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Recipe: Karnataka-Style Koli Saaru

Last updated on: July 21, 2022 19:43 IST
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There are several homestyle versions of Karnataka's Koli Saaru or Chicken Curry.

Typically, it is made with a country chicken or a non-brolier chicken, usually free range. But for this recipe you can also use a broiler chicken.

Ramapriya Suresh cooks the chicken in a spicy, flavourful gravy with coconut milk.

Koli Saaru is usually served with Mangalorean style Kori Rottis, a crispy rice roti. But it can also be had with steamed rice or rotis.

Koli Saaru

Video and photograph: Kind courtesy Ramapriya Suresh/Ammu's Kitchen

Koli Saaru

Serves: 3


  • 500 gm boneless chicken, cut and cleaned
  • 2-3 tbsp coconut oil + extra for the tempering
  • 6-8 Kashmiri red chillies
  • 1 tsp jeera or cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp dhania or coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 8-10 garlic pods, peeled
  • 1 tsp haldi or turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • ½ cup sliced fresh coconut
  • 1 cup thin coconut milk
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ lime or the juice of half a lime
  • ½ cup freshly chopped green dhania or coriander or cilantro, for garnish
  • 1 tbsp water


  • Heat 1 tbsp of the coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or kadhai.
    Dry roast the red chillies, coriander seeds, jeera seeds, peppercorns for a minute.
    Take off heat, cool and transfer into a blender/mixer and grind and leave in blender (please see the video below).
  • In the same pan, saute the garlic, sliced onions, sliced coconut.
    Add this too to the blender of ground roasted spices along with the turmeric powder.
    Add 1 tbsp water and grind to a fine paste.
    Keep aside.
  • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan heat 1 tbsp ghee and the remaining coconut oil.
    Add 1 of the chopped onions and saute till golden brown.
    Add the chicken.
    Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
    Add the ground masala and salt as required.
    Mix well.
    Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.
    Add the thin coconut milk and mix.
    Cover and cook for 3 minutes.
    Add the thick coconut milk and mix and cook for 1-2 minutes and then take off heat.
  • For the tempering, heat a little coconut oil in a small frying pan.
    Add the remaining chopped onion and 1 tsp garam masala (please see the note below).
  • Before adding the tempering to the chicken curry, add the juice of half a lime into the gravy.
    Add the tempering to the chicken curry and mix well.
    Garnish with the chopped coriander.
    Serve hot with rice, rotis or Kori Rottis.

Editor's note: Make your own fresh garam masala for this recipe by grinding roasted fennel seeds, jeera seeds, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf, caradamom seeds and peppercorns.

Kori Rotti is available at Mangalorean grocery stores or online.

For a slightly healthier version, skip the ghee.

Vegetarians and vegans can consider using the same gravy to make a mean paneer curry or a cauliflower curry using either 500 gm paneer or 500 gm cauliflower.

WATCH: How to make Koli Saaru


Kalyan, Maharashtra-based food blogger Ramapriya Suresh is the creator of the YouTube channel Ammu's Kitchen.


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