Thursday, 11 December 2014

Konkani Chicken Rasa

I am still not over my recent trip to the Konkan coast. Memories of  the Konkan shoreline, the pristine beaches, the quaint fisherman;s hamlets, the smell of the sea, the clear blue skies continue to clutter my mind. Above all it is the food I can't stop thinking about. 

Like I mentioned in my previous post, our dinner at the homestay in Ganeshgule where we stayed the night, was a delicious affair. I had mounds of rice with the dry and spicy sukkha chicken, and even more with the spicy rasa. The woman who cooks at the homestay was only too keen to share the recipe when I asked for it. In fact, she took the trouble of writing it all down for me. And then she posed for me too. In my ecstatic state of mind I forgot to ask her name. I'll just call her Taayi ( elder sister in Marathi), just like the lanky lad waiting on us.

I was a little perturbed when I realised the recipe was written in Marathi, I don't know a word in Marathi, but then A came to my rescue. Luckily A had some knowledge of Marathi and she managed to summarize the recipe for me, on the road. However, when I decided to try it this morning I found myself in a fix again. So I turned to an aunt who has grown up and still lives in Maharashtra and thanks to technology she was able to read and translate the recipe, somewhat, for me... (she struggled with a few parts that were difficult to read in the poor photograph taken on my not-so-smart phone) so that I could trump up this flavoursome and simple curry I have grown to love, in my own kitchen.  The recipe however had not come with exact measurements hence I had to follow my instinct. My version is no less delicious, and pretty close to the delightful dish I had savoured a few nights ago in that humble homestay on a distant Konkan beach. 

The recipe!!!

The soupy curry goes best  with plain steamed rice or thin chappatis, I prefer rice. I always prefer rice. The heat is far from overwhelming and the flavours of the fresh ingredients shine through. On a winter night this rasa is my pick for a night-in with friends or family.


Chicken - 600 g
Grated desiccated coconut - 80g
Onion (roughly chopped) - 2 (medium)
Onion (thinly sliced) - 1 (medium)
Tomato (finely chopped) - 1
Ginger-garlic paste - 3/4 tbsp
Garlic cloves - 3-4
Cloves - 6
Peppercorns - 10-12
Cinnamon stick - 2 inch
Red chili powder  1 tbsp heaped (or to taste)
Finely chopped coriander/cilantro leaves - 4-5 tbsp
Salt to taste
A pinch of sugar
White Oil as required


Boil in the chicken in 5 cups of water (1 l) along with a little salt and a few cloves of garlic. Keep aside. Reserve stock.

Fry the desiccated coconut in a little oil until golden. Also fry the roughly chopped onions to a uniform golden. In a food processor grind the two together to make a paste.

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat a few table spoons of oil. Add cloves, cinnamon and whole peppercorns
into it.

Add thinly sliced onion and fry until soft and golden. Add ginger, garlic and chopped tomatoes. Also add red chili powder. Fry until oil separates and then add the onion-coconut paste. Fry for a few minutes and add the chicken, along with the stock.

Bring to a boil, add salt and a pinch of sugar. Let it it simmer for a few minutes.

Finally add chopped coriander leaves and remove from heat.

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