Gastronomic tours with Swiss Cheese

[philiptellis] I love food, and I like writing about food. Follow me as I follow my nose, seeking out gastronomic delicacies wherever I find myself

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Chicken Kori Rotti

Chicken Kori Rotti is a Mangalorean chicken curry dish where the curry is served over a thin, crisp rice rotti (not the regular soft rotis). It's really flavourful, and can be eaten with rice if you don't have the required rotti. I first tried it out at Mangalore Pearl when I lived in Bangalore. If you live in Bangalore and haven't been there, check out my review for Mangalore Pearl. Kori Rotti was my favourite dish there, and I was really excited when I found a packet of the specific rotti we need.


First, the dry ingredients that have to be roasted:
  • 1.5 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 2.5 tsp Coriander seeds
  • 0.5 tsp Fennel seeds
  • 0.25 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 0.5 tsp Poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 15-25 red chillies (this depends on the spice level and the colour you like, use fewer chillies, and add kashmiri chilli powder if you want to reduce the spice level, but maintain the colour).
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (it's okay to use frozen shredded coconut, just make sure it has some moisture and fat).
  • A few curry leaves
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 0.5 medium onion thinly sliced (you'll use the other half below)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil (I use peanut oil)
Next, the ingredients for frying:
  • 0.25 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 0.5 medium onion thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced thin
  • A few curry leaves
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
Last, the ingredients to cook the chicken:
  • 1-1.5 Kg (2-3lbs) Boneless Chicken Thighs (Skin is optional, but I used skinless chicken)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (lime juice works as well)
  • 1 can (14oz == 1.75 cup) coconut milk


First prepare the gravy (you can make this ahead of time as well). All of this is done in the same pot. Do not clean it out in between steps. We will use two holding bowls, one for the coconut, and one for everything else.
  1. Roast the cumin, coriander, fennel, mustard and poppy seeds from the first set of ingredients above over medium heat. Don't burn them, take them off the heat once you start to smell their oils come out.
  2. Transfer to a holding bowl.
  3. Roast the red chillies. This will take a couple of minutes. Transfer to the same holding bowl.
  4. Roast the black peppercorns. Transfer to the same holding bowl.
  5. Add a little vegetable oil to the pan and heat.
  6. Add in crushed garlic and fry for a few seconds.
  7. Add half onion and curry leaves and fry until onion is soft.
  8. Transfer this mixture to the same holding bowl as above.
  9. Roast the coconut until it just starts to turn brown. Transfer this into the second holding bowl.
  10. Everything except the coconut should be slightly cooled down by now, if not, wait a few more minutes before proceeding.
  11. Add all of the ingredients from the first holding bowl (everything except the coconut) into a blender with a little water, and blend it until it becomes a paste. You should end up with about 2.5 cups of paste.
  12. Pour half of this back into the holding bowl, and then add the coconut to the blender. Add a little more water and blend until it also turns into a paste. This will be lighter in colour than the first paste. Transfer back into the second holding bowl.
At this point you should have two gravy bowls. One with all the spices, which should be a dark orange to red coloured paste, and the second that includes the spices and the coconut. This should be a light orange paste. We now have the gravy ready, so we start with the chicken. Preparing the gravy
  1. Heat up 2 tbsp oil in the pot
  2. Add the mustard seeds and fry until they start sputtering
  3. Add in the sliced garlic and fry for a few seconds
  4. Add the curry leaves and fry for a few seconds
  5. Add the turmeric and some salt. Mix
  6. Add the half sliced onion, and fry until cooked.
  7. Add the chicken and fry for a few minutes tossing periodically to cook all sides. Add some salt to taste.
  8. Add the lemon juice and mix
  9. Cover the pot and cook on medium low for 3-4 minutes
  10. Add the first paste from above (the dark one), cover and cook for another 6-7 minutes
  11. Add the light paste and the coconut milk, cover and cook until chicken is tender and cooked through (another 5-7 minutes).
Serve over rotti or rice. It also tends to taste better the day after, so I generally eat this for 3 days at a stretch. Enjoy and let me know what you think. Also, if anyone knows where I can find rotti in Boston, please let me know. The one place I did find it in the past has stopped carrying it.
Finished Kori Rotti

Monday, April 18, 2011

Minestrone Soup

My mum would make minestrone soup for us when we were kids. This was back in India, so it was news to me when I found out that it's actually an Italian classic. It's traditionally a fall/winter soup, but with neither season showing up in India, it was more or less a year round evening soup. Searching online for recipes brought up many different ways of making it, with different ingredients. I got the gist of it, and decided to try my own. This is what I came up with:


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1½-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp mixed herbs (I used sage, thyme and marjoram)
  • 3 medium sized potatoes cut into cubes
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1.5-2 cups kidney beans (Rajma beans in India), pre-boiled (I used prepared canned beans). Drain them.
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (along with the juice)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup shell pasta (uncooked)
  • 2 Tbsp baby spinach
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a 3-4 quart (litre) pot
  2. Add the garlic and fry on medium-low for a minute
  3. Add the herbs and fry for about 20-30 seconds while stirring
  4. Add the carrots, potatoes and beans and fry for 1 minute
  5. Add the tomatoes and mix so that everything's coated with the liquid from the tomatoes
  6. Add the mushrooms and the vegetable stock and increase the heat to high until it just starts to boil
  7. Add salt and pepper (I grind the pepper directly into the mixture), and mix
  8. Add in the pasta and spinach, and reduce heat to medium. Cook uncovered until pasta is ready.
  9. Turn off the heat and serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese
We also got a large loaf of sunflower-honey bread which we lightly crisped in the oven at 300℉ for 3 minutes.

The soup came out well and serves 7-8 people as a meal in itself.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Waffle Special

At King's Circle/Maheshwari Udyan in Mumbai, is a little Softy shop known as Just Chill. Originally called 7-11, it was renamed after the Mumbai train bombings on July 11, 2006. This family run softy shop has been popular among local college students for decades, and the prices haven't changed much since I first visited about 14 years ago. They have a variety of special softies (see photo of menu), but the one that I always go back for is the Waffle Special.

Making the waffle specialThe Waffle Special is their largest speciality softy, and to make it requires a pilgrimage around the store. It requires ingredients from every corner, and a specific order to adding them. It's also the most expensive item on the menu, and at twice the price of their other specialty items it's a rare treat for a college student. The first time I tried it, I was hooked. Back in college a few of us would pool in cash to get one, and while it's easily affordable today, it still tastes much better when split with a friend.

Three flavours of softy, nuts, caramel, waffle chips, chocolate sprinkles and two types of chocolate sauce all filled into a huge waffle cone that's been sealed on the inside with chocolate sauce so it doesn't leak. It takes a while to get through, and it's very hard to eat without a spoon. Definitely on my must visit list when I'm in Mumbai. This is what it looks like when done:
Finished product
Just Chill is to the right of Café Mysore and on the Eastern Express highway.