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.

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