Kori Gassi Chicken Curry Recipe

This spicy Indian chicken dish comes from the Bunt community in Karnataka, which is famous for dishes that use a delicate combination of red chilies, coconut milk, and curry leaves. This kori gassi is their signature dish. Serve it with rice or naan.


1 (1-3/4 lb.) chicken, cut into 1-1/2″ pieces
1 tbsp fresh ginger paste
1 tbsp fresh garlic paste
1 tsp table salt
3 medium red onions
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 whole cloves
1″ cinnamon stick
1-1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1″ piece nutmeg
1 blade mace
8 dried red chilies (preferably bedgi chilies), stemmed
2 or 3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp tamarind pulp
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro


Step 1: Put the chicken in a large bowl, add the ginger paste, garlic paste, and salt, and stir well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour.

Step 2: Thinly slice 2 of the onions. Place the remaining 1 onion over an open gas flame and roast until the outer skin is charred. Set aside to cool, then remove the charred skin.

Step 3: Place a small sauté pan over medium heat and add 1 tbsp of the oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the coriander and sauté until lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and put in a bowl. To the oil in the heated pan, add the cloves, cinnamon, fennel, nutmeg, mace, and red chilies, and sauté until fragrant. Add to the coriander seeds and set aside to cool completely.

Step 4: Transfer to a food processor, add the garlic, roasted onion, and 7 tbsp water, and process to a paste.

Step 5: Place a deep nonstick sauté pan over medium heat and add the remaining 2 tbsp vegetable oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the sliced onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes or until well browned.

Step 6: Add the chicken, turmeric, and 1 cup water, and stir. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the chicken is almost cooked through.

Step 7: Add the ground paste and stir well. Add the tamarind pulp diluted in 1/2 cup water, stir, and simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Step 8: Add the coconut milk and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Step 9: Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with the cilantro, and serve hot.

Reprinted with permission from Sanjeev Kapoor’s How To Cook Indian (2011 Stewart, Tabori & Chang).