A mild Indian chicken curry with coconut, steeped in tradition from Karnataka in the south of India, layered with flavour and very easy to cook. A simple, tasty dish for a weekday meal that takes no time at all to make.
We love to eat curries and have a few favourites spread across Indian, Malaysian and Thai cuisines. Whilst travelling aboard the Golden Chariot, a luxury train in the south of India, I got plenty of opportunities to try a wide and varied range of curries, covering both protein and vegetarian based dishes. One night on board, we were also treated to a cooking demonstration by the executive chef.
Curries are reasonably easy to follow from a book, but it’s sometimes hard to get the right recipe. It’s also impossible to get a recipe for every type of curry made in countries like India, as every chef has a different slant on the way it should be cooked. Similarly, families use traditional methods and age-old recipes and regionally, the food differs also. The food of India also changes by region and by area and is impacted heavily by the ingredients that can be sourced close by.
So, to be able to have the chef hand down one of his own recipes, and to share his special tips for making it, was certainly a treat. This will be different to other chicken curry recipes from India and even other Kundapur chicken curry recipes, because of the reasons I’ve outlined above. This is a local chef’s own Karnataka curry recipe, and I’m very grateful that he was able to share it. I hope you like it as much as I do.
Here’s my version of Kundapur chicken curry, a mild but ever so tasty and hearty meal. Also known as Kundapura Curry, it’s perfect for a cold and rainy night.
You can read about some of our Indian travels here.
Why this recipe works
- Layering of flavours in the curry paste anad the sauce makes a simple dish with complex layers.
- Many of the ingredients are the same for the paste and the curry.
- Despite it looking like there is a lot involved, the ingredient list repeats itself and the dish is simple and quick to make.
- Once the paste and sauce is made, the cooking of the chicken and rice is all you need to do.
- Perfect for a weeknight meal or as part of an Indian share feast.
What goes into this recipe?
Recipe ingredient notes
- The chillies can be either red or green. Whilst the recipe calls for red in the paste and green in the sauce, you can use either of these.
- If you love your curry hot, add more chillies and keep the seeds in.
- You can use fresh garlic and ginger or pastes.
- If the sauce renders down too much (will depend on how much you cook it), you can add more coconut milk. Adding more will dilute some of the flavour so you’ll just need to manage this.
- When it comes to the chicken, you can use any kind. Chicken on the bone will give you more flavour but will take slightly longer to cook. Chicken thigh fillets can withstand being cooked slowly for longer. If you substitute for chicken breasts, be careful not to overcook.
- In India this recipe is served with rice, roti, naan and chapati. I also serve it with barley, faro or freekah for a meal with more fibre.
How to make Kundapur chicken curry with coconut
Take all of the ingredients for the Kundapur curry paste (sometimes known as Kundapur Curry Masala Powder) and roast for only a few minutes in the oven or dry fry on a cooktop.
Remove and grind all into a smooth paste using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Set aside and prepare the remaining ingredients.
Heat the oil in the pan. Add cumin seeds, curry leaves, onion, ginger garlic paste and green chilli and saute until light brown.
Add chopped tomatoes and turmeric. Stir until mixed through. Add the chicken, Kundapur paste, salt and water and stir it well.
Cover the pan and cook for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked.
Add tamarind, stir through, then add coconut milk.
Serve with steamed rice or roti. Garnish with coriander or parsley.
Absolutely. This is a perfect recipe for making in stages, or making the day before. I love making it early in the morning and then all I need to do is cook the chicken at night.
I freeze leftover curry all the time. Put it in portion size containers so it’s ready to defrost and reheat.
Any type of protein would be excellent in this curry. You don’t even really need a protein. You could make the curry sauce and have it on vegetables.
You could store the paste and sauce in the freezer for up to a week and longer if you are freezing it.
- When toasting the spices be very careful not to burn them. They should be toasted lightly to release the fragrances but over-toasting will burn the flavour and make your chicken curry paste bitter.
- The recipe calls for grinding up the spices in a mortar and pestle. This is good if you don’t have anything else but just be mindful that your paste will be very course. I actually now use a grinder which allows me to get a much finer paste.
- Once I have used the paste for cooking the sauce, I do another step to get a more refined curry sauce. I put the sauce through a sieve, collecting all of the textural bits, and add it back to the grinder with a little water or coconut milk. This blitzes the paste into an even finer one, meaning that there are less bits asnd pieces in the sauce when serving. Once I’ve made this into a smooth paste, I put it back into the sauce.
- Ingredients for Kundapur curry paste:
- 6-7 cloves
- 1 tbsp peppercorns
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 4-5 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 4-5 whole red chillies
- 100 grams grated coconut
- 2 cups water
- Ingredients for the curry:
- 1 kg chicken thigh cutlets
- 4 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 10-15 curry leaves
- 4 tbsp chopped onions
- 2-3 green chillies - sliced
- 2 tbsp garlic ginger paste
- 4 tbsp chopped tomatoes
- 0.5 tsp turmeric powder
- 6 tbsp Kundapur paste
- 5 tbsp coconut milk
- Salt to taste
- 2 cups water
- 15 grams tamarind pulp
- Coriander (or parsley) for garnish
- Take all of the ingredients for the Kundapur curry paste and roast for only a few minutes in the oven or dry fry on a cooktop.
- Remove and grind all into a smooth paste using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.
- Set aside and prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Heat the oil in the pan.
- Add cumin seeds, curry leaves, onion, ginger garlic paste and green chilli and saute until light brown.
- Add chopped tomatoes and turmeric.
- Stir until mixed through.
- Add the chicken, Kundapur paste, salt and water and stir it well.
- Cover the pan and cook for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked.
- Add tamarind, stir through, then add coconut milk.
- Serve with steamed rice or roti. Garnish with coriander or parsley.
Chilli can be adjusted to suit your taste.
I made this recipe for two people, using 4 chicken thigh cutlets, so I only used a third of all ingredients.
This recipe is perfect to make ahead of time and reheat when you are ready to eat.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 524Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 188mgSodium: 440mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 4gSugar: 9gProtein: 39g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.