This chilli chicken dish is simple yet skilled; it is hot but doesn’t burn, and it is tasty but not overly spiced. So much intricacy in this dish!
So, let’s get started and first make the masala:
9 long dried red chilies (you can use either the Bedgi chilli from Mangalore or its similar Kashmiri chilli. If you use Kashmir add 1.5 tsp hot chilli powder)
8- 10 Tellicherry peppercorns
1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
I medium-sized cassia bark
2 1/2-inch pieces of ginger
1 kg chicken on the bone
For the sauce aka ‘kari’
2 1/2 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
2 1/2 large onions, finely chopped
10 fresh curry leaves
Salt, to taste
2 medium-size tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp of lemon juice, to serve
1. Wash and cut the chicken into small pieces, drain till dry.
2. Grind all the masala ingredients to a fine paste, adding a little warm water.
3. Keep half the marinade (masala) aside for the sauce.
4. Marinate the chicken pieces in the remaining masala and set aside for 4 hours in the refrigerator.
5. In a large frying pan, heat the ghee/oil and fry the onions with the curry leaves and salt. Cook until the onions are light golden brown. Add the masala to the onions and cook until the oil leaves the sides of the pan.
6. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, or till the tomatoes are cooked.
7. Remove the marinated chicken from the fridge, place in a saucepan, cover and cook in its own juices until cooked (this is similar to ‘braising’) Set aside to rest.
8. Drain the chicken juices (‘liquor’) into the sauce and add a cup of water, if required. Cook till oil leaves the pan. Sprinkle with lemon juice.
9. In another frying pan, heat enough oil to fry the cooked chicken pieces till caramelised and ‘bright red’! Drain and set aside.
Serve the Mysore chilli chicken along with the kari on top of steamed Basmati rice, with some crisp fried curry leaves (you’ll see “how to temper kari leaves” on the link!). (To make great steamed rice, click the link.)
And before I sign off, here are a few tips to remember when cooking this dish:
1. To get a bright color from the chillies (if Bediga or Kashmiri chillies are not available), soak them in warm water, do not split them. This allows the chilli to soak in the moisture and concentrates the colors. Discard the water and grind.
2. Tellicherry pepper is the best in the world and has a very strong aroma!
3. Braising the chicken and letting it rest in the juices lets the meat to tenderise , then when you fry it, the outside is crisp and the inside is still moist. The Chinese call it ‘twice cooked’.
4. Once the chicken is fried it may be added to the sauce, or alternately served separately (as I did) on top of the rice along with the kari.
Well, as for me, I would like to have the lot with no rice and no kari, just a glass (or two) of my favourite Mornington Peninsula Nazaaray Shiraz!!! You can have the rice and. . .
Anah Daata Suki Bhava!!