South Indian Chicken Curry with Pakoras and Cumin Rice

Serves 4-6
  • Steps
  • Ingredients


  • For the Chicken Curry, place garlic, ginger and green chillies into a food processor and pulse to a paste. Place half into a deep bowl. Add the chicken thighs and wings and salt and toss to coat.
  • Toast 2 sprigs curry leaves, cumin, fennel, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves and 2 dried red chillies over low heat until fragrant. Transfer to a spice grinder and blend to a fine powder. Set aside.
  • Heat 3 tablespoons coconut oil in a deep frypan over medium heat. Add ¼ teaspoon asafoetida and 1 tsp black mustard seeds and once the mustard seeds start to pop, add 2-3 sprigs of curry leaves and cook until fragrant.
  • Add the onion and the remaining ginger, garlic and chilli paste. Cook, stirring, until soft and lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomato and 1-2 tablespoons spice blend, turmeric and coriander powder into the onion mixture and cook until the oil separates. Add the chicken and toss to coat in the mixture and cook until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add tamarind and sugar and salt to taste so the sauce is not too salty, and not too sour. Add water then simmer until chicken is cooked through and liquid has reduced to a thick gravy. Remove the wing pieces and set the curry aside.
  • Just before serving, prepare the temper by heating up 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a small pan. Add ½ teaspoons mustard seeds, pinch asafoetida and as they start to pop, add remaining curry leaves and 2 dried chillies and immediately remove from the heat.
  • For the Cumin Rice, bring 4-5 cups of water into a medium saucepan. Add the bay leaf, cumin seeds and 1 tablespoon ghee and bring to the boil.
  • In the meantime, rinse the rice under cold running water until water runs clear.
  • Once the water starts to boil, add the rinsed rice and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions, until tender.
  • Strain the rice and rinse using cold water. Toss the rice with 2 tablespoons ghee making sure the rice doesn’t break. Cover and set aside.
  • For the Vegetable Pakoras, heat the oil in a medium saucepan to 180°C.
  • Place the ingredients, except the curry leaves and enough water to make a thick, smooth batter.
  • Drop tablespoon portions carefully into the hot oil and cook until golden, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the oil and set aside on a paper towel.
  • Reserve oil on the heat and add the curry leaves. Cook until translucent then remove from the oil and set aside on paper towel.
  • For the Tamarind Chutney, place tamarind puree, ¼ cup caster sugar, chilli powder and salt into a small bowl.
  • Add a little water and stir to achieve a smooth thick consistency. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with a little chilli powder.
  • To serve, transfer the rice into a bowl and garnish with coriander leaves. Transfer the pakoras onto a plate and garnish with fried curry leaves. Transfer the chicken curry to a bowl and add the temper on top and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with the chutney on the side.

You might like