Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chicken Ghee Roast (Mangalorian)

I did not know about this fantastic Mangalorian preparation until I joined a few Food Groups. The dish was posted on one of the forums and I drooled! I had guests coming over that night. There was an immediate change of menu and this was going to be the 'Star' at my party that night. 

'Ghee Roast' is said to be native to coastal Karnataka and apparently originated in Kundapur (near Udupi).
If you read the recipe you will realise that the ingredients are going to create something amazing. Chicken roasted in ghee (clarified butter) with a perfect combination of spicy and tart ingredients. The bright red color just adds to the beauty of this dish. Once I was done cooking, I had to hide it from myself in the refrigerator. It was just too tempting!

Now, you could make this dish healthy by reducing the quantity of ghee, but I think it will miss that distinct aroma and flavor which roasting in ghee gives it. I would suggest indulging in this heavenly delicacy only occasionally.
This preparation is supposed to be really dry and not with a little gravy like I have made it. But I needed this dish to go well with the soft dosas I was going to prepare. So a little gravy worked great for us.
The bright color of this dish is because of the 'Byadgi chillies' I have used. These chillies give more color than spice.

Am sure by now, you all are looking forward to skipping right to the recipe instead of reading what I have to say. So without further delay, let me get to the recipe.

Level: Easy
Serves: 5 to 6 people
Adapted from: Cherie's Stolen Recipes, RuchikRandhap

2 pounds chicken (bone-in, cut into medium pieces)

Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup + 2 tblsp yogurt
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

5 - 6 tblsp ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp sugar
10 - 15 curry leaves
20 dry red chillied (8 - 10 if you have the spicy variety at home)
15 black peppercorns
1 tblsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
10 - 12 garlic flakes
1 tsp tamarind paste (or to taste)
Coriander to decorate

Step 1 - We have to thicken the yogurt a little. Tie yogurt in a muslin cloth and let it hang for 30 mins or like me just plop the yogurt in a large fine strainer and let it drain for an hour.

Step 2 - Wash the chicken well and pat dry. Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl and apply it well to the chicken pieces. Make sure the marinade coats all the chicken pieces well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (Overnight works best).

Step 3 - Let us make the masala. Heat a medium sized pan on medium low heat. Dry roast the red chillies. Let them change their color slightly. Make sure you do not burn these. Burnt chillies will totally spoil your dish as this is our star ingredient. Remove them onto a plate. Now add the peppercorns, coriander seeds and cumin seeds. Dry roast them till coriander seeds turn brownish and it gives out a great roasted aroma. Remove these onto the plate too.

Step 4 - In a mixer bowl, blend together the roasted spices, garlic cloves and tamarind with as little water as possible to form a thick paste. Use less tamarind if you are not sure how sour your brand is. We can always adjust it later in the preparation. Keep aside.

Step 5 - Take a wide heavy bottomed pot. Heat the clarified butter. When the butter is hot, add in the marinated chicken and stir it for a good 8 - 10 mins on medium or medium high heat. Cook the chicken till it is almost done (90%). Transfer the chicken pieces onto a plate. Do not pour out the ghee. We will use it in our cooking ahead.

Step 6 - In the same pan add the ground masala paste from step 4 and saute it for 6 - 7 mins on medium heat till the raw smell of the spices vanishes and oil starts to leave the sides of the pot.

Step 7 - Add the cooked chicken pieces back into the pot. Add a little water (1/4 cup) if the entire mixture is too dry and is sticking to the pot. Cook well together on medium heat, stirring occassionally till the mixture gets as dry as you would like and coats the chicken pieces well. Add sugar and mix lightly.

Garnish with curry leaves and coriander leaves.
This tastes best when served hot with some Neer Dosas, but I do not have a grinder that behaves! So we settle for some nice soft thin dosas made from the ready made batter we get from our Indian Stores. You can serve these with plain steamed rice or hot chapatis too. Heaven!

Happy Drooling Everyone!


  1. Hi Shals,
    Tried this recipe for dinner on Sunday. Everyone just loved it. Super yummy and Super spicy it was. Have recommended this to all my friends. And the best part is it's so simple.

    1. Thank you. Yes the selling point of this recipe for me was also the simplicity..:) So glad everyone enjoyed it at your home.

  2. Today I prepared this recipe for dinner and it came out very good. Thank you so much.

  3. Hie....Happened to stumble on your blog and tried out this recipe for my Saturday lunch today...Turned out great....Thank you for the detailed description and the wonderful recipe...Will definitely keep reading and trying your dishes...


    1. So glad you enjoyed it..:) Thanks for letting me know.

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