Village-Style Gavthi Chicken, A Taste Of Maharashtra
Image Credit: thefoodaholicguy/Instagram

There are some meals that are considered great for pushing the boundaries, or for introducing a new cuisine, and then there are those that are memorable simply because they were damn good meals. I had the good luck to run into one of those in the small town of Phaltan in the Satara District of Maharashtra. Phaltan is known for its pomegranate orchards and sugarcane farms and while visiting the area I had a chance to stop for lunch at one of these farms. 

There were no bells and whistles, just hearty village-style food of pithla bhakri, some sabzi and a generous doling of Gaavthi Chicken Curry. After my long trek around the farm, nothing had ever seemed so delicious and sitting outside under the trees in the light breeze, it was truly a meal to remember. It was perhaps a tad too good because later I found myself dozing in my chair during a talk about the farm’s offerings. A little bit insulting to the speaker I fear, but hopefully a compliment to the chef.

For the last few weeks, I’ve thought of nothing but that Gaavthi Chicken Curry. Also called Gavran Chicken or simply Chicken Rassa it’s a fairly common Maharashtrian dish, usually made in villages. But no matter where I go or how many times I adapt my recipe, I’ve never quite been able to replicate that magic. Though a lot of Maharashtrian regions are non-vegetarian, mutton used to be the go-to meat until after the Green Revolution when chicken became a viable meat source. Even today, many more traditional Maharashtrian families look down their noses at the common broiler chicken and instead opt for ‘gaavthi’ chicken, also known as country chicken or Kadaknath, a black chicken known to be more healthy and flavourful. 

This recipe is but a pale imitation of the curry that I remember, but hopefully gives you a chance to experience the magic for yourself. Depending on your preference you can add more or less water to make it dry (sukka) or with more gravy (rassa) and serve it with rice or more traditional bhakris. 


  • 1 kg country chicken
  • 2 potatoes
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • ½ inch fresh ginger
  • 1 lime
  • 3 onions
  • 3 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Oil
  • Sugar
  • Salt 
  • Coriander to garnish


  • Grind the ginger, garlic, lime juice, ½ tsp turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt to taste.
  • Clean and cube the chicken and then marinate in this mix for 2 hours. 
  • Slice 2 of the onions and saute in a pan with some oil until translucent.
  • Add the coconut and poppy seeds and cook until it has a nutty aroma. 
  • Grind this mix to a fine paste without adding water. 
  • In a large pot, fry the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and peppercorns in oil.
  • Dice the last onion and add it to the pot.
  • Add the chicken and cook on high heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the onion-coconut paste and a cup of water.
  • Cook for 20 minutes.
  • Serve hot garnished with chopped coriander.