Mangalore is a region of southern India, and this curry is usually made with chicken where it t is known as Kori Ghassi. Mangalorean curry is firy, but offset with the sweetness from the shredded coconut and coconut milk. The spice from the cinnamon and clove give it a sweet and aromatic note too.
This particular recipe comes from looking at a variety of sources, but in the main I have to credit Sailu’s Food, Atul Kochhar (Curries of the World), and Maunika Gowardhan – as all their recipes have influenced this dish.
Cautionary Word about the Nutrition
Mangalorean curry is a rich, dense, lovely red (from the chillis) curry that’s a joy to eat – now and then! We are using coconut two ways: freshly grated coconut, and coconut milk. I suggest you consider using low fat coconut milk if you need to watch your cholesterol, because this dish is going to pack in some calories due to the fat content!
Many recipes use ghee and cooking oil. Please don’t. There’s already enough saturated fat in the coconut, don’t add more with ghee – there’s really no need.
Making the Curry
OK, this curry calls for something you might not be able to get your hands on easily in the UK, but can be made at home if you’re willing! That’s freshly grated coconut.
You might be lucky and have a local Asian shop or market that sells it either freshly grated or in the freezer section. Some shops grate coconut whilst you wait – I suspect you’ll only find this in the larger cities. If you wish, you can use dried desiccated coconut, which is easily obtained usually in the baking section of the supermarket.
Here’s how I did it. I bought two small coconuts in Tesco, made holes in the 3 little eyes at the top of the coconuts and placed the coconuts eyes-down on a glass to drain the coconut water (do not throw it away).
I then took a hammer from the tool box and very carefully, but with gusto, gave the coconuts a good whack until they cracked. The flesh can then be prized away from the shell by carefully sliding a knife between the flesh and the shell and coaxing it out. It will come out, but requires a little bit of patience.
Using a food processor, I attached the smallest grater tool and grated the coconut. I then emptied the coconut into a bowl and replaced the grater with a blade. I put the coconut back in and blitzed it until I got grated coconut.
I had way too much, so I weighed out what I needed and froze the rest!
With the water that came from inside the coconut – I used that to make the curry paste. But you can, of course, just drink it if you wish! Coconut water is very refreshing served chilled.
I made this curry quite thick – you can simply add more water to make a thinner gravy, it’s all a matter of preference. When you cook this with chicken, water naturally comes out of the chicken which loosens the mixture.
This doesn’t happen with vegetables, so the sauce will thicken.
Tamarind – hints and tips
I’ll soon write a hints and tips page about these additional ingredients, but for now – let me tell you something about using tamarind.
Tamarind is a fruit widely grown throughout south Asia and is used in south Indian cooking to provide sourness. Tamarind is also used to make drinks and desserts in some Asian countries, so it does have a broad use.
In the UK, there are two ways to buy tamarind: in dried, condensed blocks or in a tub as a concentrate. If you buy the concentrate, make sure it’s just tamarind (ingredients: 100% tamarind). This is much more convenient, because you can just stick your tablespoon in and scoop out what you need.
Once opened, keep in the fridge. I have a shelf in my fridge just for things like this.
The solid pack is just as good. You simply cut off a portion of it, and soak in hot water for around 20minutes until the tamarind pulp is softened. You then need to coax the pulp away from the seeds with your fingers until you have a dark pulpy water. Strain this in a sieve or muslin cloth, and really give it a good squeeze to extract as much water as possible. Discard the pulp, and use the water.
Where to buy Tamarind
My local Tesco sells in in the Tesco home-brand range and I’m sure other supermarkets do too. However, I buy mine in bigger tubs from the Asian supermarket, I buy both forms: the concentrate and the block.
- 1 large onion chopped
- Handful curry leaves
- 0.25 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste or soak a 3cm cube of tamarind in a about 100m hot water and soak for 20 minutes - see hints & tips about tamarind
- 200 ml coconut milk about half a can
- 2 tbsp oil
- 400 g chickpeas garbanzo beans, roughly 1 can
- 1 medium yellow pepper diced
- 1 small red onion sliced
- 1 medium carrot diced
- 1 medium aubergine eggplant, diced
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 7 or 8 dried chillis such as Kashmiri chilli, deseeded if you wish to reduce the heat
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 0.25 tsp fenugreek seeds methi
- 4 cloves
- 3 cm cinnamon stick
- 1 tbsp cooking oil I would used either coconut oil or vegetable oil
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 small red onion
- 100 g grated coconut use dessicated coconut if you prefer, but see blog for fresh - uses about one small coconut
- Toast the dry spices lightly until fragrant and then place into a spice grinder or pestal and mortar. Grind once cooled.
- Heat some oil and gently fry the garlic, ginger, onion, and coconut until the coconut is changing colour. Keep stirring to prevent buring. Once the coconut is lightly browned, the onions are soft, transfer to a blender. Add the curry spice and blend to a thick bright red paste by adding a little water (I used the coconut water from the coconuts!)
- Heat some oil in the same pan you've just used for wet spices and saute your vegetables (I used diced carrots, diced aubergine (or eggplant), and diced yellow pepper). Sprinkle on the turmeric and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the paste and curry leaves and coat the vegetables well, make sure the heat is no more than medium high and you're stirring to prevent sticking to the bottom. Add water to reduce the temperature if you need to.
- Now add the coconut milk, chickpeas (garbanzo beans) then tamarind
- Cook for a few minutes longer until all the vegetables are tender.
- Serve with rice or flat breads.
Seb is a nutritionist registered with the Association for Nutrition and a writer specialising in plant-based nutrition and men’s health. He graduated from Chester University with a masters degree in human nutrition and loves discovering new and vibrant plant-based recipes.