I was 13 years old when my uncle got married. Since it was the last wedding in the family there was a lot of excitement in the air. Kith and kin congregated from all over India and my grandparents house in Kundapur (S. India) was brimming with guests. We children were roped in to help with the various odd jobs and had a great time. Especially enjoyable were the tit bits and snacks that various relatives had made and brought with them and the special sweetmeats and savouries made or ordered in vast quantities for the wedding. Recipe books were brought out and eagerly consulted and discussed by the women of the household and menus for the celebration decided well in advance. The most prized recipes were sought after and savoured and the reputation of the clan depended on the satisfied burp of well fed guests. This particular recipe has been in my family since my great grandmother’s days. My grandmother, mother, aunts and various cousins reserved it for occasions that demanded culinary perfection, a treat for the taste buds and eyes. I have continued that tradition and trust my children will do the same. The hand that rocks the cradle certainly deserves the best. Here then is Mangalorean Cuisine at its very best!
1 large chicken (1.5 kg), jointed, washed and drained.
Masala: 2 green chillies; 1 tsp. chilli powder; 2 dried red chillies; 2 pods garlic; 1 inch ginger;2 inch cinnamon;2 cardamoms; 1 level tbsp. khus khus (poppy seeds); 30 to 40 almonds (more if gravy is desired). Blanch almonds in hot water to remove skins. Grind masala ingredients with a little water to smooth paste and keep aside.
6 sliced onions for seasoning, 4 tbsp. ghee/oil for frying
1 cup curds, beat and keep ready;salt to taste; few chopped almonds for garnishing.
Heat ghee/oil in deep bottomed vessel. Add sliced onions and fry golden brown. Add ground masala and fry till thick and creamy and ghee/oil oozes out. Add chicken and gently cook till all the water evaporates. Add 1 cup water, cover and cook till chicken is tender. Add curds,salt to taste, stir and remove from fire. Garnish with almonds. Serve hot with ghee rice (rice cooked in ghee), white rice or idlis (steamed rice cakes).
NB 1. Can add quartered potatoes for quantity.
2. The calorie conscious can substitute oil for ghee.
3. Can use mutton instead of chicken in which case cooking time is longer.