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From being subtle to mediocre, to downright unforgettable, if there’s one dish from Mangalorean cuisine that has taken different shapes from restaurant to restaurant, it’ll probably be the Chicken Ghee Roast. A fairly simple dish to cook up, this semi-curried dish is best eaten with neer dosa (paper thin rice crepes).
The rich aroma of roasted spices and ghee are what makes this dish absolutely delightful.
Any discerning ghee roast lover will know that you can’t order this dish from just about anywhere. People have their favourites too, and while some like it bright red and potent, plenty others prefer the mellow flavoured version. The Chicken Ghee Roast from Anupam’s Coast II Coast, MG Road, packs in quite a flavour. Available in half and full portions, it is often advisable to keep a bottle of water handy when eating this one, even though some people prefer beer.
In contrast, Kanua on Sarjapur Road chooses to take the subtler road; the ghee roast here is more home-style, and you won’t suffer an overdose of the ghee. It’s not too red either.
Karavalli, The Gateway Hotel on Residency Road, serves a slightly more polished version of the same dish. And it’s really good if you want to take your expat friends there for a ghee roast experience. The Kundapur masala does add a bit of that special touch too; the Chicken Ghee Roast is known to have originated from Kundapur.
Mangalore Pearl is yet another place to find Chicken Ghee Roast, and in fact offers great value for money as well. Local, a watering hole at Kalyan Nagar, also serves up a decent ghee roast, but again, it’s fairly mild when it comes to the use of red chillies and ghee.
Sanadige at the Goldfinch Hotel is famous for its seafood. However, it does make a delectable ghee roast as well, where the chicken is incidentally marinated overnight and roasted in ghee the following day. Kudla, one of the older coastal restaurants in the city, at Richmond Circle, is yet another place to find this dish.
Apart from being a main course, Chicken Ghee Roast makes for excellent pub food, where it’s usually served with boneless meat. Watering holes such as Watson’s on Assaye Road, and Peco’s (across various locations) might not make the best versions, but they sure seem to be popular among pub crawlers.
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Priyadarshini is an independent journalist from Bengaluru whose life pretty much revolves around food, good music, literature, and cinema. She’s worked with different publications over the past 10 years, and has written about travel, theatre, films, books, music, food and lots of food! She’s travelled wherever her feet and budget would allow, discovering cultures through local palates and social behaviour, and in an ideal world would probably resort to using food and music to resolve any dispute.