Mangalorean Chicken Ghee Roast

Mangalorean Chicken Ghee Roast

Mangalorean Chicken Ghee Roast

Mangalorean Chicken Ghee Roast is a popular South Indian recipe of chicken marinated in a masala and then slow cooked in ghee.

Mangalorean cuisine hails from South Karnataka that has influence from their neighbouring states. Due to abundance of chillies in the region, red chillies is an important ingredient in this recipe. This chicken is also known as Kundapur Chicken Ghee Roast as it originates from a village called Kundapur. When it comes to Mangalorean food, Chicken Ghee Roast is one of the most popular dishes.

Two important components of this recipe are freshly ground chilli-based spice blend and ghee. Ghee is the soul of this recipe, and I would not recommend skimping on it. Make sure to use pure, fresh ghee for the best flavour and aroma. As for the chilli-based spice paste, traditionally a special variety of whole red chillies called ‘Byadgi’ chillies are used in this recipe for its unique taste. However, I find it hard to buy the chillies as they are very localized to the area hence used Kashmiri Whole Red chillies.

This recipe appears fiery red, but the heat has a smoky sweetness to it, mixed with the flavour of ghee. I wouldn’t suggest it to be an ‘everyday’ dish as it comes loaded with ghee. I wouldn’t suggest to make it an everyday dish by skimping on the ghee or substituting it as it won’t be ghee roast!

Other recipes you might like to try are

Chicken Kohlapuri,

Dhaba Style Chicken,

Chilli Chicken Dry,

Tandoori Chicken,

Thai Pandan Leaf Chicken and

Murg Malai Tikka to name a few.

Try it with Plain Naan, or Tandoori Lachha Paratha.


For Roasting Spices
7-8 whole red chillies
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
10-12 black peppercorns
4-5 cloves

For Marinating Chicken
½ kg boneless chicken
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons plain yogurt

Other Ingredients
8-10 garlic cloves
2-3 tablespoons ghee
¼ cup tamarind paste
Salt to taste
10-12 curry leaves
1 finely chopped onion



Add salt, turmeric powder and yogurt to the cleaned chicken pieces and mix.

Cover and set aside for at least 2-3 hours to marinate.


Heat a pan and add the whole red chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, and cloves.  Gently roast the spices on low heat for 2-3 minutes or until the spices begin to change colour slightly. Remember to stir the spices continuously so the spices do not burn.


Add the roasted spices, garlic and tamarind paste to the mixer jar and blend into a smooth paste with a little water.

Add the spice paste to the marinated chicken and keep aside while you sauté the onions.


Heat ghee in a pan and add the curry leaves and onion. Sauté on medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until onions begin to soften.

Next add the marinated chicken and cook on low to medium heat for 12-14 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.

Serve it with any Indian bread!

Tips & Variations

  1. Don’t rush the marination process as it not only infuses it with flavour but also tenderizes it.
  2. It is important to allow all the roasted masalas to cool down completely before blending them to prevent accidents.
  3. I have used Kashmiri red chillies. Traditionally Byadgi red chillies are used as they lend both colour and spice.
  4. When roasting the spices, keep the heat on low and stir it continuously to cook everything evenly and prevent the spices from burning.
  5. If the spices do not blend smoothly, add some water for a smooth consistency.
  6. The secret to this recipe lies in the slow cooking process. Once the chicken is added to the spices allow it to simmer on low heat as it allows the chicken to soak up all the flavours and spices.
  7. Garlic Cloves are a super important ingredient in this recipe as it gives the masala an added boost of flavour and aroma.
  8. Tamarind paste: I soaked a teaspoon of tamarind in some water and then made a paste out of it. But you can use readymade tamarind paste as well.