Why It Works
- Using bone-in chicken lends deeper, richer flavor to a simple curry.
- Toasting whole spices for the spice paste enhances their flavors.
This simple Indian chicken curry is made in the style common to the hamlets in Konkan, along the west coast of India. Using bone-in chicken lends the meat a richer, gamey flavor that's in keeping with how this dish was traditionally made, using free-roaming birds. A heavy hand with spices, including turmeric, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon, plus plenty of chili, leaves this dish intensely flavorful and fiery. Serve it over white rice or with bhakris (a type of unleavened rice bread) to soak up all the sauce.
- For the Chicken Marinade:
- 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste (see note)
- 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon red chile powder
- 1 pound (450g) bone-in chicken drumsticks and thighs, optionally cut in half through the bone with a cleaver
- Kosher salt
- For the Spice Paste:
- 1 teaspoon unroasted sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 6 dry Kashmiri chiles
- 5 peppercorns
- One 1/2-inch stick cinnamon
- 3 cloves
- 2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut
- 1 cup (240ml) water
- For the Curry:
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil
- 3 slit green chiles
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- Fluffy white rice, for serving
To Marinate the Chicken: In a small bowl, mix together ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, and 1 tablespoon of the red chile powder. Season chicken all over with salt, then rub all over with marinade. Set aside.
For the Spice Paste: Heat a cast iron skillet until smoking, then turn the heat down. Toast sesame seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, Kashmiri chiles, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and cloves until they release their aroma, about 15 seconds, stirring constantly so they don't burn. Set aside to cool.
Once toasted spices have cooled, using an immersion blender or countertop blender, blend spices with coconut and 3 tablespoons (45ml) water until a smooth paste has formed. Set aside.
For the Curry: In a heavy-bottomed, lidded saucepan, heat oil until shimmering, then turn the heat down. Add green chiles and bay leaves. Stir until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add onion and keep stirring until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.
Add spice paste and keep stirring until fragrant and until oil floats on top, about 10 minutes. Add marinated chicken pieces and stir until coated in the spice mix, about 5 minutes. Add remaining water to thin out the mixture for more gravy.
Season with salt, stir once, and cover pot. Turn heat to medium. Cook for about 15 minutes or until chicken is tender. Open lid, stir, and serve hot with fluffy white rice.
To make ginger-garlic paste, very finely mince, grate, or process equal parts peeled fresh ginger and peeled garlic.