Recipe: Helmet Chicken aka Kodi Vepudu

Update: Due to popular demand, this dish has been permanently renamed Helmet Chicken.

This is the simplest damn thing I’ve cooked in a while. We had some leftover dal in the fridge, and the idea was to cook up rice and make some chicken masala to go with it on the side. I decided to make Kodi Vepudu – a South Indian dish that is as famous as it is easy to make.

My only regret coming out of this recipe was that I used two pans. I have a history of putting decent food on the table, but also one of wreaking a fair bit of devastation on the kitchen in the process. All that has changed ever since I’ve moved to Singapore. I am now intensely aware of the number of pots and pans I use while cooking. The first time I did the dishes after cooking a meal at home, there were more tears than there was tap water.

Anyway, here goes. Assemble the following in a pan / wok / helmet.

750 gm Chicken thighs (cut into two pieces each)
1 tbsp Ginger Garlic paste
1 tsp Garam Masala powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
2 tsp Coriander powder
2 tbsp oil

Mix it all up and let it marinate for 10 min. During these ten minutes chop up one medium sized onion, slit 6 green chillies lengthwise and do something meaningful with your life. Burp the alphabet song or something. I don’t know. How am I supposed to know what rocks your boat?

After 10 minutes, plonk the pan with the chicken on the stove. Add the chopped onion and mix well. Notice how the recipe does not call for the onions to be browned at all. Sear for a few minutes, then turn down the heat and cook till the chicken is tender. This can take anywhere from 15 – 25 minutes. The chicken should let out more than enough moisture to cook in, but if you think it’s looking dry, just add a little water and help it along.

Once the chicken is cooked, turn off the heat and get started on the tempering.

6 green chillies (slit lengthwise)
a handful of curry leaves
1 tsp oil

Heat the oil in a nice big kadhai / wok. Once the oil is hot, toss in the slit green chillies and curry leaves. There will be serious spluttering, so go put on an apron or that helmet I mentioned earlier. As soon as the spluttering ceases, add the cooked chicken to the wok. Don’t let the curry leaves turn brown. It’s no fun if they go brown. Toss well and let the chillies and curry leaves get acquainted with the chicken. Serve.

Actually wait. Take a better photo and then serve.

A very poor photograph of Kodi Vepudu
A very poor photograph of Kodi Vepudu


This dish is great with rotis, rice, bread and just about anything really. Give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed.

Over and out.

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