Chicken Sukkha

Note: Cauliflower, mushrooms or prawns can be used instead of chicken.

This recipe comes from Janice D'Souza, who grew up in the Manglorean Catholic community of South India. See the notes regarding shortcuts and ingredient sources. Janice says "sukkha" means "dry" and signifies that this dish is not a curry, and does not have a sauce or gravy. Because of the fresh coconut in the dish, it finishes moist and delicious. See other recipes in Janice D'souza's Mangalorean meal from Kentucky ingredients here.

This dish serves four.


1 red onion

1 Tablespoon cooking oil, your choice

1 generous teaspoon ginger-garlic paste, or grated fresh ginger and minced fresh garlic

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 Tablespoons chili powder

1.5 teaspoons brown sugar 

6-7 curry leaves, optional

1 cup fresh grated coconut

1 - 1.5 pounds chicken pieces

Salt to taste


  1. Chop the onion. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the oil. Add the onion and stir until the onion begins to cook through. It will be more translucent and will begin to soften. Don't let it caramelize.
  2. Add ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and brown sugar.  Cook briefly, stirring briskly, until the mixture is fragrant, about a minute.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add chicken pieces and cook, turning occasionally, until done. 
  4. Add curry leaves, if using, and coconut. Stir well and serve.


  1. Sources of freshly grated coconut: For people not in the habit of extracting shredded flesh from a fresh coconut, Janice recommends buying frozen shredded coconut from any Indian grocery.
  2. For people in a hurry, Indian groceries also sell small jars of ginger paste, garlic paste, or a blend of the two that includes twice as much garlic as ginger, by volume. All these work well in this recipe. After opening, the jars of garlic and ginger pastes will keep several weeks in the refrigerator.
  3. If you prefer whole cumin seeds to ground, add the whole seeds when cooking the onions.
  4. The dry, ground spices in the recipe may be replaced by a similar amount of Madras curry powder.
  5. This dish is never covered during cooking.
  6. Janice serves this dish with dosas (crepes made of lightly fermented rice-legume batter) or chapatis (whole wheat flatbread), or with Susana Lein's heritage cornbread  made with organic heritage blue cornmeal from Susana's Salamander Springs Farm.