A classic Mangalorean combo, spicy chicken pan-roasted in good quality ghee is paired with lacy rice crepes for a delicious and wholesome meal.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. There is no such thing as too many chicken recipes! Curries, gravies, pan roasts or fried recipes – there are literally a thousand ways you can make them. There is such a wealth of technique and ingredients from each corner of India, it is probably impossible, or at least very difficult, to be able to cover them all.
Mangalorean cuisine or the collective cuisine from South Karnataka has many similarities to cuisines from Kerala since they both use a lot of coconut, curry leaves and pepper.
But today’s recipe is for Mangalore style chicken roast. Chicken roast in this case refers to chicken pan-roasted with onions, ginger, garlic, spices and other ingredients. It is very similar to this Tamil style chicken roast that I have on my blog. But the specialty of Mangalore style chicken ghee roast is the generous use of ghee. It’s right there in the name, so you have to use it. Oil simply doesn’t cut it, so use the liquid gold. That’s right, ghee is pure liquid gold.
I love ghee. It elevates everything it comes into contact with. Mixed with hot rice or smeared on parathas, it is simple, effortless comfort food. When used to fry Indian sweets or to make biryani and pilafs, it makes it fit for royalty. And when you use it in this chicken recipe, you end up with an amazing flavor that you simply cannot get by using oil or even butter. Now that we’ve established the importance of using only ghee in this recipe, let’s move on, ‘kay?!!
Chicken ghee roast can be served with rice or rotis, but one crackling combo from the South Canara region is ghee roast and neer dosa.
Dosas are fermented rice crepes from South India, but neer dosa doesn’t need any fermentation at all. It is made with a water-thin (neer means water) batter made with rice and fresh coconut. The batter is cooked in a well-seasoned pan, folded and served immediately. Neer dosa doesn’t brown like traditional dosas or other flatbreads. It stays whitish even after cooking, so keep that in mind. It is thin, lacy and simply delicious with a lip-smacking hot curry like this chicken ghee roast.
I use my seasoned cast iron pan to make the neer dosas, as it is done traditionally. You can also use a nonstick skillet otherwise.
You can use other meat instead of chicken in this recipe. But you may need to alter the cooking times depending on what you use. I personally also like shrimp ghee roast just as much I like the chicken version.
- Chicken drumsticks - 6, skinless
- Yogurt - ¼ cup
- Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
- Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tsp
- Red chili powder - 2 tsp (use Kashmiri chili for a deeper color without much heat)
- Dried red chilies - 6-8
- Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
- Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
- Fenugreek seeds - a pinch
- Cloves - 3
- Red onion - 1 small, diced
- Garlic - 6 large cloves
- Tamarind pulp - ¼ cup (extracted from a lime-sized ball of tamarind fruit or use just 2 tsp tamarind concentrate)
- Ghee - 5 tbsp
- Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
- Jaggery or brown sugar - 2 tsp
- Salt - to taste
- Lime juice - 1 tsp
- Rice - 1 cup, any small or medium grained rice
- Coconut - ½ cup, freshly grated
- Salt - 1 tsp
- Water - as needed
- Chicken ghee roast: Make a couple of slash marks in the chicken drumsticks. Rub yogurt, turmeric powder, red chili powder, ginger-garlic paste and ½ tsp salt all over the meat. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.
- In a skillet, roast the dried red chilies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and cloves till fragrant. Cool slightly and grind to a smooth paste along with red onions, garlic and tamarind pulp. Set aside.
- Heat 3 tbsp ghee in a large pan. Arrange chicken pieces in pan without marinade juices and fry lightly on all sides to seal in the juices. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Heat the rest of the ghee. Add curry leaves and the ground spice paste. Saute on medium heat till you see the ghee separating at the sides.
- Now return the chicken to the pan along with any reserved marinade juices, jaggery and salt to taste.
- Coat chicken with all the spices, cover and cook on low heat till done. Check a couple of times in between to make sure the chicken is not sticking to the bottom. If so, you can sprinkle some water and continue to cook.
- Once chicken is done, raise the heat and reduce the gravy till it is thick and coats all the chicken pieces well. Sprinkle lime juice and remove from heat.
- Keep covered till ready to serve.
- Neer dosa: Wash rice in water a couple of times. Soak in water for a couple of hours so that it is easy to grind.
- Grind the drained rice and coconut with some water to make a smooth batter. Remove to a bowl and add salt and enough water to make a very thin batter that just coats a ladle dipped in it.
- Heat a well-seasoned cast iron (or nonstick) griddle till a drop of water dropped on it sizzles immediately.
- Lightly grease the pan with a wadded paper towel dipped in some oil. Pour a ladle full of batter (around ¼ cup) in the center of the pan and quickly swirl it around to coat the entire pan with batter. It doesn't have to be perfect, but make sure it is a thin layer.
- Cover with a large lid and cook for 30 seconds. When you notice that the batter is cooked, slide a spatula under the dosa and fold it into triangles. Remember that neer dosa will not brown when cooked.
- Remove dosa to a plate and set aside. Repeat with the rest of the batter. This batter will make around 15-20 neer dosas.
- Serve immediately with chicken ghee roast, chutneys or other curries. Neer dosa is best enjoyed fresh.
2. Neer dosas tend to stick to one another when hot, so do not stack them up. Serve them in separate plates or layer them with parchment paper.
Do try this delicious combo for lunch or dinner. Neer dosas are excellent for breakfast too, since you do not need it to be fermented. Neer dosa batter can be refrigerated, but you will need to thin it out with water and bring it to room temperature before making the dosas.
Have you tried Mangalore cuisine? Any favorites? Do try this chicken ghee roast and neer dosa. I’m sure you will love it!
Here are more chicken curry recipes for you to try.
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