Mangalore is a port town just off Goa on the west coast of India. The cuisine of Mangalore is very distinctive and reflects the diverse communities of this region. Coconut and curry leaves feature heavily as the food here is influenced by South Indian cuisine.

I have used a rather uncommon spice in my version. It is called stone flower (Pathar ke phool in Hindi or Rathi puvvu in Telugu – it is a dried lichen with the scientific name of Parmotrema perlatum. This has a distinct floral aroma and used generally in meat stews but works well in this dish.

Spices for Kori Gashi – the stone flower is on the right next to coriander seeds


1 kg boneless chicken thighs, cut in half

100g onion, chopped

1 sprig curry leaf

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

4 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil

150g grated coconut, (if frozen, thaw first)

4 plump garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped

5 centimetre piece of ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons coriander seeds

6 dried Kashmiri chillies

3-4 dried red hot chillies

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

5 centimetres piece of cinnamon

6 pepper corns

3 – 4 cloves

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

3 teaspoons tamarind puree

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

A big clump of stone flower (optional)

Salt to taste


In a fry pan, dry roast the spices. First, put the coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds and both lots of chillies. After frying a couple of minutes, add the cinnamon, pepper corns, cloves and stone flower if using. After frying a further couple of minutes, add the cumin seeds and continue frying for a few more minutes until the sweet smell of the spices emanates.

Once the spices are cool, grind them to a fine powder using a spice grinder. When the dry spices are well powdered, add the ginger, garlic, coconut and about 100mls water. Process to a fine paste and set aside.

Heat oil in a large saute pan. Add the mustard seeds and cover with lid. In time, when you hear the crackling of the seeds, throw in the curry leaves, followed by onions. Fry for three minutes. Toss the spice paste and mix intermittently to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the turmeric powder along with the tamarind puree. Continue cooking for five minutes.

Kori Gashi served on rice

Add the chicken pieces and make sure that all the pieces are well coated with the spice paste. Turn the heat to high for a two minutes. Pour 100ml water and season with salt. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 15 – 18 minutes until done. Rest for half an hour and serve with steamed rice.

Serves 4-6.

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