A very special meal of Akki roti and chicken saaru – I have heard so much about akki roti that on both occasions of my short vacations at Coorg and Chikmagalur, I made it sure to stay at home-stays so that we can enjoy the authentic cuisine of Karnataka. Something that is so difficult to find in cosmopolitan Bangalore. And in both places, my quest for true home cooked Karnataka cuisine has been satiated in more ways than one.
Living in coffee plantations has its own charm and in both the cases my gracious hostess has opened up their doors so that we can have glimpses of their culture, food and traditions and goes to great lengths to explain me the minute details of Kodava (Coorgi)and Malnad cuisine. They explained to me how rice is staple in Karnataka and is widely grown through out the state. It is the foundation of their cuisine and is served in many forms. Akki roti being one of their specialty and interestingly both have different ways of preparing it. While in Coorg, it is mostly prepared with leftover mashed rice, mixed with rice flour, then rolled thinly just like traditional rotis and in Malnad it is prepared with rice flour and then cooked on hot griddle just like pancakes.
There are range of dishes that is enjoyed best with akki roti, the lip smacking and mind boggling varieties of chutneys and spicy saru (curries) and sagu .
Since then I had decided to learn few Kannada dishes and it is always good to have some new recipes in your repertoire, one to hone my cooking skills further and second it brings a change of taste to your usual affairs and enrich your palate.
Regular Karnataka vegetarian thali or meal has become a staple now in my home and on special occasion, we do prepare the traditional Ugadi menu too. Also please go through the details of preparing Udupi veg sattvik thali here.
Learning new thing every day is like rediscovering yourself each day, every moment. Above all it is so much fun and inspiring and keep life interesting in many ways. Apart from learning how to do textured painting (I will share some with you later), I am on a mission to learn the regional cuisine of India, one state at a time. I may not be able to share every moment of my experiments with you here, but you can always follow my cooking adventures on Instagram, so please join me there to have a glimpse of what I am up to and also for behind the scenes work.
Here I will share with you this delectable, flavorful and mildly spicy Chicken saru recipe which I have found here on Shilpa’s blog and I have used that recipe as a base and added few more ingredients to suit my taste. My akki roti didn’t turn out that well, but good enough as a first timer. They didn’t come out that photogenic and shapes looks like different regions of Karnataka. The first few were literally like that and as I continued it has improved a bit, last few were at least presentable. Once I further improved my skill of making perfect akki roti I will update this post.
As of now, here is my version of chicken saru recipe. The best part of cooking anything new is that I get to experiment with new blend of spices and love to hand blend them and make my own versions out of it. That is the best part of the whole process that I enjoyed most. I am living in the Southern states for more than a decade and one thing that I have discovered about its cuisine is the curry leaves. It may sound cliche but this leaf alone has the potentiality to bring a completely new flavour to the dish. And as my adventures in South Indian cuisine continued I discovered that there are more than one ways to use this leaf (rather than simply throwing a sprig here and there in the dishes) like curry leaves chutney, curry leaves podi and using curry leaves in spice blends. The last one took me by surprise and was pleasantly amazed to see how a simple variation of using curry leaves this way adds a new dimension to the dish. The flavors are just unparalleled, and so distinct that it will leave you mesmerized for a while.
So here we go with my own version of spice blends that I have used for chicken saru cooked in Gowda style or north Kannada style. Dry roast with or without oil – a small onion sliced, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, black pepper, curry leaves, chana dal, coriander seeds and bydagi red chillies. Make a wet paste out of it. While in some recipes I have found the use of coriander leaves in place of curry leaves, and no sesame seeds ever I wanted to add them here. May be I have slight affinity towards Andhra cuisine and hence this variation.
But believe me, you wont regret it and it was just awesome …ee.
Here goes Nati Koli Saru (Country chicken curry) –
- Chicken : 500 gm (curry cut)
- Onion, finely chopped : 1 medium
- Tomato, finely chopped : 1 medium
- Ginger- garlic paste : 1 tbsp
- Salt and turmeric to smear the chicken pieces
- Oil : 3-4 tbsp
- Sambhar powder : 1 tbsp
- Green chillies : 2-3
- Curry leaves : 1 sprig
- Salt to taste
- Wet masala paste :
- 1 Small onion, sliced thinly
- Garlic cloves - 5-6
- 1 tsp each of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, black pepper corns, coriander seeds
- Cinnamon stick - 1
- Bydagi red chillies - 2-3
- Curry leaves : 8-10
- Chana dal - 1 tbsp
- Coconut scraped : 2-3 tbsp
- Wash and clean the chicken pieces. Smear them generously with salt and turmeric powder.
- Keep aside for half an hour.
- Meanwhile in a pan, add a teaspoon oil and fry all the ingredients listed under wet masala paste.
- Cool it down and make a smooth wet paste.
- In a kadhai, heat the oil, and fry the onions till soft.
- Add the ginger-garlic paste, tomatoes, fry them till soft and then add the chicken pieces.
- Keep frying on high heat till the water from the chicken absorbs and it will looks little roasted.
- Add the wet masala paste, sambhar powder, curry leaves, salt , green chillies.
- Mix everything well and keep sautéing on high heat.
- Once the masala is braised enough and oil begins to float on top, add 2 cups warm water, lower the heat, close the lid and cook on low heat till the chicken pieces are soft and tender.
- Once done, drizzle a spoonful of ghee and serve this nati koli saru with akki roti .
Enjoy until next,