Mangalorean chicken curry

Serves 4-6

Mangalorean Coconut Chicken Curry


  • 3tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • 2 small onions, peeled, 1 sliced, 1 finely chopped
  • 1kg skinless bone-in chicken joints, cut into medium pieces
  • 300ml coconut milk
  • 3-4tsp tamarind paste
  • chilli powder, to taste (optional)

For the spice blend

  • 2tbsp coriander seeds
  • 11⁄2tsp cumin seeds
  • 1⁄2tsp black peppercorns
  • 3 cloves
  • 21⁄2cm cinnamon stick
  • 2-4 dried chillies
  • 140g fresh or frozen coconut, grated
  • 10 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 10g fresh ginger, finely chopped (peeled weight)

For the tarka

  • 1tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • 16-18 fresh curry leaves
  • 2 dried chillies
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped


To make the spice blend, in a non-stick frying pan over a low heat, dry-roast the whole spices and chillies for 1-2 minutes until
aromatic and turning in colour. Pour into a spice grinder and grind until fine.

Put the grated coconut in the frying pan and dry-roast over a medium heat until it has turned golden. Place in a blender.

To make the curry, turn the heat up to high and add 1 tablespoon of ghee or oil then fry the sliced onion with some salt until coloured on the edges. Add to the coconut, along with the ground spices, garlic, ginger and a splash of water and blend until smooth.

Heat the remaining ghee or oil in a large non-stick saucepan over a medium-high heat then add the chopped onion with some salt. Cook until soft, then add the chicken. Sear on all sides, then add the spice and coconut blend and a splash more water. Bring to the boil, then cover and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the pan doesn’t run dry (add more water if this happens).

To make the tarka heat the ghee or oil in the frying pan. Add the curry leaves and dried chillies and cook for about 30 seconds, then add the onion and cook until it is well browned.

Meanwhile, add most of the coconut milk and tamarind to the chicken, stir well and bring to the boil. Add the tarka and stir. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add some chilli powder for more heat or coconut milk if it’s too hot.

Recipes and photographs taken from I Love India by Anjum Anand. Photography by Martin Poole (Quadrille, £20).
Mangalorean Coconut Chicken Curry
Recipes and photographs taken from I Love India by Anjum Anand. Photography by Martin Poole (Quadrille, £20).

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