Kukul Mas Curry ~ Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

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When the themes for the Blogging Marathon #84 were declared, I didn’t think twice about the second theme to choose. It had to be “Sinhalese Cuisine”. There was a little confusion when I started with it. We know Sri Lanka as a country, but a little digging indicated that Sinhalese are the largest portion of people in Sri Lanka, and they are Buddhist. Their food reigns majority in the country. There are then the Tamils and the Muslims who have slightly varied ways of cooking. Sounds similar to how it is in Kerala too!

 

So having cleared up the confusion of what cuisine I can look for, I ended up getting so confused with what I should be trying. Somehow the first to catch my attention was their chicken curry and I had to make it.ย Though the curry feels so much like our style, it is different in its own way. Also, there is a wide variety of spices used in this curry. You wouldn’t believe how many recipes I read through for this curry. Almost 5-6 pages of whatever Google threw up on me. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just as I had expected, every person had recipes with their own variations. Reading through all, I came to the below conclusion:

  1. Cinnamon and cardamom must be there in the tempering stage for the curry.
  2. Coconut milk is a must to add.
  3. Spices use can vary from person to person.
  4. Pandan leaf is used for flavoring, which I skipped since I couldn’t get a small quantity.

 

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Many recipes used Sri Lankan curry powder or even Madras curry powder. Even though I had the latter in my pantry, I wouldn’t use it since I really wanted to use all spices. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So I went by what was majorly used in most of the recipes and included it. There was only one post which indicated use of a roasted coconut paste – it was a travalogue and was more of a vivid explanation of how the grandmother in picture had made the curry. The roasted coconut paste was really so tempting that even though I couldn’t find it any other post, I still went ahead and made it. I was so glad I did! It was super exercise for my biceps (ahem! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) but it was totally worth it.

 

Some recipes used tamarind pulp but I have skipped it. I guess it would include a nice tangy angle to this curry. All in all it was a super tasting gravy. I slow cooked it in a chatti (earthern pot) and what better way to cook it! I wouldn’t say this is an authentic version, but I am sure I would love to try it from somewhere to know how the real thing tastes like. Since the taste was so close to our own preparation, it was a hit with the family. We enjoyed it with some ghee rice in the afternoon, and mopped up the remaining gravy with some bread at night. Just like any coconut based curry, as it sits the curry thickens, so add more warm water for gravy. This is an amazing curry, which deserves a try! Off to the recipe…

 

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4.5 from 4 votes

Kukul Mas Curry ~ Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

Course Main Course
Cuisine Sri Lankan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Author Rafeeda

Ingredients

  • 1 kg chicken cut into small pieces (I used drumsticks)
  • 1/4 cup coconut roasted till golden brown
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 bruised cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 1 heaped tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 1 pandan leaf optional but recommended, didn't use
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp fennel powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala powder optional

Instructions

  • Wash the chicken and set aside to drain.
  • Mash the roasted coconut using your mortar and pestle till it becomes pasty and releases oil. The process is a little hand exercise but worth it!
  • Grind the other coconut with 1/2 cup of water, extract the thick coconut milk and set aside. Add 1/2 cup more water and grind. Extract the second coconut milk and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a chatti (earthern pot - recommended). Fry the cardamom and cinnamon briefly.
  • Fry the ginger garlic paste and curry leaves till it releases a nice aroma.
  • Add the onions and fry till it is golden brown.
  • Add in the powders and saute till roasted.
  • Add in the chicken along with some salt and toss.
  • Add in the tomatoes and roasted coconut paste and cook for five minutes.
  • Add the second coconut milk along with water as required and cook the curry till the chicken come off the bone. Stir in between to avoid the curry sticking to the bottom.
  • Once the chicken is done, add the first coconut milk and garam masala, if using and immediately switch off. Allow the curry to rest for flavors to develop.
  • Serve with your choice of side.

Notes

I used half chilli powder and half Kashmiri Chilli powder to keep the heat minimal.

 

Check out theย Blogging Marathon pageย to see what the other Blogging Marathoners are doing this BM#84

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Join the Conversation

  1. I can never tell the difference among all the different curries…but I know I love all of them. This looks so yummy!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      It is tough unless you are really well-versed with it…. Thanks a lot Angie…

  2. The name of the curry sounds very interesting and the curry looks delicious and flavor filled with the roasted coconut and all those spices that goes in ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Ruxana… ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I am yet to try both coconut milk and roasted coconut in the same gravy! Anything with coconut is bound to be yumm….
    But so true when we often make dishes from recipes we learnt over net , we often wonder is this how the dish is supposed to taste and hope to taste the authentic one to know how close we are to it.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      This is the first time I am trying both together too… it’s always either one of them… it is tough to find authentic in this age when everybody is trying to give their own twists to recipes… Thanks a lot Ria…

  4. Yes, Sri Lankan chicken looks just like Indian curry. Chatti is a kadai, Rafeeda?

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Chatti is earthern pot… Thanks a lot Usha…

  5. Wow you have really spent so much time digging into the cuisine. That’s fantastic. I guess each recipe however authentic one claims will again change as per family. So one can never say for sure!..I love the flavour roasted coconut lends to the kurma, we also use that way and love it..very nicely plated your dish Rafeeda..

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Very similar to kurma but with coconut milk too! Thank you so much Valli…

  6. 3 stars
    Wow.. looks amazing and healthy. Perfect recipe for chicken lover… even i also love to try gravy style with paneer or soya as non vegetarian person.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Preeti…

  7. Yummy curry,love creamy coconut curry,bookmarked.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks Suja…

  8. I love coconut based gravies and for this main reason, I am loving the Sri Lankan cuisine. This sounds like one addictive curry with all forms of coconut going in.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Sandhya…

  9. 5 stars
    I enjoyed reading the process in how you came up with the recipe. I too was initially stumped by the Singhalese and to be honest I cant verify that mine are all Singhalese although they are sri Lankan

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      It is a tough process for us with limited knowledge to know the differentiation… ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much Mir…

  10. That is an impressive research, Rafeeda. I have recently begun to appreciate coconut milk in my gravies and I am sure the vegetable version is just as flavorful.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Harini…

  11. Looks very tempting, I have not yet tried using coconut milk in gravy yet. Surely my non vegetarian friends will love this recipe. Clicks are beautiful.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Priya…

  12. looks yumm …. We visited Sri lanka during the school holidays , have got a post coming up about our trip. Maybe next time you come home to india you should visit sri lanka and maldives ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Haha… I always wish to… but we don’t even move within Kerala because of super tight schedules! Thank you so much Nammi… ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Quite a flavourful chicken curry, definitely a fingerlicking goodness dish to enjoy with a bowl of rice or rotis. And simply loved the name of this dish.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Priyakka…

  14. 5 stars
    Yes Rafeeds, the Kerala cuisine and Sri Lankan cuisine are so similar!! You sure did a lot of research before making this dish!!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much PJ…

  15. Wow, that is such a flavorful and delicious Chicken curry. The spice pastes is what I like in Sri Lankan recipes — they make the dishes taste soooo unique and absolutely yummy!!!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Pavani…

  16. Chicken curry looks awesome… Good to know another way to cook the chicken curry.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Anupa…

  17. Sapana Behl says:

    5 stars
    Srilankan chicken curry sounds very flavorful and must have been delicious too.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Sapana…

  18. You have explored well into the Srilankan cuisine and brought out unique recipes.. Lovely presentation and pics!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Suja…

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