Mangalorean Style Chicken Curry || Kori Gassi || Chicken Coconut Curry (Paleo, Dairy Free)

 If you are a lover of ‘all chicken curries’ like me, then this is one that you need to definitely try!  Its funny how I ended up making this curry – Last week when I was chatting with my sis who lives in india, she happened to mention this curry that she had just eaten and how fabulous it was.  Her daughter’s best friend’s mom had sent over some of her Mangalorean Chicken curry to share with the rest of the family.  Oh my, the rave reviews from my niece and my sis were enough for me to start salivating! I had to make this curry myself.  My sis gave me a vivid description of the texture of the curry and also told me that it had a coconut masala gravy. Well that was enough to get me started on my recipe hunt. Sis offered to talk to the mom and get the recipe from her. But I could not wait that long.

That evening as I pulled out chicken from the freezer for making dinner, I knew what exactly I was going to make with it!  I had looked up recipes for this Mangalorean chicken curry on the internet and printed out a couple of them. The traditional name of this curry is Kori (Chicken) Gassi (curry). I ended up making a version that was a combination of a few of the recipes plus I made some variations – since I do not use tamarind, I used Kerala tamarind or Kodampuli or Kokum for providing the tartness. Also I used Kashmiri chill powder instead of the badega red chillies since I wanted to cut down on the heat.

This curry in general is very mild in spices and heat. It does not use much of the traditional spices used in chicken curry like garam masala. In addition fenugreek and tamarind I thought were two unique ingredients in this curry since these are not typically used in chicken curries. The fine coconut paste masala gives it a great texture – smooth and silky! And thereby goes excellently with chapatis, naan, paranthas or neer dosas.  The last one is what it is traditionally eaten with in Mangalore. As for us, I had it with some steamed yucca and the rest of the family had it with rice! The gravy of this curry is just finger licking good – Yummy Yummy Yum!

Mangalorean Style Coconut Chicken Curry (Kori Gassi)
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Indian, Karnataka, Mangalorean
Kori Gassi is a delectable chicken curry made by cooking chicken pieces in a mildly spiced creamy and slightly tangy coconut sauce
  • 2 lbs (about 1 kg) chicken pieces (I prefer whole chicken cut pieces or at least thigh pieces if using boneless)
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp kashmiri red chilli powder (I use kashmiri chill powder since I prefer mild hot but you can other red chillies for more hot curry)
For the ground masala paste:
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
  • 8-12 whole black peppercorns (depending upon how spicy you like it)
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 one inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 large cloves of garlic (or 8-10 if smaller)
  • ½ cup grated coconut (freshly grated or fresh frozen that has been thawed)
  • ¼ cup warm water
For the curry:
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig of fresh curry leaves (about 8-10 leaves)
  • 3 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (1 tsp is for mildly hot so use more if you would like it really hot)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 piece of Kokum (kerala tamarind) dissolved in ¼ cup warm water. (optional)
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  1. Clean the chicken pieces well with water and dab dry with paper towels. Add the salt, turmeric and red chili powder and mix well. Marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, start making the masala paste - In a small frying pan, dry roast the cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon for 2-3 minutes on low heat stirring frequently until you get the aroma of the spices. Transfer to a food processor.
  3. In the same pan add the 1 tsp coconut oil. when hot add the sliced onions and sauce for 2 minutes on medium heat. Add the garlic too and continue sautéing for another 2-3 mins until the onions start getting slightly crispier and brown. Transfer this to the food processor as well.
  4. Next add the grated coconut to the pan and lightly cook it on low stirring frequently for about 3-4 mins until some of the pieces start browning. Turn heat off. Transfer to the same food processor. (Do not brown the coconut completely since that will result in a different taste)
  5. Grind everything using ¼ cup water. The paste should be very fine - hence do not use too much water to grind.
  6. Next take a large bottomed pan to cook the curry and add the 1 tbsp coconut oil. When hot, add the other set of sliced onions. Add the curry leaves as well and sauce for 2-3 mins.
  7. Add the marinated chicken pieces and cook on high heat for about 3-4 mins. Flip the chicken pieces and cook again for another 3-4 mins.
  8. Now add the ground masala paste, the turmeric, red chili, coriander powder and salt. Add about 1 cup of water rinsing the blender with it to get all of the paste.
  9. Stir to mix well and then cover and cook on low heat for 15 mins.
  10. Open lid and add the water from the soaked tamarind.
  11. Check for seasoning and add salt or more red chili powder as needed.
  12. Cook for another 5 minutes covered. And turn heat off.
  13. Add the lime juice and serve warm over plain white rice or chapatis.
I have used Kashmiri chili powder here for milder and less spicy taste. If you prefer your curry to be hot and spicy, add more quantity or use another hotter variety of red chillies.
The traditional mangalorean kori gassi curry uses tamarind juice or extract. But I have used kokum extract here since I have been avoiding tamarind.

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