves
2 tsp lemon juice
3 tsps kashmiri chili powder
1 and 1/2 tbsp Malvani masala powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsps coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp fennel seeds + 1 tsp cumin seeds (roasted and ground)
2 tsp garam masala powder (add more if you like it hot)
1 cinnamon stick
1 big bay leaf or 2 small ones
4 black pepper corns
4 green cardamom
3 cloves
1 star anise
5 tbsp Vegetable oil
Water, as per consistency
Salt to taste

Method:
1. For marinade – Grind into paste – ginger, garlic, corriander, curry leaves, kashmiri chili powder, malvani masala powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and cumin powder.
Apply this place to the cleaned chicken pieces along with a squeeze of lime, tsp of salt and one tbsp of oil. Leave it aside to marinate for 20-25 minutes.

2. For paste – In a pan, fry the lengthwise sliced onions till soft. Take care not to burn. It affects the flavor of the curry. Leave it on a plate after done.
In the same pan, roast the grated coconut till its golden or slightly browned and starts releasing its aroma. Again, do not burn.
Grind them both together into a fine paste.

3. The curry – 
1. Heat oil in a nonstick pan or wok and toss in the dry spices – bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, star anise, pepper corns. Fry for couple of minutes on slow or medium, till they start releasing flavors.
2. Fry the finely chopped onions till soft, translucent and completely cooked.
3. Tip in the marinated chicken and mix. Cover it up with an airtight lid. It has to cook in its own steam for around 10 minutes.
4. Now spoon in the ground coconut+onion paste and mix it all thoroughly.
5. Put water as per your desired consistency, salt and let it simmer on medium for 5-8 minutes. Lid on.
6. Lastly, add the roasted cumin+fennel powder and garam masala and cook again for 10 minutes.
7. Garnish with chopped corriander and serve with hot chapatis, fulkas, flaky parathas or steamed rice; along with sliced onion and a wedge of lime as accompaniments.

P.S.: If you want it more hot and spicy, add 2 tsps of Kashmiri chili powder and 1 tsp of garam masala powder.
Malvani Masala is the key ingredient here. You’ll find it in one of the many groceries or spice vendors.

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