When my dad was commanding his own regiment in the army, we had a cook called "Rajan Bhaiyya". He made the most amazing food everrrrr. His chicken fry was soooooo good that I wanted to remake it the way he did. I remember when my sister got married he came to visit. He had left the cooking days of the army behind and started his own little store in his kerala hometown. He was such a sweet guy. I hope wherever he is, he's doing well. I poured over all the blogs and recipes so I could find a recipe for chicken fry that seemed much like his and this is what I came up with. This recipe is a bit on the "fatty" side so if you want to cut out the extra oil just omit all the frying in oil bit.
Bone in chicken cut into medium pieces
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp red chil powder
2 onions, one medium, one large, sliced
about 15 dry red chilles
1/2 package frozen coconut, thawed, about 150 g
1/3 cup corriander seeds
10-12 curry leaves
1 large cinnamon stick
2 potatoes diced
2 tsp tamarind pulp
salt to taste
Season washed and dry chicken with salt, turmeric and red chilly powder. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Saute in oil till chicken pieces turn golden. Keep aside. In the same oil saute diced potatoes till golden. In oil saute one medium sliced onion.
Heat a deep dish pan. Roast red chillies and corriander seeds. Remove and add to the grinder. Roast coconut in the pan and add to the chillies. Add the sauted onions to the to coconut and red chillies. Grind the entire mixture with a little bit of water and tamarind pulp till it forms a smooth paste.
Heat oil in the same pot in which you fried the chicken. Add curry leaves and whole spices. Add the other large sliced onions. Fry till golden brown. Add the ground coconut paste.
Fry this mixture till the paste stops sticking to the sides of the pan and releases grease. This step is critical since it indicates the "ready" state of the base. If you are not patient enough to wait for this stage your base will not taste good. Once ready, add the chicken and potatoes. Mix and add salt and extra tamarind as needed. Cover and cook till chicken and potatoes are cooked through. Let it cook uncovered later to make the mixture as dry as needed. Serve hot with rice or chapatis.