Kori- Roti/ Bunt’s Special Chicken Curry with Crispy Rice Crepes

Kori Roti is a Mangalorean Bunt Speciality. ‘Kori’ means Chicken in Tulu – the local language of Mangalore and ‘Ghassi’ means a rich and spicy coconut gravy. When the kori and roti are married together, the crispy paper thin Roti’s or crispy rice flakes,  absorb all the goodness of the spicy Chicken Curry, and  produce this soft textured rice crepes that is tasty, coconut-tey and truly hard to resist. These roti’s  are best bought in any Mangalore store in India, as they are not easy to make at home. 

The best memories I have of eating Kori-Roti  goes way back to when I was little. We used to go on family summer holidays to dad’s native place in Mangalore, where his eldest brother lives with his family. 

I remember before we went to Uncle’s house, dad used to stop at the Mangalore market and pick up a fresh meat and vegetables, so that his Sister in law/ Voni- in Konkani, who is awesome cook, could cook us up a feast of traditonal mangi fare for lunch. In all the years that we have visited, Kori- Roti and Tendli-sukke (gherkins dry vegetable with coconut) was hallmark.

As our Ambassador car laden with goods arrived at Uncle’s house, we kids used to make our way down to the river that flowed through the land, where we would slip off our shoes and dip our feet in the chill, free flowing, clear stream of water, and admire  nature in all its glory. Elegantly swaying coconut and betulnut laden palms, amongst sweet smelling coffee and fruit trees….hmmm…bliss!  

While dad caught up with his brother, Voni and her daughter Pulu, had the ginormous task of preparing us a banquet. To make the spice paste/ masala, Voni would grind down spices and coconut on a traditional vaan (grinding stone/mortar pestle chiselled out of granite) , and then cook the chicken curry on a ranni (earthen stove fuelled by firewood). The wonderful flavours imparted to the chicken curry by grinding the spices on this stone and cooking it on firewood is unforgettable, and unfortunately cannot be replicated in toto in our modern day kitchens.

At lunch time we would sit on the floor, break up the thin crispy riceflakes/ roti’s  into smaller pieces into our plates, and then pour over Voni’s rich, flavourful and spicy Kori Ghassi (Chicken Curry), wait till the curry softened the roti , then eat it with gusto. These are unforgettable memories, I wish we could hold onto. 

On our last trip to Mangalore a few years ago, I noted down Voni’s Kori Ghassi recipe, and am glad that I did, as recipes like this are so easily lost or forgotten. Thankyou Voni for sharing your recipe with me.

So here it is, for all you K-R fan’s…..go on  Tickle your senses!!

To make Voni’s Kori Ghassi you will need:
Chicken: 1kg skinned and cut into small pieces
Coconut milk (thick) : 1/4 – 1/2 cup 
Tamarind extract: 1 tsp
Few curry leaves
Ghee/ oil: 2 tsps

For the masala: Roast and Grind
Dried Kashmiri chillies: 9
Short red dried chillies : 3-4
Grated fresh coconut: 1 handful
Coriander seeds: 2 tbsps
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Peppercorns: 10 nos
Cloves: 6
Cinnamon: 1 inch stick
Methi seeds: 1/4 tsp
Garlic flakes: 2 large or 4 small
Onion: 1 medium

1. Roast the freshly grated coconut to a golden brown colour and then each of the remaining ingredients seperately. Place in a blender. Add the tamarind extract and grind to a smooth paste with a little water.
2. Heat oil/ ghee in a vessel, add sliced onion and curry leaves and fry till onions turn lightly brown.
3. Add the chicken pieces and salt and fry for another 5 minutes.
3. Add the ground masala, masala water (obtained by rinsing blender with 1- 1.5 cups of drinking water)  and salt, cook till chicken is done.
4. Add the thick coconut milk, and more water if required to make the right consistency of gravy ( should not be too thin) , bring to a gentle boil, check for seasonings.

Serve hot with roti’s, sanaas, mutlees (steamed rice dumplings), panpole or rice.


Useful tip:
  •  My mom  adds cubed boiled potatoes or mushrooms to the gravy for variation.

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