Kori Ghassi

Mangalorean Chicken Curry with curry leaves, chillies and coconut milk

Mangalorean-Kori-Gassi Hailing from the Bunt community in Mangalore this recipe is an absolute keeper! The gravy has loads of depth and flavour. A rich fiery red curry cooked with chicken although can be made with prawns or even with vegetables. Mangalorean cooking is hugely synonymous with vegetarian and coastal flavours.

I ate a traditional version of this dish for the first time at a wedding 12 years ago. It was served with a rice based roti. Dipping pieces of the roti in this luscious curry was probably what keeps me hooked to continue cooking this dish, just so I can replicate those delicious flavours.

Kori Ghassi is a Mangalorean chicken curry made with roasted chillies, spices and creamy coconut milk. Traditionally byadgi chillies are used in the recipe a variety common to the region of Karnataka although I have swapped them for Kashmiri dried chillies as they are readily available. The colour and thickness of the curry is usually based on the variety of chilli used.

In this recipe I always fry the chillies with the spices until they go a dark red colour. This adds flavour and smokiness to the resultant ghassi. I have used a little more tamarind paste for the recipe than I normally would this is based on the strength of the tamarind so increase or decrease it accordingly.


  1. Blend the garlic to a smooth paste with a splash of water in a blender. Add half the garlic paste along with turmeric powder and pinch of salt to the chicken. Mix well and set aside to marinate while you make the ghassi spice paste.


  2. Heat a dry frying pan on a low flame and add the desiccated coconut stir a few times as it begins to roast and change colour to a light brown. Remove the coconut in a bowl and add the oil to the frying pan. Add the sliced onions and fry on a low heat for 8-10minutes they will begin to change colour and go dark brown.

  3. Now add the chillies, peppercorn, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. Fry all the spices in the pan for 9-10 minutes on a low heat stirring couple of times. They will release their aroma and flavour. Cool this spice mix and add to a blender along with the tamarind paste and coconut milk. Blend to a smooth fine paste. You won’t need any more water as the paste should be thick and a vibrant red colour.

  4. To make the curry heat the oil in a heavy bottom large sauce pan on a medium flame. Add the curry leaves and the chopped onion. Fry the onions for 7-8 minutes stirring and making sure they get an even colour. Turn the heat to low and add the remaining garlic paste frying for 20-30seconds. Add a splash of water (2-3tbsps) if the garlic sticks to the pan.Mangalorean-Kori-Gassi-3

  5. Now turn the heat back to a medium and add the chicken. Fry for 6-7 minutes as the pieces begin to seal. Add the paste and stir well coating all the pieces in the paste and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add water and season to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer gently on a low heat with the lid on for 30minutes stirring half way through the cooking. To finish add the cinnamon and clove powder along with the lime juice. Serve warm with plain rice or soft dosas.

  • Craig Stewart

    Tried this recipe on Friday with great success. Delicious and another little gem that tastes even better the next day. Do try it.

  • Marjorie

    When is the dessicated coconut used please?

    • maunika

      Hi Marjorie, The coconut is used in the paste. Thanks!

    • Eddie101

      Agree, it’s clear where the coconut milk is – but what about the desicated coconut? Does it ever leave its bowl? 🙂

  • Alex k

    Just fed eight people who all loved the curry – we bulked it out with carrots which always go well with chicken

  • Anne B

    Stunning, rich curry. I went on a treasure hunt for fresh curry leaves and now I know why you should never use dried. Could I use fresh coconut instead of dessicated?

    • maunika

      Hi Anne, Yes absolutely! The paste is even more moist with fresh grated coconut. So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

      • Anne B

        Thank you! Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

  • Fauzia Hussain

    Hi Maunika, Is it ok to freeze fresh curry leaves? I find I never use a whole bunch in time and they go to waste. Will freezing affect the flavor?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes absolutely!

  • Mayanka

    Delicious and a must try. Can this recipe be made with mutton?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes ofcourse! Feel free to swap with mutton or lamb though adjust cooking times. Enjoy x

  • Vincent Dorresteijn Heideman

    Dear Maunika,

    I can’t find fresh curry leaves anywhere. I’ve got some dried ones but I’ve read that the flavour of the dried ones is very bad and you might as well leave them out. Should I use the dried ones or should I leave them out?
    I love your recipes!

    With kind regards,

    The Netherlands

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      You can use dried curry leaves at the end of cooking when you garnish the dish with coriander. There isnt much flavour or moisture in dried curry leaves so you can alsi leave them out if you prefer. Hope you enjoy the dish!

      • Vincent Dorresteijn Heideman

        I’ve added the dried curryleaves together with the water and then let it boil. The dish was lovely!

  • Dom

    Hi Maunika,

    Should dried kashmiri chillies be wrinkled or smooth?

    The first time I bought them they were wrinkly but the second time I bought them I chose a different brand and they were smooth. They looked like they were a different type of chilli. Then I read on the internet that the authentic ones should be smooth and that there is a lot of fake ones on the market beacuse they are in such high demand. Apparently, demand outstrips supply.

    Could you give me some advice? I want to make sure I’m using the real deal.


    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Your best bet is to buy it from a spice shop or Asian store/ online to get the right kind. Also when soaked & ground the colour rendered should be bright red and vibrant.

      • Dom

        I will see what happens when I soak and grind them to make a Thai red curry paste.

        I just want to say that your recipe for Kori Ghassi is the best curry recipe I have ever tasted. It has an amazing depth of flavour that I have never experienced from any other dish. I’ve made it so many times over the last year. I just can’t get enough of it. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Aneta Isaak

    Oh my goodness, just delicious! Once again, thank you Maunika. I must have done something wrong as mine didn’t turn out red, but more orange/yellowey.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yay! Happy to hear you’ve enjoyed it:) The colour is also based on the quality of your spices and the kind of chillies or chilli powder used. Hope that helps and thank you for your kind comments x

  • John

    I will be trying this recipe .Can you tell me,after browning the desiccated coconut and removing it from the pan ,what do you do with it . No mention in the recipe .

  • Anand Halankar

    Hey Maunika, the receipe was great, really yumm and spicy. I didn’t get the same colour as your curry but the taste was great! Thanks. 🙂

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      So glad to hear this! Colour most definitely will be down to the chillies or chilli powder used as well.

  • Sarthak

    Hey Maunika. I hope I am not too late. This is a question in general and not specific to this recepie. where do you recommend to buy chicken on the bone in UK? most super markets have either breast fillets, thighs or drumsticks. Is there a tip?


    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Most supermarkets will stock packs of it although check your local butchers and farm shops too.

  • Sharmila Pillay

    Made this the other night. Absolutely delicious 🙂 It looked exactly like the picture! Gonna try the palak dal this weekend.


    • Maunika Gowardhan


  • Raz

    What is the dessicated coconut for? It’s not mentioned again in the recipe

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Step 2 include the coconut which is used for making the paste!


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