SAFED MAANS / सफेद मांस (Chicken in Aromatic White Curry)

Here is the last installment of the Holi recipes that I had promised to upload this year. After two sweet posts for Holi here is a savory dish especially for the non vegetarians. Consuming non vegetarian food is not a norm on most Hindu festivals. The practice rather edges towards the other end of the spectrum with devotees preferring to fast till most of the day. Though practices vary from community to community but in general non vegetarian food is usually not consumed on most Hindu festivals. There are exceptions though in West Bengal where certain communities indulge in consuming non vegetarian food during the period of Navratra when most Hindus avoid eating even onion, garlic and traditional grains. The festival of Holi is an exception. Many people feast on this festival and having lamb or goat meat is actually a must for them. In my Mum’s house we never cooked or consumed non vegetarian food on any festival but in my in-law’s house Holi without Bhuna Gosht or Roasted Lamb curry is unthinkable. Well, that recipe is for sometime later. For today, it is safed maans. Safed is Hindi word for white and maans means flesh in Hindi. Although Safed Maans is supposed to be a lamb curry but I have swapped it with chicken. This mellow yet flavorful curry is a Rajasthani delicacy and is the antithesis of Laal Maans which is the fiery red curry.

This may not be the authentic safed maans recipe but close to the one. The authentic curry apparently does not use onions but only ginger garlic paste. Also, typical in this curry is the use of mava or khoya which is thickened solidified milk which gives it a sweetness. We may not be huge fans of spicy hot curries but neither can our palates appreciate a sweet curry – veg or non veg. So I have tweaked the recipe to suit our taste. I have used milk instead of heavy duty khoya and I have added onions along with plenty whole green chillies and red chillies. Both are not over powering in any way; the red ones give the dish a nice smoky heat and the green ones add a fresh grassy sort of heat besides of course the crushed white peppercorns. Along with the whole spices, these different chilli / peppers give the dish a complex kind of heat and taste that is beautifully balanced by desiccated coconut, almonds and melon seeds. You can use cashew nuts if you want to make the curry richer. One request to any one who intends to try this curry…please don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients. The list may look long but the curry is easy and I say this not because I make curries day in day out but because I myself don’t believe in making curries that take too much effort. 😉

500 grams Chicken, skinless and on bones (curry cuts)

3 tbsp Yogurt

1 tsp Ginger paste

1 tsp Garlic paste

1 tbsp Oil

1 tbsp Ghee

5 Whole dried Red Chillies

5 Cloves (Laung)

6 Green Cardamom (Hari Elaichi)

2 small Bay leaves (Tej Patta)

½ inch Cinnamon stick (Dal Chini) {mine has a very strong flavour so this much sufficed}

1 Medium sized / ½ C approximately, sliced Onions

5 Green Chilies, split in halves

2 tbsp Desiccated Coconut

6 – 8 Almonds, soaked in water overnight

1½  –  2 tsp Melon seeds

1/3 C Milk

¾ tsp Crushed White Pepper Corns

½ tsp Dried Fenugreek powder (Kasoori Methi)

½ tsp Roasted Cumin Powder (Bhuna Jeera)

¼ tsp Green Cardamom Powder

Salt to taste

¼ C Water

Clean and pat dry the chicken. Mix together the yogurt and ginger garlic paste. In a mixing bowl, add the yogurt marinade to the chicken and mix well. Cover with a cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.

Soak the almonds overnight in enough water. Remove skins. Using the milk, make a paste with desiccated coconut, skinned almonds and melon seeds. Set aside.

In a cooking pot, add the ghee and cooking oil. When the oil becomes slightly hot, add in the cinnamon stick, cloves, green cardamoms, black cardamom and bay leaf. Cook while stirring till the spices become aromatic. (a few seconds). Add the sliced onions and fry till the onions turn just golden. Add chicken and fry on high flame, stirring all the while, for 2 – 3 minutes. Stir in the paste and cook for 2 minutes on medium flame. Add in the salt, green chillies, crushed pepper corns, cumin powder and green cardamom powder. Add water, stir the chicken, cover and cook on low heat stirring once in a while. When the chicken is almost done, add the dried fenugreek powder. Taste the chicken and adjust the seasoning.

Remove from fire and transfer to the serving pot. Garnish with fresh green cilantro. Serve hot with flatbread of your choice or with rice.

Serves : 3

Note: The curry tasted even better the next day. Add a few tablespoons of water to reheat if it gets thickened.




1. Mava & Nuts Pop Tarts – gujiya in a new avatar

2. Dahi Bhalle/ Dahi Vada – lentil dumplings in spiced yogurt (GF)

with mint chutney and sweet tamarind chutney

3. Suji Halwa – Decadent Semolina Pudding

4. Low fat Coconut Laddu – Coconut Indian confection (GF)

5. Dal Makhani – Creamy Butter Lentil Stew (GF)

6. Badam Besan Laddu – Chickpea flour Confection (GF)

7. Kesar Thandai Cookies – Indian Spiced Cookies

8. Achari Paneer Tikka – Pickle-spice Cottage Cheese Tikka (GF)

9.  Chhole Kulche – Oil free Chick Pea Curry (GF)

w/ Onion stuffed skillet Flatbread

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7 thoughts on “SAFED MAANS / सफेद मांस (Chicken in Aromatic White Curry)

  1. What an interesting dish! I’ve never heard of white curry before. Love the ingredients, the spices, and everything about this dish. Thanks for introducing me to something new and delicious!

  2. Nice chicken recipe…I would love to give this a try, as it sounds very flavorful…indeed aromatic.
    Hope you are having a great week 🙂

  3. Hey girl! Hope all is well with you! Been a while since I made my way through the web of recipes. I stopped by here and I HAD to tell you how great this sounds and looks. Coconut and curry is a match made in heaven! 😀

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