Entrees

Malvani Chicken Curry with Vade

Malvani chicken curry with vade

Tender stewed chicken in spicy coconut based curry with fresh aroma of Malvani masala served with savory vade.

Malvani chicken curry with vade

The mere mention of the two words ‘Murgh Makhani” more commonly known as Butter Chicken is enough to get mouths watering everywhere around the world. Now I bring to you its big rival for your culinary affections “Murgh Malvani” or “Kombdi Vade” as the locals fondly call it. It is a deliciously spicy chicken curry eaten with vade which is basically a fluffy bread made up of a blend of flours. This dish is going to leave you in a hot sweaty mess but a very satisfied stomach.

I do have to credit my mom (moms can do that even when they are 6000 miles away) for helping me perfect this dish but I would like to thank facebook for inspiring me to make it in the first place. A very dear friend of mine recently posted pictures of our visit to the picturesque Tarkarli Beach which is in the town of Malvan located in the southernmost region of Maharashtra. This town is famous for a quiet a few things; most importantly its natural beauty, the famous Sindhudurg fort and not to forget the spicy curries flavoured with the unique malvani masala (spice blend).

A lot of memories came flooding back on seeing those pictures. The serene beach, the stunningly beautiful Sindhudurg fort and last but not the least enjoying the unique flavors of malvan in the company of good friends. This region has its own distinct cuisine which uses coconut in a variety of ways, predominantly features ingredients like tamarind, raw mango and kokam and has some distinctly different spice blends. This town is very near the coast. So combining this beautiful cuisine with the fresh fish creates a magical experience for our palates.

It is certainly not possible to create the same magic here in Dallas but I decided to give it a shot anyways. Among the many recipes available to me I went for the one which brings back memories of my childhood and that is chicken curry served with fluffy vadas or “Kombdi Vade” as it is fondly called. I still remember waking up to the smells of the freshly ground malvani masala on a lazy Sunday morning. My dad was already out getting the meat and the moment he came back my impatient nature took over because I would start pestering mom about getting to eat this sumptuous curry. It always took a while for her to make it but the end result was always worth the wait.

As is the case with a popular dish there are a lot of different versions of this recipe which are out there. This is my simple attempt at making it with a little bit of Malvani flair.

As a rule I always marinate the meat overnight before cooking it. I believe that it makes the meat more tender and flavorful. So whisk together yogurt, pepper powder, turmeric and red chili powder in a bowl.  Cut the chicken thighs into small pieces and add to the above mixture. Cover and let it marinate in the fridge overnight.

Malvani chicken curry with vade

To make Malvani masala : Dry roast green cardamom seeds, cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a pan individually till fragrant. Cool the roasted spices and grind in a coffee grinder to a fine powder. This powdered masala can be stored in an air tight container for few months. A lot of people use dried red chillies to add the extra zing into the curry. The chillies that I had were not that potent so I simply substituted them with chilli powder in the marinade.

Malvani chicken curry with vade

Dry roast onion in a small pan. Transfer the onion in a food processor and grind with coconut milk to get a paste.

In a heavy bottom pan heat oil and add cumin seeds. When the seeds splutter add onion and coconut paste. Simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in the tomato puree and cook till oil starts separating. Add marinated chicken and 1 tbsp of Malvani masala and red chilli powder. Let the chicken cook in its juices for few minutes. Now add desired water, bring the curry to boil.

Malvani chicken curry with vade

Season with salt and kokum syrup. This is another unique feature of this cuisine which changes the flavor profile of this curry. Cover and cook for another 15 min or till the chicken is soft and tender. Garnish with fresh coriander.

Now comes the vade or the fluffy bread which you can use to soak up the spicy goodness of the chicken curry. It is usually made with a different blend of flours but I kept it simple and mine with rice flour instead.

Rinse and soak black gram and fenugreek seeds in enough water for 3 hours. Drain the water and blend to make a fine paste by adding very little water. Dry roast coriander and cumin seeds in a small pan. Grind to make fine powder. Mix together rice flour, semolina, turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder and cumin powder, oil and salt. Then add the black gram and fenugreek paste and mix everything together till it looks like breadcrumbs.  Knead slowly to form a soft dough using hot water little at a time. Cover and let it rest for 2 hours.

Malvani chicken curry with vade

Divide the dough into 9 equal portions. Place the individual portions on an aluminum foil and lightly pat down with your palm from all the sides to form a circle with an even thickness.

Malvani chicken curry with vade

Heat oil in a deep frying pan on a medium heat. Once the oil is hot. Gently slide the vada into the oil and  fry till golden brown on each side. Drain on an absorbent paper.

Malvani chicken curry with vade

Eating this malvani chicken curry with these puffy vadas is an absolute delight. If you throw in a glass of cool and refreshing solkadhi (another malvani speciality) then I am in food heaven!!!

Malvani chicken curry with vade

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Malvani Chicken Curry with Vade
Author: 
 
Tender stewed chicken in spicy coconut based curry with fresh aroma of Malvani masala served with savory vade.
Ingredients
Marination
  • 1½ pound Chicken (boneless skinless thighs)
  • 1 cup Yogurt
  • 1 tsp Pepper powder
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • 2 tsp Red chilli powder (Depends on the desired spicyness)
Malvani Masala
  • 5 Green Cardamom
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 7 Cloves
  • 1 Star anise
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
Curry
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 cup Tomato puree
  • 1 big Onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup Coconut milk
  • 2 tsp Red Chili powder
  • 1 tbsp Kokum Syrup (soak the kokum in water for about 30 minutes)
  • Salt as per taste
Vade
  • 1 cup Rice flour
  • 1 tbsp Semolina (Rava)
  • 1 tbsp Black gram/ Whole urad dal
  • ½ tsp Fenugreek Seeds (Methi)
  • ½ tsp Coriander Seeds
  • ½ tsp Cumin Seeds
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • Salt
  • Hot Water as required
Instructions
Malvani Chicken
  1. Whisk together yogurt, pepper powder, turmeric and red chili powder in a bowl. Cut the chicken thighs into small pieces and add to the above mixture. Cover and let it marinate in the fridge overnight.
  2. To make Malvani masala : Dry roast green cardamom seeds, cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a pan individually till fragrant. Cool the roasted spices and grind in a coffee grinder to a fine powder. This powdered masala can be stored in an air tight container for few months.
  3. Dry roast onion in a small pan. Transfer the onion in a food processor and grind with coconut milk to get a paste.
  4. In a heavy bottom pan heat oil and add cumin seeds. When the seeds splutter add onion and coconut paste. Simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Mix in the tomato puree and cook till oil starts separating.
  6. Add marinated chicken and 1 tbsp of Malvani masala and red chili powder. Let the chicken cook in its juices for few minutes. Now add desired water, bring the curry to boil.
  7. Season with salt and kokum syrup. Cover and cook till the chicken is soft and tender.
  8. Garnish with fresh coriander.
Vade
  1. Rinse and soak black gram and fenugreek seeds in enough water for 3 hours. Drain the water and blend to make a fine paste by adding very little water.
  2. Dry roast coriander and cumin seeds in a small pan. Grind to make fine powder
  3. Take rice flour and semolina in a plate. Add turmeric, coriander and cumin powder, oil, salt and mix.
  4. Add black gram and fenugreek paste mix everything together till it looks like breadcrumbs.
  5. Add hot water little at a time and mix with spoon. Knead slowly to form a soft dough. Cover and let it rest for 2 hours.
  6. Divide the dough into 9 equal portions. Place the individual portions on an aluminum foil and lightly pat down with your palm from all the sides to form a circle with an even thickness.
  7. Heat oil in a deep frying pan on a medium heat. Once the oil is hot. Gently slide the vade into the oil and fry till golden brown on each side. Drain on an absorbent paper.

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