Goan Chilli Chicken

As we are inching towards another festive season my kitchen sees a lot of experiments with chicken and other meat dishes - so far it has been a lot of chicken and a less of the other kind mainly because you can pair up a good chicken curry or side dish along with your regular weekday meal. Since poultry is my my all time favourite we tried our hands at other birds too, but more of that later. I love bookmarking almost every possible chicken recipe that I come across in books that I own or borrow from the library or simply browse on the net. This recipe is an adaptation of what I found in Sanjeev Kapoor's book on the Konkan Coastal cuisine and it was a crowd-pleaser I must say. You can either cook it up during the week or reserve the recipe to charm your guests when you invite someone special or simply adorn your dining table during a festive occasion. 

Simple to put together and easy to make, I haven't tasted the 'authentic' version in a restuarant in Goa on my several trips there but I am guessing it is the nearest to what is available there. I found the dish pretty versatile. It pairs up really well with red/brown rice (boiled rice) and some dal and also with some fresh, piping hot chapathis as the masala is finger lickin' good! Tastes awesome the next day too. This is definitely something you can take to your workplace and impress your colleagues :-) Hope you enjoy it!

Goan Chilli Chicken
Prep time: 15 mins + 2 hrs marination time | Cook time: 20 - 25mins |Serves 4

For the marination:
For the spice powder:
1. Remove the skin from the chicken thighs, wash and drain very well. Pat them dry using a kitchen tissue
2. Grind all the ingredients mentioned under 'For the marination' to a fine paste - try not to use water while grinding but if you must, use very little or you will end up with a watery marinate.
3. Add the lime juice and salt to taste (I used approx 1 level teaspoon) to the ground paste and marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours with this marinade (refrigerate it preferably)
4. To prepare the spice powder, dry roast each of the ingredients mentioned under 'For the spice powder' on a hot tawa/griddle - take care not to burn any of them so maintain the heat at a medium high. Remove the spices onto a plate to cool completely, then grind to a fine powder (don't use any water - we need a dry powder, not a masala paste)
5. Heat about 2 tablespoons of ghee in a large wide based pan/wok and fry the chicken pieces on a high heat - take care to see that you don't overcrowd the pan or else the chicken will begin to steam instead of fry. Fry until the pieces turn light golden on both sides and are partially cooked.
6. Now reduce the heat and add the spice powder and mix well.  Add the remaining ghee, tomato puree and let it cook.
7. Add the sugar, adjust the salt and cook till the chicken is done. Stir in the vinegar, mix and remove from heat.
8. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with rice or chapathis.

1. This recipe calls for a lot of green chillies - I used the medium-low spicy ones and so the heat was tolerable. If you are using the smallest variety of green chillies note that they will be deadly in terms of spice - so either deseed them and use or simply reduce the total quantity of chillies used. If you wish you can increase the quantity of dry red chillies and reduce the quantity of green chillies used.

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