Chicken coconut masala

Chicken coconut masala

I Love Curry
Jonathan Gregson

This is a spicy, full-bodied curry from the region of Andhra, known for its hot food and red chillies, with both tomatoes and tamarind adding a tang. The sweet flecks of fresh coconut hidden inside both soften the spices and add a lovely texture. If you don’t have fresh coconut, add a little coconut cream; you will not have the same texture but it will still taste delicious. Serve with wholewheat Indian breads, such as Chapati or Paratha.


Quantity Ingredient
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
4-6 dried red chillies, seeds shaken out
2/3 teaspoon black peppercorns
2.5cm cinnamon stick
4 cloves
4 green cardamom pods, whole
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
15g ginger, peeled weight, grated into a paste
4 fat garlic cloves, grated into a paste
salt, to taste
2 1/2 tomatoes (not sweet), quartered and blended or chopped
600g skinless chicken joints
1/2-1/3 teaspoon tamarind paste, or to taste
50-60g grated fresh coconut
or 30g creamed coconut
handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped


  1. Place the whole spices in a small saucepan and dry roast until the coriander seeds are lightly coloured. Grind to a fine powder.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion until brown. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry gently for a couple of minutes, until the garlic smells cooked. Add all the spices and salt, stir for 20 seconds, add a small splash of water and cook for two minutes more. Now tip in the tomatoes and chicken and sauté over a medium-high flame for seven or eight minutes, or until the sauce has been absorbed by the chicken. Add enough water to come halfway up the chicken, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer gently for 25–35 minutes, or until done, depending on the size of the joints. Stir occasionally and make sure there is enough water in the pan.
  3. Once the chicken is cooked, add the tamarind paste and coconut and cook for a further three or four minutes. The sauce should be quite thick; if it isn’t, cook for a little longer on a high flame. Taste and adjust the seasoning and tamarind to taste, and serve sprinkled with chopped coriander.
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