Being a costal region Malvan is blessed with abundant supply of coconut. And they know perfectly, how to make its maximum use in everything. Not only the fruit but also the stem, leaves etc. Talking about food, from appetizers to desserts, they know how to and how much to use coconut. While growing up, we had one family in our neighborhood that belonged to this region. I remember the very first time I had lunch at their home. Aunty made her special chicken curry and fish curry. I fell in love with those curries the moment I tasted them. I remember how I used to tell my mom to learn those curries from aunty. And yeah, Aai attempted a few times but did not match that authentic Malvani taste. By the time I grew up and started cooking, they had left our neighborhood. Initially we were in contact with them but then somehow we lost it. So I couldn’t get the recipe directly from aunty. But I was so obsessed to replicate the exact taste, that I kept asking other people who belonged to that region and also by googling it. Finally after numerous failed attempts, I succeeded to nail it.
The one mistake I was repeating again and again was not using both dry and wet coconut. I always used either one of them and failed to replicate the taste. I told you they know, how to and how much to use! But again everybody has their own way to prepare and I was too obsessed with the curry I had in my childhood.
So finally, I want to share my victory with all of you. Give it a try and let me know what you feel about this curry.
- 4lbs chicken (preferably with bones)
- ½ cup dried desiccated coconut
- ½ cup scrapped wet coconut
- 5-6 garlic cloves
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1/3rd cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 2-3 tablespoon red chili powder (adjust according to spice level)
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- ½ tablespoon turmeric
- Salt as per taste.
- The most important part of this recipe is to grind the paste. They call it “vaatap” in Marathi. To start with this, first dry roast dry coconut well, till it turns brown. Keep it aside. Then on the same pan, dry roast garlic cloves, till they turn slightly brown and then add sliced onion. Keep stirring so that it doesn’t burn. Once the onion starts to get translucent, add a teaspoon of oil. Then add wet coconut and sauté for three to five minutes on medium flame. Now grind this mixture with roasted dry coconut.
- Heat oil in a skillet and add bay leaves. Then add finely chopped onion and sauté for few minutes followed by ginger garlic paste. Cook it till the raw smell of the paste goes away.
- Now add turmeric, red chili powder and garam masala along with chicken and mix well. Keep lid on the skillet and let the chicken cook in its own juice. Do not add water.
- Once the chicken is half done, add the ground coconut paste to it and mix well. At this stage you can add water depending upon the consistency of the curry you want. Keep a lid on the skillet. Cook till the chicken is done.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with steamed rice or any Indian flatbread.
P.S. While roasting coconut, garlic and onion, it is best if you use cast iron for additional awesome results.