Kolhapuri Chicken | Spicy (Zanzanit) Chicken curry
Kolhapuri Chicken is a spicy and mouth-watering chicken curry from Kolhapuri cuisine. This cuisine has wonderful nonveg recipes and is a food paradise for spicy food lovers.
I’ve already shared the recipe of basic Maharashtrian Egg curry. You can follow the recipe to make chicken curry, however, the below recipe will make the chicken curry ultimate in taste.
What is Kolhapuri Chicken?
Kolhapuri chicken is a hot, high on whole spices and flavorful nonveg curry from the Kolhapur city in southwest Maharashtra. Traditionally, it is known as Kombdi Tambda Rassa in the Marathi language. Kombdi translates to chicken, Tambda translates to fiery red color and Rassa translates to a thin consistency curry or gravy.
People in Kolhapur give priority to mutton compared to chicken. When it comes to chicken, country/desi/gavthi kombdi is preferred to the broiler chicken. In both dishes, freshly ground masala paste is mandatory.
Apart from masala paste, dry masala powder is added to everyday dishes (veg or nonveg). There are different masala powders from various parts of Maharashtra like ‘Goda masala/Kala masala’, ‘Kanda lasun masala’, ‘Khandeshi masala’.
It is an integral part of any dish, be it rice varieties like Masale bhaat (spiced rice), Vangi bhaat (spiced brinjal rice), or dal/lentils variety like Amti (Maharashtrian dal), or Kolhapuri Misal pav.
Goda masala and Kanda lasun (onion-garlic) masala give the Maharashtrian dishes their signature fiery red color. Though the masala powders are loaded with whole spices, the dish does not taste pungent.
The spice mix (masala) is a special blend of toasting selective spices and coconut. Each household in Maharashtra has its own secret recipe with slight variations in the ingredients, their proportions, and the level of roasting. This masala mix can be stored for about 6 months.
The paste can make any dish scrumptious. Also, it adds a strong and unique flavor that makes it different from other regional cuisines in India.
Maharashtrians prefer to pair any nonveg curry with their unleavened flatbreads like chapati/ghadichi poli made of wheat flour, tandalachi bhakri made of rice flour, or bhakri made of millets like jowar and bajra.
Kolhapuri dishes found in North Indian restaurants menus are – Veg Kolhapuri, Paneer Kolhapuri, Egg Kolhapuri, Mutton, and Chicken Kolhapuri. But there are many local delicacies that are not available in Indian restaurants.
Kolhapuri Chicken recipe
The main ingredient that makes this chicken curry different is the freshly ground Kolhapuri masala paste. For the vibrant red color, special chilies lavangi chilies are used.
The curry gets its intense flavors from caramelized onions and different spices. Apart from this, Kanda lasun masala is also a common ingredient in Maharashtrian cuisine. It may not be available in your pantry, I’ve mentioned the substitute in the ingredients section.
In my recipe, the ingredients used to make the masala paste is a combination of a variety of spices. The recipe has a restaurant touch which makes the dish exceptional. Simmering the chicken pieces in the gravy, they absorb all the flavors from the special masala paste and give a wow factor.
The moment masala paste is sauteed the ingredients release aroma. It will fill your house and the nose of everyone in the home, lol. Even your neighbors will ask, What’s special cooking today?
Please be noted that the recipe below is super spicy and may not suit everyone. To tone down the fieriness and yet get the fiery red color, you can use Kashmiri dry chilies or byadagi dry chilies, or Kashmiri red chili powder. Trust me the dish will still taste great.
You can make Kolhapuri masala paste in advance, refrigerate it for a few days and freeze it for about a month.
The recipe for Kolhapuri Chicken is divided into two parts.
1. Make the Kolhapuri masala paste.
2. Make the chicken curry.
The same recipe can be followed to make Chicken Kolhapuri dry/fry, semi-gravy, and gravy. For different consistency, you need to add the masala paste accordingly.
Dry Chicken Kolhapuri: Add a little masala paste and cook the chicken pieces in their own juices.
Semi-gravy: Add the masala paste and little water. The chicken pieces will have a latpata gravy.
Gravy: Blindly follow the recipe below.
As it is an authentic recipe, the ingredients list might look a bit daunting. Also, the dish takes a bit longer time for preparation compared to regular chicken curry. Once the masala paste is ready, you will find it very easy to prepare.
The whole spices that go into making the masala may not be in your kitchen but are easily available in Indian grocery stores. So, will request you to plan in advance to make this dish.
This recipe is definitely worth a try. Your family members will fall in love with the aroma and taste instantly.
If you want to make it for guests, make the dish a day before and refrigerate or at least few hours ahead. The rest time allows the flavors to release slowly and mature with time. The taste of the curry gets even better the next day and the flavors penetrate the meat.
Reasons to make
Super delicious and flavorsome.
Perfect dish for a weekend lunch or dinner.
Kolhapuri masala is freshly made gives a unique taste to the curry.
The dish is full of traditional Kolhapuri flavors.
Can customize the spice level.
Center of attraction at parties or special occasions.
Ingredients to make Kolhapuri masala & Curry
For Kolhapuri masala: Oil, sliced onions, bay leaf, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick, green cardamom, stone flower, coriander seeds, nutmeg powder, black cardamom, fennel seeds, mace, dry coconut, kasuri methi, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, black peppercorns, fenugreek seeds, cashews, melon seeds, coriander stems & leaves, turmeric powder, kanda lasun masala or kura karam or red chili powder.
Substitution: If poppy seeds are banned in your country or do not want to add, you can skip it as cashews and melon seeds are added.
For the Chicken Kolhapuri curry:
Chicken: I recommend using skinless bone-in chicken as it lends maximum flavor to the curry.
Oil: Use any neutral flavor cooking oil. Avoid any flavored oil.
Red chili powder/Kashmiri red chili powder.
Salt to taste.
Coriander leaves to garnish.
How to make Kolhapuri masala & Chicken curry
Making the Kolhapuri masala
1. As there are many ingredients, take all the ingredients in a bowl or plate. Missed to click with many more whole spices.
2. Heat oil in a wide pan.
3. Add sliced or roughly chopped onions.
4. Saute on medium flame till soft.
5. Add the rest of the ingredients and saute on low-medium flame for 2-3 minutes or till aromatic.
6. Add turmeric powder and saute for 30 seconds.
7. Remove on a plate. Let it cool completely.
8. Add coriander stems along with leaves and goda masala or kura karam and grind to a smooth paste by adding water as required.
Making the Chicken Kolhapuri curry
1. Heat oil in a heavy bottom kadai or non-stick pan. When hot add the chopped onions. Saute on medium flame till light brown color.
2. Add curry leaves and saute till they release the aroma.
3. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes away.
4 & 5. Add the washed chicken pieces and saute for 5-7 minutes or till they change color.
6. Add salt to taste and mix well. Cover the pan and simmer on low flame for 15 minutes.
7. Open the lid and add the ground masala paste.
8. Turn the flame to medium, saute till moisture reduces and oil separates.
9. Add hot water till chicken pieces are immersed and give a good mix.
10. Add red chili powder or kashmiri red chili powder (to tone down the spice level) and mix well.
11. Let the water come to a boil. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
12. Cover the pan and simmer again on low heat till the chicken pieces are tender.
Kolhapuri Chicken curry is ready. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.
Use a wide heavy bottom pan to roast the spices.
Saute the onion till caramelized.
Roast the Kolhapuri masala ingredients on low-medium flame. Keep stirring continuously for even roasting. If the flame is high, the whole garam masalas will burn.
Cool the roasted masala completely and grind to a smooth paste.
Freshly ground masala has a better aroma than the store-bought packet.
Do not skip adding coriander stems while grinding the masala.
Use bone-in chicken. The meat takes slightly longer to cook, but the chicken pieces are super tender and add deeper flavors to the curry.
Cook the chicken to 50% and add the masala.
Do not add cold water. It will bring down all the flavors. Use hot water to cook the chicken and to adjust the gravy consistency as required.
What to serve this Kolhapuri chicken curry with?
You can relish the spicy chicken curry with chapatis made with wheat flour, plain parathas, or bhakri made with rice or jowar flour.
You can refrigerate the leftover curry in an air-tight container for 2-3 days. Always cool the curry completely before refrigerating.
To reheat the curry, heat on stove-top or microwave. The gravy will thicken, so add little water while reheating.
More Chicken recipes on the blog
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Kolhapuri Chicken | Spicy (Zanzanit) Chicken curry
For Kolhapuri masala
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 1 large Onion (roughly sliced)
- 1/4 cup Dry Coconut (copra grated or thinly sliced)
- 2 medium Bay leaf
- 2 Cloves (laung)
- 1 inch Cinnamon stick (dalchini)
- 1 small Black cardamom (badi elaichi)
- 1 small Stone flower (dagad phool or phattar phool)
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg powder (jaiphal)
- 1 blade Mace (javitri)
- 1/2 tsp Fennel seeds (saunf)
- 2 Green cardamom (elaichi)
- 2 tbspn Coriander seeds (dhaniya)
- 4 to 6 Black peppercorns
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds (jeera)
- 4 to 5 Fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
- 2 tbsp Poppy seeds (khaskhas)
- 1 tbsp Sesame seeds (til)
- 1/2 tsp Kasuri methi
- 6 to 8 Cashews (kaju)
- 2 tbspn Melon seeds (magaj)
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
- Coriander stems and leaves
- 1/2 tbspn Goda masala or Kanda lasun masala or Kura Karam
- water to grind
Chicken Kolhapuri curry
- 1 kg Chicken (bone in)
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 1 medium or large Onion (finely chopped)
- 5-7 Curry leaves
- 1 tbsp Ginger-garlic paste
- 1 tbsp Red chili powder
- 1 tbsp Kashmiri red chili powder
- Hot water
- Salt to taste
- Coriander leaves to garnish
Preparing the Kolhapuri masala
- Take all the ingredients in a bowl or plate.
- Heat oil in a wide pan.
- When hot, add sliced or roughly chopped onions.
- Saute on medium flame till soft.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and saute on low-medium flame for 2-3 minutes or till aromatic.
- Add turmeric powder and saute for 30 seconds. Turn off the flame.
- Remove on a plate. Let it cool completely.
- Add coriander stems along with leaves and goda masala or kura karam or red chili powder and grind to a smooth paste by adding water as required.
- Keep it aside.
Preparing the Kolhapuri Chicken curry
- Heat oil in a heavy bottom kadai or non-stick pan. When hot add the chopped onions. Saute on medium flame till light brown color.
- Add curry leaves and saute till they release the aroma.
- Add ginger-garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes away.
- Add the washed chicken pieces and saute for 5-7 minutes or till they change color.
- Next, add salt to taste and give a good mix. Cover the pan and simmer on low flame for 15 minutes.
- Open the lid and add the ground masala paste.
- Turn the flame to medium, saute till moisture reduces and oil separates.
- Add hot water till chicken pieces are immersed and give a good mix.
- Add red chili powder or kashmiri red chili powder and mix well. Let the water come to a boil.
- Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Cover the pan and simmer again till the chicken pieces are tender.
- Kolhapuri Chicken curry is ready. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.