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Growing up in a Tamil Brahmin household, albeit a very easy going one-meats were a definite no-no at home. In fact, on certain auspicious days even the use of onions and garlic were discouraged.

My parents (thankfully for our happy tummies) were fairly liberal and would allow us to try and taste different foods from different cultures.

Dosai and idli were regular fare at the breakfast table and were treated by us young children with disdain for no fault of theirs – but simply because they were available in abundance with the chutneys and the sambars.


All that changed, when we went to my father’s colleague’s house for a meal one day. The Nagsami’s are Pillaimars from Madhurai, Tamil Nadu. We were served Dosai’s with chicken curry- the most amazing Pillaimar recipe with simple yet intense flavours. Suddenly the dosai became a revelation for both my sister and me.


My mother hand wrote the recipe from auntie in the kitchen that day, a few decades ago. I still have that recipe on my fridge door- a happy reminder of flavours from my childhood.

I have over the years tried to add my chef learning’s to this simple recipe- but find that it works best for me just as it is :)


I am happy to share it through Sunaina’s blog – a great friend and a brilliant foodie.



































Nagasami Auntie’s Chicken Curry




2 tbsp                          Oil of your choice

2 nos.                           Large red onion, finely chopped

2 nos.                           Tomato, finely chopped

1 kg                             Chicken- cut into 8-10 pieces

1 “                               Cinnamon

2 pieces                       Cloves

2 pieces                       Green Cardamom

1 tbsp                          Ginger –garlic paste

A pinch                        Turmeric

3 tsp                           Red chilly powder (Or to taste)

                                  Salt to taste

400 ml                        Coconut milk

1 tbsp                         Soy sauce (Auntie called this her surprise ingredient)

1 tbsp                         Malt vinegar




  1. Pour the oil in a frying pan.

  2. Put the finely chopped onion and tomato along with the whole spices and sauté till the onions and tomato are quite dry.

  3. Add the ginger-garlic paste and turmeric; cook till the onion is golden brown.

  4. Add the chicken pieces and the dry powders and the salt.  

  5. Add the 300 ml of water and cook on a gentle simmer till the chicken is cooked.

  6. Add the coconut milk and allow the gravy to come to a rolling boil.

  7. Add the vinegar and the soy sauce. Allow the gravy to gently simmer for 15 minutes.

  8. Serve hot with steamed rice and appalams.






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