I guess we had our share of snow for the year. It was snowing horrendously over the past two weeks followed by the heavy rain and blustering winds. Since we dint get any snow last year, it was a sight to see the streets covered in soft fluffy snow, snow kissed trees and hills. It was a task scraping down the ice off the car numbing your fingers with the cold seeping through the gloves, clearing off the driveway and driving on the slippery roads.
The snow has all gone now, but it’s still cold with fluctuating temperature constantly hitting below zero, snowing raining, winds and all that could remind you of cold. Snow was good even though freezing, the son and the neighbourhood kids spent time playing outside until late, making snow man, sledging and throwing snow balls at each other. I just watched them through the window, sipping hot tea to keep myself warm
All you want for winter is some warming, comforting and quite a filling meal, perfect for a cold chilly weather. This recipe of mine does fit the chilly weather. Atti-pathal, which literally means ‘layered loaf’ is a very favourite of ours and a delicious recipe which involves quite a bit of work. It is similar to lasagne, with alternative layer of meat mix and the pasta sheets, but use egg mix instead of the cheese. This is one dish, that I would suggest everyone to try atleast once in their life time. Absolutely scrumptious!
We in kannur call it ‘Atti pathal’, but many others call it Atti pathiri/chatti pathiri etc. Whatever you call it, this is the savoury version of the chatti pathiri I posted long back. It is one of the most popular snacks that comes from North Malabar Muslim house hold, where they usually serve this for an evening snack. But this is so rich, that it would keep you full for longer so that a dinner usually would not be required.
Recipe is straight forward, make the chicken filling, make the pancakes, and layer them by dipping the pancakes into the egg mix. Sounds simple? It’s not hard to make, believe me, but it does take very long time to prepare. Chopping, sautéing and cooking; this is a labour-oriented dish, but the end result is very satisfying. These kind of labour oriented snacks are usually made during Ramadan, and is had once the fast is broken.
Since preparing atti-pathal takes quite a bit of time, cooking process can be done over couple of day’s time. Make the filling one day, and do the rest next day. Making the whole dish in a day can tire you out, and you wouldn’t want to do it again. So it would be a good idea if you could split the job. You could also use the same filling for any snack like samosa, cutlets, spring rolls etc..Over to the recipe:
750g chicken on bone
2 tsp oil
1-2 tsp black pepper powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
5 medium onions sliced, 500g, 4 cups
8 garlic 1 ½ tbsp, finely chopped
2 ”, 1 ½ tbsp finley chopped ginger
4 green chillies finely chopped, 2 tbsp
½ cup finely chopped coriander leaves
¼ tsp turmeric
¾ tsp garam masala powder
2 cups plain flour
2 large eggs, 120 g
2 ¼ cups water
¾ tsp salt
2 tsp melted ghee
For egg-milk mix to coat the pancakes:
4 eggs,250g or you may use 5 if you don’t have enough eggs to coat the pancakes
¼ cup milk
pinch of salt
For the filling (Chicken masala):
1.Rub the chicken with salt, turmeric and pepper powder. Place it in a saucepan, add oil, cover and cook on medium heat until the chicken is done, turning couple of times occasionally. Once the chicken is cooked, boil off the liquid in the pan, turn off the heat.
2. Cool the chicken down, separate the chicken off the bone and shred the chicken using fingers and discard the bones. Keep the shredded chicken pieces aside.
3. In a large frying pan or a sauce pan, throw in the sliced onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies and salt and cook on medium heat until onions are soft, wilted and translucent.
4. Add pepper powder, turmeric powder and sauté for few more seconds.
5. Add cooked minced meat and lime juice to this; mix well and simmer for about 5- 10 minutes on medium heat keeping the lid on.
7. Add chopped coriander and garam masala to this and stir well and cook for further couple of minutes until the leaves are wilted.
Break the eggs into a wide bowl and whisk in milk. Add a pinch of salt and keep aside. This is used to coat the pan cakes while layering, and to keep the whole Atti pathal into one piece without splitting.
For the pancakes and final Assembling:
1. To make the batter, Mix all the ingredients well in a large bowl using a balloon whisk or Blend them in a blender until everything is blended without lumps.
2. Now, for making your pancakes, make them to the size of the saucepan or cake tin that you will be doing your final assembly. I cooked my atti pathal in a 9 inch pan, so I made my pancakes slightly bigger than the pan, about 10-11 inch, so that I can cover the base of the pan well. For making the pancake, Mix egg, flour, salt, ghee and water into a lump free batter.
3. Heat a frying pan to medium heat, pour a ladleful of batter into the centre of the pan, and with the back of the spatula, move in a gentle coil motion starting from the centre of the pan stretching out of the pan to draw the batter out to make a thin pancake. You can also swirl the pan to spread the batter to form a thin pancake. Cook for a minute, then flip over and cook on the other side for half a minute or so until you see few brown spots sparingly on the pancake. You will get about 10-12 pancakes of this size with this amount of batter.
4. Grease the pan you are going to make your attipathal and place the first pathiri onto the base of the pan.
Note: I sometimes layer my pan with aluminium foil to avoid the pancake sticking to the pan. Not necessary, but if you are worried about your pan-cake sticking to the pan, line the pan with aluminium foil. I also cook pancakes and do the layering of the pathiri in the saucepan simultaneously, so, by the time I finish making the pancakes, I would also have finished layering the pathiri. I do it mainly because, while stacking up the pan-cakes, there is a possibility of the pancakes sticking onto each other making it difficult to separate. You may avoid this by gently smearing the cooked pancakes with oil or by placing foil or cling film between the layers OR by placing them separately on a news paper. I don’t do any of them, as I can manage assembling and pan-cake making at the same time.
5. Make a second pancake, same as above, dip it in egg-milk mix and place it on the first pancake. Scatter some masala on top sparingly and place another pancake dipped in egg-milk mix on top of the masala. Keep repeating the procedure until all the pancake batter is used up to make pancakes and layering is done. When it reaches the top-most layer, place 2 pancakes, just as how you did for the base of the attipathal.
(So, when you flip your pan cake, if in case if one pancake stick to the pan, your filling is still safe as there is another pancake beneath it. This is my tip).
6. Pour the remaining egg-milk mix onto the stacked pathiris and tuck in the sides of the pan cakes in.
7. Cover the pan tightly with a tight fitting lid, place a simmering plate (if you have one as this prevents the pathri from burning) on the heat and place the saucepan with the Atti pathiri on the simmering plate. Let the atti pathiri cook on low heat until the egg mix on top is set and steam has started coming through, about 20-30 minutes depending on the heat and the pan used. Flip this on to a plate, and slide it back to the pan, the top side going down. Cook for 5 more minutes.
You can cut them into squares of serve in wedges and have with ketchup if you like it that way.
Notes: Making this attipathal is not a science. You can use any size pan and make make pancakes to fit that pan.
This can also be baked in a pan. Bake it in a moderate temperature oven until the top is just golden.