Thursday, 31 December 2009

Malabar Chicken Biriyani

I thought I wouldn’t be able make another post before New Year, but here is another one. A yummy Chicken Biriyani. You can try it for the New Year if you really trust me! Once again, wishing you all a wonderful and prosperous New Year.

I have been getting lot of requests from my readers for Malabar Chicken Biriyani and here is the long waited recipe. Malabar Biriyani is known all over for its heavenly rich taste and its flavourful rice! Among them the most famous ones are the Thalassery Biriyani and Kozhikkodan (Calicut) Biriyani. Well, Even though Thalassery belongs to Kannur, the biriyani preparation is slightly different than Kannur Biriyani, but it can’t be beaten in taste and aroma, I bet. This time when I went to India I had Biriyani from different places of Kannur and they tasted almost similar and the method I noticed was also quite similar. The only difference would have been the addition of curd-some adds it and some doesn’t and the same with lime juice for masala. After all, they are used to bring in the sourness to the masala, and you can always increase the tomatoes instead. In my recipe, I always add lime and rarely use curd. The recipe I have given here is with the exception of curd. And For rice, some fries it and some don’t. If you notice, we don’t add pungent spices like chilli powder, Dhanya powder and turmeric powder. The main flavour comes from the ginger, garlic, chillies, tomatoes and onion. To add extra flavour, we finish it up with garam masala. The biriyani usually made is quite rich, lot of ghee is added and it is quite heavy. Here, I have used minimal amount of ghee as possible, so one can have it without much guilt. Well, you may add more ghee or oil if you wish. The recipe serves around 6 - 8 People with condiments side and it is just over a tablespoon of fat per person. How good is that!

For an authentic Malabar Biriyani, the rice that is normally used is known as ‘Jeerakashaala’ rice which has its own unique flavour and texture. The size of the rice is quite small, probably just half the length of the normal Basmati rice. Since we don’t get Jeerakashaala rice here, we always substitute it with Basmati rice. Well, I have never cooked with jeerakashaala rice. I was told by my mom that we don’t soak jeerakashaala rice since the biriyani gets mushy when soaked. So if using jeerakashaala rice for this recipe, please follow the ingredients as such, but do not soak the rice.

Malabar biriyanis are always garnished with fried onions, raisins and cashews. It is served along with Raita, a cucumber and yogurt based condiment, else tomato and onion in yogurt, a pickle, vinegary onions and pappadams. Chicken biriyani or mutton biriyani with the above said side dishes and chicken fries is the speciality of the Muslim weddings back in Malabar. It is always served after the starter ‘Alisa’, which is a porridge like stuff mainly made of wheat and meat and is served by sprinkling sugar on top! Yum..

Here is the recipe of Muslim style Malabar Chicken Biriyani.

Malabar Chicken Biriyani ( Serves 6-8)
For Ghee rice:

4 cups (800 g) Basmati rice
6 cups water
¾ cup onion sliced (1 medium size onion)
¾ - 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
7 cardamom pods
8 cloves
2 1” size pieces of cinnamon sticks
1 bay leaves
9 Tbsp clarified butter (Ghee), (I used 7 Tbs vegetable oil and 2 Tbs ghee)
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 twig curry leaves

For Biryani masala:
1 kg of large chicken pieces, preferably thighs, legs and breast
500g (4 ½ cups, 4-5 medium onions) thinly sliced onion
15 large cloves(4 packed Tbs) freshly minced garlic
65g (2 ½" thick piece) freshly minced ginger
330g (2 cups packed, 4 large) chopped tomatoes
20 (5 tsp) minced Green chillies (reduce if you want it less hot), you may use just 12-15 of them
½ cup Chopped Coriander leaves
10-12 fresh mint leaves chopped
22 mls (1 ½ Tbsp) freshly squeezed lime juice
½ tsp garam masala + 1 tsp extra to sprinkle on rice while layering.
4 tsp Oil (you may add more if needed)
3 cardamoms
8 cloves
4 small pieces of cinnamon sticks (1” size, thin ones)
1 ½tsp - 1 ¾ tsp Salt

For garnishing:
2 handful cashews
2 handful raisins
2 medium onions sliced thin
Few drops of yellow or orange food colouring or both (opional)

Step by step guide to prepare Dum Biryani:

Method to prepare Biryani masala:
1. Wash chicken well, place it on a colander to drain off all water.
2. Heat a large vessel to medium low and add oil. When hot, throw in the whole spices. When they leave the aroma (takes upto a minute on low heat) sauté chopped ginger, garlic, chillies and onions along with salt until the onions become soft and translucent.
3. At this point, add chopped tomatoes. When the tomatoes start to soften ad breakdown almost completely, add chicken and cook until almost done. All this should be done on a low heat so that onion releases its juice and chicken gets cooked in that juice slowly.
6. Add lime juice, chopped coriander and mint leaves and cook the chicken until done. Add garam masala and close lid to infuse in the flavour.

If there is lot of liquid, boil it off and reduce to a thick masala. If there is lot of water, the rice may end up overcooked.

Method to prepare Ghee rice and Garnishing:
1. Wash rice several times until you g et clear water to drain. Soak the rice for half an hour.

2. For preparing the garnish, in a large non-stick vessel, add oil + ghee or only ghee as mentioned in the recipe and fry the cashews until golden. Remove them and drain on a kitchen towel. In the same oil fry the raisins until they puff up and keep them along with cashews. Fry the onion until just golden and keep them with the former. The onion will get coloured (will continue to cook even after you take them out, so don’t fry until brown).

3. For preparing the ghee rice, In the same vessel, add ¾ cup slice onion and sauté till the onion turn soft and translucent. (don’t brown them, that will effect the colour of the rice.). At this stage add cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon and cumin seeds and sauté for a minute until it leaves the aroma.

4. Strain the rice and tip in the rice slowly and fry for 5 minutes on high heat by constant stirring.

5. Add boiling water, salt, curry leaves and lime juice and keep boiling, by keeping the lid open until all the water has disappeared, but the rice is still wet and not dry.

6. Reduce the flame to low, Cover tightly to let all the steam in and cook it until done. In between you can flip the rice two times to ensure even cooking.

If you follow the method of preparing therice you should get well fluffed individual rice that doesn’t stick to each other.

For layering the biryani and final cooking:

1. Using a large plate, take out 2/3 rd of the rice from the vessel and transfer it to another bowl. Leave the rest 1/3 of the rice in the vessel and level off the surface neatly using a spatula. Sprinkle a good pinch of garam masala (from the garam masala that is reserved for sprinkling) all over. If you are adding colour, add few drops of yellow or orange food colouring in 4-5 places.

2. Take half of the masala and sprinkle over the rice along with the chicken.

3. Spoon 1/3 rd of the rice again over the chicken masala. Sprinkle a good pinch of garam masala, and few drops of colouring.

4. Add the rest half of the masala and complete the layering by spooning the last 1/3 of the rice. Sprinkle again with garam masala, and few drops of colouring.

So now you have alternating layers of rice and masala that’s goes like this: Rice, Biryani masala, rice, Biryani masala and again rice.

5. Cover the entire vessel with foil (to ensure that full steam stays in), then close the lid tightly. Place a weight (you can also use any vessel filled with water for this) over this vessels and cook on hob top for about 30 minutes at very low heat. This is to infuse the flavour of the biryani masala into the rice and this process of cooking is called ‘Dum’. To know if it is done, lift the lid and you should be able to see steam coming from the top part of rice. (Don’t expect smoke, it will be just a light streak of steam from here and there) and the rice on the top will be slightly curvy!!

6. You can also do the layering in an ovenproof vessel and place it in a preheated oven at a very low temperature for about 20-30 minutes for the final cooking. I never tried this, but my friends do it this way.

Just before serving, garnish with fried onions, cashews and raisins.


1.You can also sprinkle little of the fried onions while layering and leave the rest for garnishing. You may sprinkle it along with garam masala. This helps to bring out the flavour of fried onions into the rice. And it is real good too.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Kozhi Nirachathu (Stuffed Chicken with Gravy)

An advance New year wishes from my side to all of you. May the coming year bring all sort of happiness and comfort to all of you.

Kozhi Nirachathu is one of the Malabar specialities; I don’t think it is popular but is definitely a heart winner. I didn’t have a clue about this recipe until I came across shaheen’s blog. I then enquired about it to my mom who then told me that she have heard about it and one of my aunts used to make it long back. These days stuffed chicken is not commonly made may be due to the tremendous labour that goes into making it and in a household where there are many members, you definitely need more than a chicken to feed all. Well, I never got to eat them even while I was in Kerala and only had them when I made them myself.

Even though Kozhi nirachathu/ stuffed chicken is not popularly seen around, many other luxurious stuffed items are commonly made in Malabar region for any occasion like Eid, Iftar, parties, for the just married groom and when important guests pay a visit. These stuffed foods include stuffed plantains of different types commonly known as ‘Unnakkaya’ or ‘Kaayada’ and pazham nirachathu, stuffed pancakes that take different forms and shapes like meen pathiri, chatty pathiri, atti pathal, Chemmeen ada, kadalapparippu ada to name a few...... I still have bizarre memories of a whole stuffed goat during one of my post wedding parties, with goat lying on its back and all four legs up in the air!!!

Well, coming back to Kozhi nirachathu/stuffed chicken, I recently prepared this it for dinner and we had it with Porotta and salad. It was finger-licking delicious! The recipe was an amazing one and I closely followed the recipe and instruction given at shaheen’s blog. I had noticed that recipe long time when I was blog hopping but I felt it was too complicated and time consuming at that time. And I guess it still is!!! I was just waiting for the perfect mood to make it because I knew it needs quite a lot of patience...The taste was too good and we just couldn’t stop admiring the dish. It was yummy and I surely would make it again, but only if there is someone to help me with my kid or share a part of toil!

Coming to the preparation part, tying the hands and legs sounded quite simple, but it took me sometime to tie the leg and I couldn’t manage to tie the hands. At a point of time, where I almost lost my patience, I also thought of using safety pin instead of tying them up! It also took a long time to finish cooking as managing the large bird was quite a hurdle plus so many other stuffs in between- my son’s feeding, washing up and a bit of time to run behind him and chase him when he tries to distract me playing naughty.....So my advice would be, try this dish when you have plenty of time in hand, a bit of patience and there is no one to bother you in the process!

Kozhi Nirachathu(Stuffed Chicken with Gravy)

1400g (3 Lb) Chicken, skinned

3 Tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbsp Lime juice
1 tsp salt or as required
3-4 tbsp water

Ingredients for Egg stuffing:
2-3 tsp vegetable oil/coconut oil/olive oil
1 or 2 Eggs
3 medium size (325g) onions sliced thinly (3 cups)
2-4 slit green chillies
1 twig curry leaves
½ Tbsp ginger, minced
½ Tbsp garlic, minced
¼ cup (28g) cashews (Optional)
1 Tbsp raisins (optional)
½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder/paprika
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
Little salt to taste

Ingredients for the gravy:
4 medium size (385g) onions, sliced and then chopped into small pieces (2 ¾ cup)
2 twig curry leaves
3 large tomatoes (240g) chopped (1 ½ cups)
3/4 - 1 Tbsp freshly minced ginger
3/4 - 1 Tbsp freshly minced garlic
2-4 green chillies split lengthwise
1 ½ tsp fennel seeds powdered (1/2 heaped tablespoon)
2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder/paprika
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp garam masala powder
A handful of coriander leaves, chopped

4 Tbsp oil
Salt as required
¼ cup water (Add it only if your grvay is quite dry and to add moisture)


1.Clean the chicken well and make shallow incision on the thick part of chicken. Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients under marinade. Cover with a cling film and place it in the refrigerator for a minimum of two hours or overnight. (I usually marinate it overnight to let the marinade penetrate through.)

2. Make the egg stuffing:

a.Boil eggs, peel and keep aside. Heat oil in a saucepan and sauté the cashews until golden and sauté the raisins until it puffs up. Remove from the pan and keep them aside along with the eggs. In the same pan, add the sliced onions, curry leaves, green chillies, ginger and garlic and sauté till onion turns brown. Add all the spice powders (turmeric powder, coriander powder and chilli powder) and sauté till it leaves aroma. Add raisins and cashews if using and mix well. Add eggs and mix well.

3. Stuff the chicken with this mixture taking care not to over stuff it. Insert the eggs first and then the onion masala. Tie the legs together with a twine and hands too.

4.Make the gravy and brief-fry the chicken:

a. Heat 4 Tbsp of oil in a large frying pan or wok and shallow fry the chicken in medium heat briefly just for few minutes until all side are lightly browned. It may take 10-15 minutes for the whole chicken. Remove the chicken and drain on a kitchen towel. In the same pan, add the sliced onions, curry leaves, green chillies, ginger and garlic and sauté till onion turns brown. Add tomatoes and sauté on medium heat till they start to breakdown. Add the spice powders (turmeric powder, coriander powder, fennel powder and chilli powder) and sauté till it forms a mass and tomatoes are pulpy. Add little water if the mixture is dry. Add coriander leaves and sprinkle garam masala. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes more.

5. Final cooking:

a.Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Spread half of the gravy masala on to a baking tray/pyrex dish and place the half fried chicken on the masala. Spread rest of masala on the chicken. Cover the entire dish with foil. Place it in the centre rack of oven and bake for about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for further 10 minutes.


b. After the gravy masala is prepared, place the brief-fried chicken on the masala, cover with a lid and cook it on medium flame until done. Make sure you flip the chicken on all sides to ensure thorough cooking.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Savioardi (Lady Fingers)

Seasons Greetings to all!

It was snowing here during last weekend it is a pleasure to see the stunning snow laden streets, trees, and the roofs of houses blanketed with snow. Temperature has been hitting minus degrees recently and yesterday it even reached minus 6 degrees!!! This is the perfect weather for having a bowl of soup and just snuggling under the soft blanket the whole day doing nothing. It’s all Christmassy everywhere, the snow, the gifts and the whole of the town center and malls are always fully packed!! The shops and stores are elegant and colourful with all the Christmas items on sales like the x’mas decor, trees, huge stockings, gift items etc etc. And it’s even livelier in the north than in the south where I used to live before.

Last weekend we had a potluck party at our friend’s place and it was so much of fun. There were four families altogether and four kids. All of them were to cook and bring something for the potluck and we had an elaborate three course meal. There were 2 starters i.e. chilli prawns and Chilli Paneer from my side, 3 main course – Chicken Biriyani, Roasted fish Masala, Roasted chicken with vegetables, paalappam, vellappam and chicken curry. For the dessert it was Tiramisu, one of the tastiest desserts ever, well, I prepared it and I should say everyone just LOVED it and some even went for a second and third helping!!!!It was a superhit....Not only the dessert but all others tasted so YUM!!

About the sponge is another story. I din’t actually think of baking it. I bought all other ingredients for Tiramisu and couldn’t find sponge fingers. Thought I would buy them later and it din’t work either. So I thought it was easy baking it rather than shopping around with my little naughty one. It’s a hurdle shopping around with a toddler who wants to run around and wants all stuffs that comes on their way. So I sat down and searched for some recipes on net. Followed a recipe I got from The recipe was good, but the instructions that I followed there gave me a result that was so difficult to pipe and when I baked them they turned out so flat for a sponge finger. But it tasted like sponge finger nonetheless. I then set again to make sponge fingers again using the same recipe but instructions from It was easy to pipe and tasted awesome. Well, it doesn’t look like the commercially produced sponge fingers you get from the stores, but tasted EXACTLY the same. You would need two double the recipe mentioned here if you are planning to make my Tiramisu. Else you can halve the quantity mentioned in the Tiramisu and stick to the same amount of ingredients for the sponge fingers.

I used the home-made savioardi in the Tiramisu and it tasted just like the one we get from stores. So if you can’t get hold of these savioardi from stores, try piping out some. It doesn’t take much time and is easy. If you are preparing Tiramisu, make this a day or two ahead, so it takes less time to assemble the following day. I have garnished Tiramisu using melted chocolate drawings and some white chocolate and dark chocolate curls. For making the chocolate curls, first, place any large, clean metallic plate or baking tray in a warm oven for about 10 minutes until the tray is warm. Break the chocolate into small pieces and place them in a bowl. Place the bowl over another pan containing simmering water. And melt chocolate till glossy smooth. Pour the melted chocolate on the plate or metallic tray and spread it in a thin layer using a WARM non serrated knife. To make the knife warm, just wash it in hot water. Spreading the warm chocolate will be easier when you use a warm knife. Place the tray in the fridge. When it starts setting (at this point, if you press gently using a finger, it should make a depression), hold both the handle and tip of the knife and gently scrape/shave the chocolate, holding the knife in a slanting position to the sheet. It will form curls. If the chocolate is set until hard, it will break up when you try to scrape and will be hard to shape curls....

Savioardi (Lady Fingers)
½ cup (80 gm) plain flour
½ tsp vanilla essence
3 large eggs, separated
3 Tbsp + 3 Tbsp (a total of 80 gm) white caster sugar
Extra caster sugar to sprinkle.


1. Using an electric beater, beat egg yolks with 3 tbsp of sugar at high speed until pale yellow and thick, for around 5 minutes.

2. Pour in vanilla and beat again until incorporated.

3. In a squeaky clean bowl (make sure it is grease free and is free of any moisture), add the egg whites. Whip until frothy and continue whipping until it holds peak. Add 3 Tbs of sugar little by little ( a table spoon each) and beat well until think and glossy and stiff. At this point, if you invert the bowl completely, the mixture should stay intact in the bowl without pouring down.

4. Sift the flour on the batter and DO NOT FOLD IN.

5. Add the egg whites in three stages folding carefully to the flour and egg yolk mixture just until incorporated and take care not to over mix.

6. Preheat the oven to 180º C. Fill the mixture in a plastic bag, piping bag or Ziploc bag with ½ inch (1.25 cm) wide hole. If using a Ziploc bag, measure and cut out the hole using scissors. Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Hold the bag at 45 degrees and pipe out the mixture into 3 inch long sponge fingers leaving a space of 1 inch/2.54cm between each piping. After piping out all the cookies, add the powdered sugar in a wire strainer and lightly sift over the sponges. Bake it until just firm and barely golden for about 10-14 minutes depending on the oven temperature (I baked until golden for 14 minutes). Let it cool for sometime, remove and place on a wire rack for further cooling.

Notes: Do not attempt to remove as soon as it comes out of oven because it will be soft. Take it out of the baking paper as soon as it has cooled a bit. Store in airtight containers and use within 2-3 days or store in freezer if using later on. To freeze, place in a plastic bag between layers of wax or parchment paper and freeze up to 2 weeks.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Kadalapparippu Ada (Bengal Gram and Coconut Parcels)

This is one recipe that I wanted to post quite long time back. I made it during Ramadan, and mis-placed the recipe ( I forgot where I scribbled down the recipe). I Have been searching for this precious recipe for many days actually.....Just found it today!phewww....

Kadalapparippu Ada is not a very common snack that’s made all around in Malabar areas, but it is one of my family’s favourite tea-time snacks especially my dearest dad’s and mine. These are normally made during iftar (breaking of fast) or to serve guests arriving home during evenings. The preparation method is some what like Sukhiyan, but substituting channa dal for moong dal and sugar for jaggery. Like Sukhiyan, this can also be dipped in batter and then deep –fried until golden to get a crispy outer covering and a rich coconut and dal filling in..Yummm.... I personally like it this way, and prepare them this way whenever I feel like having them. But traditionally it is made by using the rice dough, flattening the dough on a banana leaf, enclosing the filling in and steam-cooking it along with the leaf to infuse the wonderful aroma of the banan leaf. Since I couldn’t find the banana leaf, I used the baking paper instead. I prepared this way exclusively for the blog. It is a bit time consuming to prepare the traditional way using the dough, but to make it easier we dip it in batter and fry it in oil, like we do for Sukhiyan. It takes much less time when you prepare this way, but more oil....If you want to prepare this Ada and want to fry them instead of steaming, please refer the Sukhiyan recipe for the outer coating’s (batter) recipe. It is exactly the same.

Here I have made huge ones to finish up the process fast, you may make smaller ones. Smaller ones look better as well.

Kadalapparippu Ada (Bengal Gram and Coconut Parcels)
Makes 15- 17 large ones


For the filling:
½ cup (100g) channa dal (Kadalapparippu)
1 ½ cup (150g) freshly grated coconut
¾ cup – 1 cup granulated sugar (adjust depending on the sweetness required)
1 tsp Ghee/clarified butter
1 small shallot sliced
½ heaped tsp cardamom powder
A good pinch of salt

For the rice dough:
2 ½ cup rice flour (unroasted)
2 ½ cup tap water
¾ tsp salt or as required

A) For the filling:
1.wash dal and cook until soft, not mushy. Cooking can be done in pressure cooker (I do it).

2. In a large frying pan, add coconut and sugar and simmer for few minutes until the sugar is completely melted. When the sugar is melted completely, you should be able to see bubbles appearing in the grated coconut. Make sure that the sugar is completely melted.

3. At this point, add the cooked dal and stir well. Cook until all the water from the sugar is vaporised and the mixture can be formed into balls.

4. Sprinkle a good pinch of salt over the filling and stir well. Add cardamom powder and stir well too.

5. In another pan/kadai, heat ghee. Add the sliced shallot and fry till slightly golden. Add it to the coconut and dal mixture and stir well. Cover and keep aside.

B). For the rice dough:

1 .In a large bowl add rice and stir in the salt. Gradually add in water and mix well until you get a smooth dough that you can shape into balls.

C). Assembling:

1. Divide the dough into 15 – 17 portions and equally divide the fillings. Cut 2 square shapes from baking paper. Shape the dough into balls and flatten them into discs. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of the filling on half of the disc leaving 2 cm from the circumference.

2. Fold the other end of the disc using the baking paper to form a semi-circle parcel sealing all the ingredients in.

3. Steam-cook them along with baking paper for about 5-10 minutes until cooked. Once the dough is cooked, it will be firm to touch. Carefully lift the Ada along with the baking paper and let it cool. You can also try placing the ada directly without the baking paper, but I was scared that it would stick to the steamer, so placed along with the baking paper. You may steam 2-3 at the same time depending on the size of the steamer.

4. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough. Best served warm.

1. As I have mentioned earlier, if you are preparing like Sukhiyan, make orm the filling into lemon sized balls. Dip the balls in the batter and deep fry them.

2. The filling and dough stays in fridge upto 4 days if not touched by hand. The filling can be eaten as it is as an evening snack or filled. Try making them fresh, since it doesn’t taste good when cold and reheated later on.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Special Fried Chicken

Ever since my friend handed over this recipe to me, this has been a regular visitor on our table. Be it a lunch or dinner...this dish is very much enjoyed by my family and we simply love it. The best part is that the chicken can be fried without adding any oil and it tastes as good as the fried ones. You can’t notice any difference at all. If you are a health freak and love good food, you will love this version. These days, I don’t add any oil while preparing this dish, since it tastes finger-licking good even without oil. So why bother add some unwanted fat when it doesn’t make any difference at all?

500g-600 g Chicken pieces
4 large cloves of garlic thinly sliced and chopped (1 ½ tbs)
1” piece ginger , thinly sliced and chopped (3/4 - 1 tbsp)
30 curry leaves (2 twigs), chopped
2 tsp Kashmiri Chilli powder
½ tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp salt or as required
¾ - 1 cup water
Oil- as required (Please read the instructions)
2-3 green chillies (optional)
1 twig curry leaves (optional)

1.Wash chicken, and pat dry. Marinate it with ginger, garlic, chilli powder, turmeric powder, curry leaves and salt for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight. If the pieces are big like leg, thigh or even breast, make 2-4 shallow slits on the meat so that the marinade can permeate through.

2. Heat a saucepan, add chicken along with enough water; cover and cook until the meat is tender. Open the lid, increase the flame and dry up almost all the water. At this point, you can see that the oil has cleared from the chicken.

3. After this, the frying process can be done in two ways as given below.

3.a) When all the water dries up and the oil clears, turn down the heat to low-medium and add 2-3 green chillies and a twig of curry leaves. Fry until the chicken is evenly browned by flipping them frequently. This is the healthier way of frying it without using oil.


3.b. Heat another frying pan, add 2-4 Tbs of oil, add 2 green chillies and a twig of curry leaves. Add the cooked chicken along with the juices and fry till brown.

Note: Adding chillies and green chillies at the end are purely optional. You may omit them. The dish is good even without adding them. I just love the flavour of green chillies and curry leaves, so added a bit more.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Tuna Chikkiyathu /Spicy Tuna Thoran (Stir-fried Tuna With Spices)

Tuna Chikkiyathu /Spicy Tuna Thoran:
Serves 3-4

Ran out of fish or prawns to prepare for an afternoon lunch? Got some tuna in stock? Then this recipe will help you out to sort the issue! Well, this recipe was somewhat my husband’s idea. It blinked in his brain on a day when we ran out of fish and seafood and the only thing we had was canned tuna. He then suggested me to prepare it this way, but I added some extra ingredients as well!!

4 tsp coconut oil
¾ cup chopped onion
15 curry leaves
1/3 cupful (1 medium size) chopped tomato
1 tbsp + 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (Adjust per taste)
Few tsp of water
½ tsp pepper powder
2*185g canned tuna, drained
1/3 cup grated coconut
½ tsp garam masala

1.Heat a large frying pan or saucepan and add oil. Add the chopped onions, curry leaves and sauté till onion becomes soft and translucent. Add the chopped tomato , pepper powder and chilli powder.

2. Cover and cook on very low flame until tomatoes are soft and masala is thick.

3.Add the drained tuna and cook on low – medium flame for about 10-15 minutes until the masala is quite dry and no moisture at all. Add coconut and stir well. Cook for few more minutes until well incorporated.

4. Add garam masala, stir well and cover and cook for a minute.

Serve as a side dish for chappathi, poori, ottil pollichathu, rice,paalappam, appam or even bread.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Potato and Cauliflower Soup with Cheese

Potato and Cauliflower Soup with Cheese
Serves 4 (1 cup each).

Soups are always a healthy alternative to fat filled snacks or any other dinner/lunch platter which contain enormous amount of oil/clarified butter etc. Recently I have been trying to reduce the use of saturated fats and other oils after an alarming discovery of the calories that is present in a Tablespoon of fat, be it an olive oil or sunflower oil. I am not sure about butter, coconut oil and clarified butter, but I guess it should be much more than the others mentioned. Yeah, Can you believe that a tablespoon of vegetable oil has 135 Kcal?!!!I read it on the label on the bottle.... So I am trying to cut down the amount of oil in my recipe, you may use more as you wish. But, the foods that contain more oil, is quite tasty if you agree, and I always had an affinity to add more oil.... I always think, why do all or almost all tasty food should be unhealthy or High in calories?!

So, on such a day when I was browsing for some healthy recipe, I came across this stunning soup at Saju’s blog. Her recipe was ‘Cauliflower and broccoli soup’. I badly wanted to have the soup ago, but dint have broccoli to start with. Hence I substituted broccoli for potato, the one vegetable that I always have in stock and made it. It was really tasty and a filling soup. Thanks to Saju for such a delicious recipe. We had it for afternoon tea along with French Baguette and had the rest at night a swell. I dint find much of a difference in taste when I had it at night, but it was really good at noon.

I have modified the recipe a bit and here goes my version. I have added little cheese - I just couldn’t hold my temptation, so added it to give a light cheesy taste. Also added water along with milk, you can use complete milk rather than adding water. The soup was very refreshing and filling. It tasted really yum with garlic bread and baguette.

1 ½ cup (200g) chopped cauliflower florets
1 cup (170g) potato cut into small cubes
½ cup (80g) thinly sliced carrot
½ cup (70g) chopped onion
¼ cup (4 Tbsp, 25g) grated cheddar cheese (optional)
1 ¾ cup semi skimmed milk
1 ¼ cup water
1 maggi stock cube crumbled (chicken or vegetable)
3 Tbsp plain flour
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Preparation :
1.Heat a saucepan, add oil. Add all the vegetables and sauté for 5 minutes. Add water, milk (leaving behind little milk to mix the flour) and stock cube and cook till vegetables are cooked well and is soft.

2. Mix the flour with little milk and add the milk to the vegetables. Let it boil for few minutes until thick. Don’t add the flour directly to soup without mixing it with milk since it becomes lumpy!

3. Add the grated cheddar and mix well until just melted. Season with pepper and serve hot.
4. Serve hot with any baguette or garlic bread.

(Salt was not added since there was adequate amount of salt in the stock cube. You may reduce the amount of stock cube in the beginning, if necessary, and add them later to adjust the salt level.)

This post is my entry for the ‘Monthly Mingle-Soups' organized by Meeta , author of one of the most stylish blogs around- "What's for lunch, Honey?". The event is hosted by yet another lovely blogger - Harini of Tongue Ticklers.

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