Dak Bungalow Chicken Fry (Spicy Fried Chicken with Coconut and Curry Leaves)

Curry leaves, coconut and hints of star anise are put to good use when Sunitha Divakaran adds a twist to fried chicken
Dak Bungalow Chicken Fry (Spicy Fried Chicken with Coconut and Curry Leaves)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the spice paste

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 3cm cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 dried chillies, whole
  • 4 shallots, whole
  • 150 g grated coconut
  • 12 curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds

Masala base for sauce

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • ginger, (4cm piece)shredded
  • 3 fat cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 12 curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 chicken, small
  • 150 ml water

To garnish

  • oil, for deep-frying
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 12 curry leaves
  • 3 red chillies, with tops cut off

Tips and Suggestions

Curry leaves can be bought from ethnic grocers. You can buy frozen packs of grated coconut from ethnic grocers.


1. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Toss in the cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, star anise and chillies. After a few seconds, tip in the shallots, coconut, curry leaves and coriander seeds. Stir and fry until the coconut turns a lovely nut-brown colour.

2. Add the turmeric off the heat and grind the mixture to a fine paste in a mortar and pestle or in a food processor. Set aside while you make the sauce base.

3. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, ginger, garlic and curry leaves. Stir and fry for about 15 minutes over a low heat until the onions have browned. Sprinkle in the turmeric and chilli powder and stir to mix while still on the heat.

4. Tip the chicken pieces into the pan and add a dash of water. Stir and fry until the chicken is tender and the sauce has cooked down to a thick paste.

5. For the garnish: heat oil in a deep fat fryer and when hot, add the sliced onion and fry until crisp. Remove the onion from the oil and drain on absorbent paper. Do the same with the curry leaves. Split the dried chillies and plunge them into hot oil for a moment. This will darken the surface and give them a lovely glossy look.

6. Tip the chicken onto a platter and garnish with a tangle of fried onion slices, curry leaves and red chillies.

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