Kolhapuri chicken curry is one of those undiscovered gems one must try when the occasion arises. This recipe follows a very simple method to prepare deliciously rich homemade Kolhapuri masala, which is used to cook and marinate the juicy chicken chunks. Serve with fragrant steamed rice or chapattis, and don't forget to drizzle a few lemon drops on top!
The second time I visited India with Jay was about ten years ago now and we honestly thought a road trip - across India - in one of the smallest cars I have EVER seen - would be extremely romantic.
We decided to start small, after all, how long can Mumbai-Goa [and back] take?
We carefully planned our trip, with the descent on the coast and the return inland, through Belgaum, Kolhapur, Satara, and Pune.
On the way down we stopped in a Dhaba to have lunch with eggs bhurji and toast, we stretched our legs in little villages and had chai with the locals, but, the way back to Mumbai was the fun part!
We had mangoes (and bought some back to my in-laws) in Belgaum, asked so many times ’Bhaisaab, Mumbai kider hai?’ and it was always straight ahead (no matter where we were!), and had a great lunch on the highway, close to Kolhapur (apparently I had to see Kolhapuri chappals!) and it was great. Yes, it was Kolhapuri chicken curry.
We enjoyed it so much, I tried many recipes at home, mixed them all together, and finally - after using many pages in my recipe book - found the one.
The Kolhapuri Masala is made of delicious grated coconut, whole spices, and Kashmiri chilies, while the curry is a mixture of juicy chicken, golden brown onions, ginger garlic paste, and fresh cilantro leaves.
Having now our own food blog, this spicy chicken curry had to take a page, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
And if you enjoy making your homemade masala, then you must try this Black Pepper Sri Lankan Curry!
Kolhapuri Chicken Curry Ingredients
- Grated Coconut: Fresh or freshly frozen will work best. Coconut gives this curry its Maharashtrian essence, as well as the thick gravy.
- Cinnamon Stick, Cumin Seeds, Cardamom [Geen and Black], Star Aniseed, Cloves, Mace, Poppy Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Black Peppercorns, Bay Leaf, Dry Kashmiri Chilies: These are the whole Indian spices used to make the Kolhapuri Masala.
- Chicken: Bone-in, skinless thighs are the best choice when it comes to curry, as they remain moist and tender.
- Ginger Garlic Paste, and Lemon Juice: These are used for the first marinade of the chicken, and add depth to the curry.
- Vegetable Oil: Any flavorless vegetable oil, such as sunflower oil will do. Coconut oil is not really suitable for this dish, as it is mostly used in South Indian cooking.
- Onions: Together with the coconut, gives body to the Kolhapuri chicken.
- Turmeric Powder, and Nutmeg: The only two powdered spices used in this flavorful curry.
- Fresh Cilantro, and Lemon Wedges: To top the spicy chicken curry and give it some freshness.
How To Make Kolhapuri Masala?
- To make Kolhapuri masala start by roasting some grated coconut; this should be done while continuously mixing.
- After a couple of minutes, add a cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, green and black cardamom, and star aniseed are added.
- After a further minute, add sesame seeds, peppercorns, and poppy seeds.
- Lastly, after another minute or so, add cloves, mace and bay leaves.
- Once all of the herbs and spices are toasted, place them on a separate plate, well spread out, to cool down.
- Finally, in the same pan, roast the whole red chilies.
- Once the chilies are roasted, allow them to cool down, before blending them into a spice mix in a grinder together with the other roasted whole spices, and the coconut.
- Once blended to a smooth paste, this dry spice paste is the Kolhapuri Masala.
How To Make Chicken Kolhapuri?
- Marinate the chicken pieces in some lemon and ginger garlic paste for about half an hour.
- Next, add a third of the chicken Kolhapuri masala and set it aside again to fully marinate.
- Start preparing the curry by lightly browning some finely chopped onions in the vegetable oil; once the onions are golden-brown, add the ginger garlic paste and fry.
- Once the smell of rawness of garlic has gone, add some turmeric and cook the spice.
- Once the turmeric starts separating from the oil, add the marinated chicken pieces and brown all around.
- As soon as the chicken is well seared, add the rest of the homemade Kolhapuri masala and mix well.
- Once these spices start separating as well, add some grated nutmeg.
- The next step is to add some fresh cilantro, salt, and water, mix well and allow the spicy chicken curry to simmer for about 15 minutes on a low flame, or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly.
- Once the chicken is cooked, serve it with some lemon juice and some more cilantro on top!
People Also Ask [FAQs]
Kolhapuri curries are known for their spicy, rich flavor and this curry is nothing less.
Kolhapuri masala is rich in a variety of spices, such as green and black cardamom, cloves, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds, as well as grated coconut and, famously, dry red chilies.
To make this recipe vegetarian you can follow the same recipe as per the chicken, but substitute vegetables in it.
These won’t need to be marinated and they can be put in the curry at the same point as the chicken would be added.
It is very common to prepare this vegetarian (and vegan, therefore) curry with mixed vegetables, such as peas, carrots, onions, green beans, and potatoes, but also tomatoes, bell peppers, cabbage, and cauliflower add great flavor and texture to this recipe.
How To Store Chicken Kolhapuri?
- In the fridge: The chicken Kolhapuri can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days, longer at your discretion.
- In the freezer: Chicken Kolhapuri can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container or suitable storage container for up to three months. Allow to thaw overnight in the fridge, before serving thoroughly reheated.
Tips and Tricks for Chicken Kolhapuri
- Coconut: Desiccated coconut is not a suitable substitute in this recipe and it is very important that either fresh or freshly frozen coconut is used. This can be easily found in the fruit and veg isle of larger supermarkets, or in the frozen section of Asian or Indian grocers.
- Ground Masala: Ensure the whole spices have been completely powdered. Should you want, a thin mesh sieve can be used to remove any residual unpowdered spice, however, this should not be necessary.
- Chicken Pieces: It is best to use bone-in chicken thighs as they offer the juiciest and most flavorful meat. As an alternative, drums are also good. Chicken breast will make a good curry too, however, the meat may end up being a bit drier and chewier.
- Cilantro [Fresh Coriander Leaves]: Try using the softer part of the stems while cooking the curry, and the tender leaves to add on top.
- Masalas: You can buy Kolhapuri masala ready made however the flavor may change from brand to brand. This masala doesn't require garam masala or red chili powder as you are making your own. No curry powder is used in Indian dishes.
- Chicken Gravy: You can adjust the thickness of the gravy by evaporating more water, or adding some more, depending on preference.
If you are looking for a delicious, easy, yet traditional recipe with a kick, then chicken Kolhapuri should be on your list.
Making homemade masala from scratch in very few steps, creating a rich and flavorful gravy, and serving the whole delicious curry with chapatis, fragrant rice, or naan bread will definitely enhance your meal.
If you try this out, please let me know your thoughts - I'd love to hear them!
🥗 Check out more chicken delights:
Delicious and Easy Kolhapuri Chicken Curry Recipe
For the Kolhapuri Masala
For the first marinade
- 300 g Chicken Mixture of thighs and drums
- 1 ½ teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste
- 2 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- Dice the chicken into approximately 1 inch cubes [3cm].
- Add the chicken to a mixing bowl and marinate it with the lemon and ginger garlic paste [ingredients in list 'first marinade'], and set aside for about half an hour.
Prepare the homemade Kolhapuri Masala
- In the meantime prepare the homemade masala.
- Warm-up a large frying pan on medium heat.
- Once the frying pan is warm add the grated coconut and stir well. Keep on mixing the coconut the whole time, so it doesn't burn in the pan; allow it to turn golden.
- Once ready [after a couple of minutes], once the edges of the coconut shreds start turning golden, add the green cardamom, black cardamom, cinnamon, cumin seeds, and star aniseed to the pan and mix keep on mixing.
- After a minute, to a minute and a half, the spices will start to be fragrant; at this point add the poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and peppercorn, and mix well again.
- After a further minute and a half, add the mace, cloves, and bay leaf, and keep on mixing for a further two minutes, ensuring no spice gets burned.
- Once all the spices are fragrant, remove them from the pan and put them on a large flat plate, spreading them out so the heat can escape.
- In the same pan, keeping it warm, add the dry red chilies and allow them to become fragrant, without burning; the chilies are ready when they are crunchy, but do not become much darker.
- Set the chilies aside with the other spices and allow them to cool down for about ten minutes, then grind until you have a fine powder.
- Your homemade Kolhapuri chicken masala is ready.
- Add half of the homemade Kolhapuri chicken masala to the chicken and mix well, then cover and allow the chicken to further marinate for another half an hour.
Start preparing Kolhapuri chicken curry
- In a large pan, add the sunflower oil and allow to heat up on a low to medium flame; once the oil is warm add the thinly chopped onion and a pinch of salt (adding the salt allows the onions to cook quicker) and mix well.
- Once the onions are golden, add the ginger garlic paste and mix well; allow the ginger garlic paste to lightly cook and fry until the smell of rawness of the garlic has gone, which will take about two minutes.
- At this stage, add the turmeric and mix well; allow the turmeric to cook for about thirty seconds until it starts separating from the oil.
- Add the chicken and sear it thoroughly, mixing it in the pan.
- Once the chicken has browned all over, add the rest of the homemade masala, mix and allow it to cook as well; this will take about two minutes until the spices start separating from the oil.
- Once the spices are ready, add the nutmeg and mix well once more.
- After a further thirty seconds, add half of the thinly chopped cilantro (try using the part where the stems are), a bit of salt, and about 2 to 2 ½ cups [500 ml] of water, and bring it to a boil.
- Once the curry is simmering, put a lid on the pan and reduce the heat to low, just to keep the curry lightly boiling away.
- Allow the chicken to cook for about 15 minutes, or until done, then remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Serve the homemade Kolhapuri chicken curry with some lemon wedges and the remaining coriander leaves sprinkled on top. Enjoy!
- It is important to have all the ingredients for the masala ready when commencing the preparation, as they need to be added quite quickly to ensure none get burnt in the process.
- Coconut is rich in oil, so you want to ensure you keep an eye on it while you roast it on the pan, as it can quickly overcook and burn. Keep mixing it continuously.
- If you see some spices are cooking too quickly, reduce the heat under the pan while you keep stirring the ingredients.
- This Kolhapuri chicken curry can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days.
- The curry can also be frozen for up to three months in a suitable storage container. Ensure it is thoroughly reheated before serving.