There are certain words which make a Mangalorean's ears perk up. "Gheeroast" and "Kori Rotti" are a couple of them. Ask any non-vegetarian Mangalorean what his favourite food is and kori rotti will probably feature in his top 5.
Kori rotti essentially means chicken curry on rice rotis. The "Rottis" are thin crispy sheets made of rice which soak up the curry and turn deliciously soggy. Half the fun of having this curry is with the rottis - they are definitely a great accompaniment.
Previously I used to get rottis from India but I was elated to find them in an Indian store here in Sunnyvale. This is what rottis look like -
For the chicken curry recipe, I resorted to the internet and saw it featured on several websites. I read through the recipes and adjusted the spices as I was cooking.
1 large onion
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds (jeera)
4 to 5 cloves
3 to 4 cardamom
12 to 15 mild red chillies (byadgi / kumte mirsang)
2 tsp chopped ginger
4 to 5 chopped garlic
2 tbsp grated coconut
1/4 tsp haldi powder
1 marble-sized tamarind
1/2 cup thick coconut milk
Approx 1 kg chicken, skinned and chopped
Salt to taste
6 to 8 curry leaves
[ I used coconut milk from a can which is very thick. If you are using homemade coconut milk you may have to adjust it accordingly]
In a large deep bottomed pan, heat oil and sauté onions till they turn brownish. Remove half of the roasted onions and transfer to a blender. Keep the large pan aside.
In a small pan, heat 1 tbsp oil. Roast coriander seeds, jeera, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, red chillies, ginger, garlic and coconut on a low flame till they are lightly roasted and you get a nice aroma. Transfer this to the blender and grind along with the previously roasted 1/2 onion, haldi powder, tamarind, 1/4 cup coconut milk. Add about a cup of water little by little as you blend into a smooth paste - make sure the paste is smooth.
In the large pan (which already has 1/2 the roasted onions), pour this paste. Add chicken pieces and salt and mix well. Add 1/4 cup coconut milk and 1/2 cup water and cook covered for about 40 minutes or till chicken is completely cooked. Add more water if required, adjust salt and cook for a few more minutes.
Season with curry leaves.
To serve, place the rottis on a plate, pour curry all over it, wait for a few seconds till the rottis get soggy and enjoy!