If one has to travel from Tirunelveli (Nellai) to Madras (Chennai) by bus or car (roadway), they would have the chance to taste the spiciest curries along with parotta. Those travels would be by night time and the drivers would make a few stops for dinner, snack, tea time on the way. Whenever we used to travel that route (our native place - Chennai), hubby introduced me to these foods which he had enjoyed in his bachelor days. Every stop would have some specialty like Jasmine flowers in Madurai .... In almost every stop he would wake me up and would buy me something like eatables or flowers or coconut water or milk and this habit is continuing even in US too:) I think that is the basis for my knowledge on local foods.
Back to the recipe, those typical roadside motels would have a combo of parotta , salna as a standard menu and a spicy oily chicken gravy on special orders. We call it as Virudhunagar chicken gravy or ennai (oily) kozhi curry or sometimes Nellai chicken curry. This oily gravy is very common in these places, as we can get many versions of it. The serving will be on a very small bowl but will definitely make you crave :)
The specialty of this curry is the amount of sesame oil we add. Nowadays people are making it in any oil they have, but pure cold pressed sesame oil (sekku nallennai) is good for this. As it is a more oily gravy, I make it on special occasions only. That day I wanted to make something very spicy and truly southern for one of my friend's family. So I made this parotta stall version of chicken gravy along with chicken briyani. We all enjoyed the dinner very much and I am very glad that it turned out similar to the restaurant curry.The next day hubby happily carried it in his lunch box too:)
|Spicy Virudhunagar oily chicken curry (ennai kozhi curry)|
Chicken - 1/2 kg (1 lb)
sesame oil - 1/2 cup
curry leaves - 2 sprig
fennel seeds (sombu)- 1 tbsp
cinnamon (pattai) - 2 inch
bay leaf (brinji ilai) - 1
cloves - 1/2 tsp
red onion - 2 large
tomato - 2 (optional)
cilantro (malli thazhai) - a handful
Ginger - 2 inch
garlic - 1 whole
Coconut - 1/4 to extract milk
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 3 tbsp
red chilli powder - 1 tbsp
black pepper powder - 1 tsp
cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
curry masala powder - 1 tsp
sea salt - to taste
thick curd - 1 cup
Choose chicken pieces with some skin and bone (example, thighs).
Rinse and clean the chicken.
Cut it into small pieces.
Mix curd , coriander powder, chilli powder, curry masala powder, turmeric powder and salt.
Marinate chicken in this paste for 4 - 6 hours or inside fridge overnight. The marination is necessary for more flavorful soft chicken pieces.
Heat a thick bottom wok (kadaai) along with oil. Add spices like fennel, cinnamon, bay leaf, cloves.
After the fennel gets mild red, add finely chopped onion, curry leaves. Then put the ginger garlic paste and cook till raw smell goes. Then goes the chopped tomato. Wait till oil separates. (I won't add tomato for this gravy, but some people like to add tomato to reduce the spice level). Then add the marinated chicken, stir well and cook covered in low flame for 30 minutes.
Extract milk from coconut.
Then add the coconut milk and cook covered in low flame again for 5 minutes or till oil separates. Stir in between. If needed add 1/2 cup boiling water in the end to get more gravy. I add water at the end and cook covered for 5 more minutes in medium heat.
Spicy Virudunagar chicken curry is ready!
Serve as side dish with parotta, chapati, briyani.