Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kundapur Chicken Curry (Kori Rotti)

Kundapur is tiny city perched in the tranquil harmony of a beautiful seashore strip, swaying coconut palms and plenty of greenery, flora and fauna. Its located in Udupi district of Karnataka State, India. Kundapur is known for places of historic significance which includes scenic beaches, ancient temples with splendid architecture and best of all a cuisine which needs no further mention. If you ask any meat eating individual from Mangalore, they would proudly speak for hours together boasting about the few distinct & famous dishes which are part of Kundapur cuisine - Kundapur Chicken Curry, Chicken Ghee Roast, Kane Fry and Ghee Rice. Some also address the dish combination as Kori Rotti; Kori is Chicken and Rotti is the flaky bread eaten with this Chicken gravy.

Kundapur Chicken Curry is the fiery hot, spicy curry loved and adored by many. This humble red hued spicy curry with lot of broth and Ghee Rice get along like house on fire. It is an act of blasphemy to visit Kundapur and not partake in any of the sinfully rich dishes. The popular eating spot in Kundapur is Shetty's Lunch Home which is most sought after place when it comes to these dishes. If it is to be believed, Chicken Ghee Roast & Ghee Rice were all born in the cosy confines of this famous eatery.

I was wondering what makes this dish so special until I got a chance to sample this unique style of cooking Chicken one day at one of our dear one's place. I got the recipe and lot of tips and suggestions on getting the right flavour. Some of my friends informed me that Chicken and the broth are key components which define the flavour and taste of this dish. My MIL also makes the best Kundapur Chicken Curry and her other Non-Veg curries are simply amazing. Some of my friends opined that Farm Chicken (Naati Koli) gives best results. The broth is made by a fiery paste of Onions and Tomatoes seasoned with lots of Curry leaves resulting in a rich red colored paste known as Kundapur Chicken Masala. One could also use ready store bought spice powder of Kundapur Chicken Masala. Infact, some of my aunts and cousins opine that the store bought spice powder easily beats the one we make at home. Curry leaves offer a very nice balance and earthy flavour to this curry. Traditionally, its eaten with Ghee Rice, Kori Rotti, Idli (Khotte) or Rice String Hoppers (Shevai). I do not claim that this is the original recipe. This is my interpretation of this recipe and we both liked the flavour.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30-45 minutes

Chicken (Thigh - Skinless variety) - 1 pound or 1/2 kg.
Onion (chopped) - 2 cups
Tomatoes (chopped) - 1 cup
Ginger paste - 1 tablespoon
Garlic paste - 1 tablespoon
Butter - 1/2 cup
Bay leaf - 1
Curry leaves - 10-15
Coconut milk (thick) - 2 cups

Kundapur Chicken Masala -
Red Chillies (Byadgi) - 8-10
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander seeds - 2 teaspoon
Cloves - 2-4
Cinnamon stick - 1" piece
Fenugreek seeds - 1/3 teaspoon
Toast the Red Chillies and grind them all to a paste with less or little water.

Yield - Around 2-3 tablespoon of spice powder

Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan, roast the red chillies and spices for 2 minutes and allow to cool. Grind all of this along with Turmeric powder to a smooth red paste. This is Kundapur Chicken Masala. Wash Chicken thoroughly, defrost if required, wash multiple times till water is clear; pat it dry and chop them into bite sized pieces.
Puree Onion and Tomato separately and keep the paste ready. In a deep stock pot, heat the entire quantity of butter, allow to melt. Add Bay leaves and Curry leaves and saute for a minute or two. Add Ginger and Garlic paste and saute to eliminate the raw flavour. The fragrance and aroma now gets imparted to the oil. Add Onion paste and Tomato paste and sweat them in oil till the raw flavour disappears. Add the Chicken pieces now and gently give a stir. Cook for few minutes. All the Masala paste now, add enough water and bring to boil. Cover with a lid and simmer on low flame for 20-30 minutes till the Chicken is cooked. Once done, add thick Coconut milk and allow to simmer on low flame. Do not cook a lot after adding coconut milk. Turn off flame and serve hot. Suggested serving with Kori Rotti, Rice String Hoppers (Shevai), Idli (Khotte) or Ghee Rice.

Note - Do not use white meat of chicken (breast portions) since it remains hard after cooking. Best portions would be red meat - thigh or leg portions. They soften upon cooking and are apt for this curry. I made a big batch, lessen the proportion for smaller quantity.


  1. Hey,nic eblog ashwini....actually was searchg for a goog konkani food site...My earliest memory is that of my Goan neighbour making pork curry,and it used to make me drool....still it bookmarking this web...i love the Kundapur chicken curry....from Udipi...will give it a try sometime...
    Thx again...c u again.

  2. @ Bini -
    Thank you! I always thought its a complex recipe till I made it with some help and useful tips. Do give a try.


I appreciate any comment and would love to hear from you. Trust you enjoy my blog.