RECIPE: Kozhi Vartha Kari

Kozhi Vartha Kari is a lip-smacking chicken dish from South India. This taste of this spicy, tangy chicken dish is sure to be a hit with family and friends. This is a semi-dry dish, but can be prepared with gravy too and goes well with any mildly spiced pulao or rotis/naans.

This chicken dish is my adaptation of Sanjeev Kapoor's recipe from his book "Tasty Eating for Healthy Living - Volume 3". This dish has been a favourite with my family ever since the first time I prepared it and I'm sure you will enjoy it too. If you are looking for a chicken dish to impress family or friends with, try this Kozhi Vartha Kari. The taste of this dish sure to linger in their minds long after they've eaten it. 


For the marination
1 Kg chicken (skinned and cut into small pieces)
2 tsps red chilli powder
1 tbsp garlic-ginger paste
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp turmeric powder
Salt (to taste)
For the gravy
2 medium onions (finely chopped)
3 medium tomatoes
12-15 curry leaves
2 tsp corriander powder
1 tbsp tamarind pulp
1 tsp garam masala powder
16-18 peppercorns (coarsely crushed)
2 tbsp fresh corriander (chopped)
Oil for frying 


  1. Marinate the chicken in the ingredients listed out for the marination ans keep aside for about 3 hours (preferably in the refrigerator)
  2. Make a rough paste of the tomatoes in a blender.
  3. Heat oil in a non-stick kadhai and fry the marinated chicken on a high flame until the chicken pieces are dry ans a little browned. Remove the chicken and keep aside. 
  4. Add some more oil (if required) to the kadhai and fry the onions till brown. Add the curry leaves and stir well for about a minute. Add the tomato paste, salt and corrainder powder. and cook till the oil starts to separate from the masala.
  5. Add the chicken and very little water (add more if you want more gravy) and cook covered on medium heat, till the chicken pieces are done.
  6. Add the tamarind pulp mixed in half a cup of water and the garam masala. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Adjust the seasoning, add the crushed peppercorn and 1 tbsp fresh corriander and mix well.
  8. Serve hot, garnished with the remaining corriander.
Ideas and tips
  • This dish tastes best with smaller pieces of chicken.
  • The peppercorn adds to the flavour of the dish, but I use a bit lesser because I am not very fond of too much pepper. (And the dish still tastes good!)
  • You can prepare this dish dry or with gravy too. Personally - I prefer it semi-dry.
  • The tamarind adds to the flavour of the dish and replacing it with lemon juice or vinegar may not be a good idea.

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