The Kolhapuri cuisine has bold and sharp flavours and is heavy on the spice…mostly because of the special Kolhapuri masala which predominantly uses the home grown Lavangi mirchi.
I have used a lot of store bought kolhapuri masalas in my cooking but was never satisfied with the taste. They somehow they didn’t feel fresh. It was only when I made the masala at home from the scratch that I realised the reason… one of the main ingredient in the masala is dry coconut which needs to be roasted well..if not it goes rancid and the masala loses all its taste.
For this recipe I made the kolhapuri masala from the scratch..took some liberty by replacing the spicier lavangi mirchi with the low on spice but high on color kashmiri red chillies.
This masala can be stored in airtight containers for about a month without it losing its flavour.
Also i have used small pieces of chicken as they are easier to cook especially when cooking without water.
1/2 kg Chicken
1 tbsp Ginger Garlic paste
1/2 tsp Turmeric (haldi) powder
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
1 tsp Salt
3 tbsp Oil
3 Finely chopped Oniona
2 finely chopped Tomatoes
2 Whole red Chillies for garnish
8 Kashmiri Red Chillies
1 tsp Cumin seeds (jeera)
1 tbsp Coriander seeds (Dhania)
1 tsp Sesame seeds
2 Bay leaves
1 tsp Peppercorns
2 Big Cardamoms (masala elaichi)
2 Star Anise
1 Dry Lichen (dagadful)
1 inch Cinnamon
1/4th Cup Grated Dry Coconut
1/4th tsp Fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
1 tsp Poppy seeds (khuskhus)
Heat a pan and add the grated dry coconut. When it starts to change color add all the other spices except the poppy seeds. Roast on low heat till fragrant and the coconut turns light brown. At this stage add the poppy seeds (poppy seeds need to be added at the end else they get burnt and lose the taste) Take off the heat immediately and cool. Once cooled grind to a coarse powder.
Marinate the Chicken with the ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt.
This recipe can be made using Mutton too. If using Mutton...cook the marinated mutton in a pressure cooker with 1 cup water for 3 to 4 whistles on low to medium heat.
Heat 3 tbsp Oil in a pan. Add the finely chopped onions and cook till golden brown.
Add the finely chopped Tomatoes and cook till oil seperates.
Now add the marinated Chicken and saute for a minute on high heat.
Tip in the prepared masala. I added the whole quantity but you can add about 3/4th of of it and adjust it later.
Add 1/2 tsp Salt and mix well.
Cover the lid and cook for 20 mins till done. If it feels too dry you can add 1/4th cup water.
I fried 2 Red Chillies in oil and used them as garnish...this is entirely optional.
The Authentic Kolhapuri masala has a lot of additional spices in it like the nagkesar, the fennel, numeg etc which at times are a little difficult to source. The one I made here goes well with this recipe, will be making the authentic masala too in the upcoming kolhapuri recipes.