Monday, June 17, 2013

Raw Mango Chicken Curry

Last year on my many trips to Chennai, a colleague and I went to Fisherman's Cove at the Taj Vivanta, Mahabalipuram for dinner. It was a lovely evening, the restaurant was right on the beach, and the food was fresh and delicious. Sitting by the sea, enjoying the balmy breeze and the interesting cocktails, we had one of our best meals in Chennai. And that's saying something because I love the food of that city - from Ponnusamy, to Zaras, to Benjarong! Chennai has some of the most diverse and amazing restaurants I have ever been to.

Though our entire meal at Fisherman's Cove was good, this one dish really stood out. I forget what exactly it was called, but it was a Chicken curry made with raw mangoes. The sauce was an earthy red in colour, thin and silky in consistency, sour but without being mouth-puckeringly so, extremely spicy yet creamy, and absolutely delicious.

This colleague and I have often gone into rhapsodies just remembering this particular dish and it has been on my mind to try and recreate it. I finally got around to doing that today.

So even though I have many unpublished posts languishing in my drafts, I am excited enough by today's culinary experiment to upload this immediately. So here's my version:


Boneless chicken - 500 grams
Raw Mango - 1 large
Fresh Coconut - 3" piece
Dried Red Chillies - 2
Green Chillies - 4
Mustard Seeds - 2 tsp
Curry Leaves - A handful
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Pepper - to taste

For the marinade:
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Curd - 1 tbsp
Turmeric - 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder - 1 tbsp

Wash the chicken and marinate for half an hour with the curd, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric and chilli powder.

Meanwhile, cut the raw mango and coconut into small pieces and blend with the red and green chillies in the mixer with a little water, till it forms a smooth paste. It should not be coarse, so blend it as fine as you can.

In a deep bottom pan, heat 1 tbsp oil and add the mustard seeds. Once they start sputtering, add the curry leaves. Lower flame and add the marinated chicken. Mix well, cover and cook for about 10min.

After 10 min, add about a teaspoon of salt and pour in the mango-coconut-chillies paste. Mix well, sprinkle some freshly ground pepper and more chilli powder if you so desire. Cover and cook for at least 20min till the chicken is done. Adjust seasoning and take off flame.

The way I like it:
This version of the Raw mango Chicken Curry was nowhere close to what we had at the Taj, but it was pretty good as chicken curries go :) It was tangy, spicy and had a hint of coconutty sweetness. Tasted great with both rice and rotis. I took it to office for lunch and came back with a dabba that was licked clean! And for a change, the husband who hates experimenting with different flavour profiles (esp sweet and sour) also loved it! So I think its definitely a recipe for keeps.

The next time though, I'm going to tweak this recipe with some more red chillies for the colour, and maybe coconut milk instead of fresh coconut for a smoother consistency. A little more raw mango would also help, unless the mangoes you use are really really sour.