Every Coorg household had, until recently- and many still have – a scattering of home reared chickens running around in the backyard, which were truly free-range. They were only returned to their coops in the late afternoon, or the end of the day. When I married into a very traditional family, I was initially horrified to learn that chicken curry meant actually chasing, killing, feathering and cutting up a chicken, never having done that in my life. So I was vastly relieved when my mother-in –law told me that I did not personally have to kill the chicken, there was always someone on hand to do that! Since coffee plantation homes were isolated, in the days when markets were a long way off. Chicken was the choice when unexpected guests arrived, which was quite often, in Coorg. The flavour of a free – range chicken, even though smaller and a bit stringier, is far more rich and delicious than the farmed variety. This smooth, toothsome chicken curry is traditionally eaten with nool puttus. This recipe is from my paternal grandmother, and came to me through my aunt. It’s special because even though I’m not such a big fan of chicken, I love this curry, it’s so full of flavour.

Thank you for visiting this page. If you read something that you enjoy, or see an image that you like, please take a moment to write a response. Do look out for the recipes of all the food featured here in my upcoming cookbook.

Image Credits: Nithin Sagi
All Food Styling: Kaveri Ponnapa

Kaveri Ponnapa

Kaveri Ponnapa is an author and widely published independent writer on heritage, food and wine. She is the author of The Vanishing Kodavas, an acclaimed cultural study of the Kodava people, and a collection of Kodava poems, A Place Apart, Poems from Kodagu. Kaveri is an acknowledged authority on Kodava food traditions.

  1. Vanita says:

    Can’t wait to try it….this week’s Sunday treat – Coorg Koli Curry! Thanks for sharing, Kaveri.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Do tell me how it turned out, this is such a tasty curry, every last drop of gravy is always mopped up, whenever it is made.

  2. Binny says:

    Akka, i made koli curry and ghee rice, could not make puttu though, but must say the koli curry came out really well..thanku u so much for sharing this tastyy recipe:))

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      You sound happy, and that makes me feel good. : ) Do share the recipe with your friends, that’s what good food is for.

  3. Dushyant says:

    Its one and the same, isn’t it ? 🙂 Some call it nool, some noo. I queried my mother, she was adamant that it is “noo puttu”.

  4. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

    Most of us say ‘noo puttu’ when we speak, which is the colloquial, slightly abbreviated form of ‘nool puttu’. I have heard people use both – the name comes from the ‘nool’ thread-like strands of rice, so I guess both versions of the name work.

  5. Philipp says:

    I completely agree with you, Kaveri, free range chicken do taste so much better than battery hens. And how wonderful they must taste prepared with your recipe! – By the way, it is the same with rabbits. When I was a child, my grandfather always kept some rabbits in our big garden. Fortunately, however, my grandfather and later my brother volunteered to kill and prepare them – I just had to help eating them! And they tasted wonderful – not like those that nowadays can be bought in the supermarket.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hi Phillip, thanks for sharing this story – we have come a long way from having to catch and cook our food! I hope you’ll try the recipe – it can be made quite mild – with free range chicken, and that it turns out good.

  6. Aashish Majumdar says:

    Kaveri ji, Thank you for sharing this. For an amateur cook like me, this sounds very doable. Just one doubt, when you say thick milk from coconut with 1 cup of warm water, do you mean mixing warm water with the milk extracted from coconut? Please explain. Sorry, if I am asking something very basic but I don’t want to goof it for my kids.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello Aashish, what you have to do is scrape the coconut, and then grind it with very little water into a thick paste. Then add 1 cup hot water, allow it to stand 1/2 hour, then squeeze out the milk through a thin muslin cloth. This is the THICK milk. Set aside.Collect the coconut scrapings from the cloth,add 2 cups hot water to the same ground coconut, and repeat the process. Extract the milk in the same way. This is the THIN milk.Keep the milk ready before you begin the curry. I will be adding this process in detail to the section: Note On Ingredients In Coorg Cuisine. Please let me know how the curry turns out, it is really very simple, and very very delicious. Good luck!

  7. Aashish says:

    Kaveri ji, I prepared the dish on Sunday and it turned out to be excellent. My family enjoyed the curry, thanks to your detailed instructions. I had to use fresh Kokam syrup as i couldn’t get my hands on kachampuli. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Delighted, Aashish, I hope you will make this curry a regular dish on your table, and that this will tempt you to try some of the other recipes too.

  8. Nita says:

    Hi Kaveri, I tried this dish today. Came out very well. Replaced kachampuli with lime juice. My husband was all smiles. Me too. Thanks a lot! btw, luv ur pics too.. It was the pic that made me try his dish.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello, Nita, I’m all smiles too, to hear that you and your husband enjoyed the curry! Lime juice is a perfectly good substitute in this particular recipe.The next time you plan to eat it, try and make the Neyi Kool (Coorg Ghee Rice). It’s a fantastic combination, and I am sure you will love it. I’m glad you like the pictures, I have a lot of fun styling them.

  9. Nitin Sumitran says:

    Tried this today & it was absolutely stunning. Didnt have Kachumpulli so used regular Tamrind. Thank You Kaveri

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hi Nitin, delighted you liked it, this is a curry everyone loves, the flavours are so rich. Next time you make it, try eating it with Neyi Kool, the combination is just perfect.It’s nice to see someone trying out so many recipes,check out the crab curry next!

  10. Anish says:

    Tried this today & it was absolutely stunning. Didnt have Kachumpulli so used regular Tamrind. Thank You Kaveri

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hi Anish, It’s great to hear that you’ve been trying out the recipes, and that you enjoyed them. The flavours of Kaad mange curry are so special, I’m sure that you remember the taste of your grandmom’s curry very well. I will definitely be posting that, and plenty of other recipes too, so do look out for them. Thanks for writing in, and keep following those recipes! Best wishes, Kaveri

  11. Michelle Lesaffre says:

    What a beautiful website!
    Will be trying out this recipe this weekend for our fortnightly family gatherings. Can’t wait. I will be using the cheats variety of coconut milk though (tinned). At least it’s organic and doesn’t have any added thickeners to it.
    I remember my mum making me grate coconut for her curries when I was young, prior to the advent of tinned milk…sitting on this low stool with a scraper attached to it. I had to work hard for my curries!
    Best wishes from Perth, Michelle

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hi Michelle, that coconut milk/cream certainly needs a fair bit of effort, so if you can get a really good tinned version, it’s the best way out. I can just imagine you having to sit and scrape a coconut- and then the grinding and soaking…. This is a really delicious curry, you can eat it with steamed white rice -it’s creamy and mild, and I’m sure that you will make it more than once. Looking forward to seeing you on these pages. Warm wishes. Kaveri

  12. Deepti says:

    Hello kaveri,
    I soo much wanted this recipe. Can u say me where to find the full recipe.

  13. Sasha says:

    Cant seem to find the recepie. Tried so many times. Where is it posted please? Am really eager to try it. Even ordered kachumpuli vinegar. Please help

  14. Bharathi says:

    Hi Kaveri, love your website. Would love to get all the receipes from you. Where can I see all your receipes?

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hi Bharathi, so glad you like my website. The recipes are all going into a cookbook, and I’ll be posting here as soon as it is out. Thank you for reading, and i hope you’ll keep enjoying posts. Warm wishes. Kaveri

  15. Poonam Nayak says:

    Hi Kaveri, While searching for Coorgi recipes i came across your website. I don’t know how i missed finding it all these years, but so glad to have finally found it..You are an amazing writer. My mouth waters while reading the description under each entry.. I want to try this chicken curry tomorrow, please can you help me with the recipe.

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