Friday, January 30, 2015

Appam & Chicken Stew in Thalayad, Kerala

My parents in law live on a farm in a village called Thalayad in Kerala. My mother in law Alice Mathew is a renowned cook and makes a great meal of the every day appam and chicken curry.
Each home has their own style of cooking the famous appam and chicken curry / stew breakfast, especially a Syrian Christian home.

Here is how Alice Mathew makes her chicken curry.

Because the chicken is quite hard there, it is first pressure cooked with ground whole spices. Farm grown pepper, cinnamon, and store bought cloves are ground on stone and chucked in. Add some salt and turmeric. Add 3 green chillies slit down te middle and a handful of curry leaves.
2-3 whistles in the pressure cooker are enough.
Then fry onions, 3-4 sliced fine for a full chicken till brown, add at least a tablespoon of fresh ginger and another of garlic. Add a teaspoon of coriander powder and red chilli powder. Sprinkle some hot water to bring it together and add the chicken. Once the chicken is cooked, add the thin coconut milk ( the second & third press ). Continue to cook the chicken curry for 5-8 minutes, turn the ehat low and add the thick coconut milk. Garnish with fried small onions.
In Kerala, we use fresh coconut oil . So are the coconuts and many of the spices. That is  key to making this curry so delish !

Sunday, September 01, 2013

I miss you Psyche !

Psyche Abraham: From Kippers to Karimeen, A Life
In tribute to my wonderful friend Psyche Abraham who passed away recently I am re-posting her recipes for Chicken Tarragon and mashed potatoes. I have never had better mashed potatoes and neither will you till you make them like Psyche. I wish I had taken a photograph of these two dishes when she made it for me in Trivandrum many years ago. RIP Psyche (April 1, 1936 - July 15, 2013)

Try Psyche Abraham's Chicken Tarragon and Mashed Potatoes. I once visited Psyche when she used to live in Trivandrum and I was making dinner. Psyche was appalled to hear my method of making mashed potaoes and instantly went into the kitchen and showed me how its done right! I couldn't resist sharing the recipe with you and I'll post more recipes from Psyche as we go along.
Psyche has written a book - From Kippers to Karimeen, A Life
In India, its been published by Roli books and available at all leading book stores.
Chicken Tarragon (for four)
4 whole legs i.e. thighs and drumsticks cut into two and preferably with skin on. Butter - a generous lump Salt, pepper, and dried tarragon. Brown the chicken in butter and put in an oven-proof casserole that has a lid Sprinkle with salt pepper and tarragon (tarragon may be substituted for mixed herbs or rosemary). Pour the remains of the butter in which the chicken was fried over it all, cover and cook for about 45 mins to 1 hour in a 180 oven. This is amazingly simple but delicious and a favourite with all my family.

Mashed potato (also called duchesse potatoes if you want to be fancy).
Select good firm large or medium sized potatoes. Peel and cut into quarters or eigths and boil until soft (but not too soft) in salted water. Strain as soon as cooked i.e. while the potatoes are still hot and mash with a fork. Add a lump of butter and mix in, then add a couple of desertspoons of milk, mix in and then beat vigorously till the potatoes become light and fluffy which will never happen if the potatoes are mashed cold!. Serve hot.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Bean and Tofu Soup

I have started using my Chinese clay-pot again after ages. Its great for the stove top and in the oven.

Soak a cup each of kidney and garbanzo beans overnight. Boil in enough water that you can use in the soup later.

 Chop green onions, garlic, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms and tofu.

Heat the clay pot,add a drizzle of oil, add garlic, half the green onions, spinach mushrooms tomatoes zucchini and stir. Add salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper.

Cover and cook on a low heat for a while.6-8 minutes
Add a cup and a half of stock or a soup cube.
Add the boiled kidney and garbanzo beans with its water if you want this more soupy
Lastly add the chunks of tofu and cook covered for 5 minutes.
Add the remaining green onions on top and cover .

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Naadan Kozhi Roast- Spicy Roast Chicken, A recipe from Kerala

I just made this yesterday at a friends house as catering request. Its fun and easy to make, tastes fabulous and is the best thing to serve with your every day rice and dal. I got the recipe from the book - Chef's Favourites from the Taj, which was a gift given to me by Lakshmi Lal. So thank you Lakshmi !

The recipe calls for cooking this dish in coconut oil, which if you want to replace with any other cooking oil is fine.


1 kg chicken, boneless or with bone

2 teaspoons dhania powder ( coriander powder )

2 1/2 teaspoons red chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper crushed

1/4 teaspoon haldi ( turmeric)

salt to taste

30 gm rice flour

350 gm onion chopped ( 2-3 medium sized onions )

3 green chillies sliced

2 teaspoons ginger

2 teaspoons garlic

3 green cardamoms, coarsely crush

3 cloves,coarsely crush

1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder

1/2 teaspoon saunf ( fennel powder )

2 sprigs curry leaves

1. Marinate chicken with chilli powder, dhania powder, haldi,salt and rice flour. Fry chicken crisp and set aside

2. Heat oil, add curry leaves, onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies, cardamoms and cloves. Saute onions till they are soft

3. Add chicken, garam masala, pepper and saunf and toss well. Serve hot.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Thalassery Chicken Biryani

Thalassery Biryani,Malabar Biryani,Kerala CuisineThis is the first time I'm making a Thalassery Biryani, from Ummi Abdullah's book Malabar Muslim Cookery. I have given her exact recipe from the book, but I didn't add cashews and raisins as I don't like much dry fruit in biryani personally.
We had it with raw papaya thoran, pappadam and fried mackeral fish। A thoran is not necessarily served along with a biryani meal, it would usually be fried fish, pappadam , pickle and raita. But since I had some raw papayas at home, I decided to make the thoran,which quickly made friends with the biryani at the table.
Chicken Biryani- Ingredients

1 Kg Chicken
1 Kg Pulao Rice ( I use a small-grained biryani rice from Calicut called Kaima, but Jeera rice works well too )
500 gm onions
250 gm ghee or oil
100 gm green chillies
50 gm ginger
50 gm garlic
1 tsp poppy seeds
pinch of d=saffron or yellow food colouring
2 tsp garam masala powder ( I used my own)
1 cup curd
1 bunch coriander leaves
small bunch mint leaves
20 gm sliced cashewnuts
20 gm raisins
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp rose water

Ummi Abdullah's Garam Masala ( Dry Grind the following spices to a powder )
2 gm cinnamon
1 gm green cardamom
1 gm cloves
1/4 Nutmeg
1/2 tsp anise seed
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp cake seed
2 gm mace

1. Slice the onions fine.
2. Grind the green chillies, ginger, garlic, and poppy seeds.
3. Chop the coriander and mint leaves
4. Heat a heavy bottomed vessel and add half the ghee. Add half the sliced onions and fry till transparent.
5. Add the ginger-garlic,chillies and poppy seed paste and fry for 2-3 minutes
6.Add the chicken and fry a few minutes more.
7. Add the beaten curd, salt and 1/4 cup warm water. Cover and cook on a slow fire.
8. When the chicken is half cooked,add the lime juice, coriander leaves and mint leaves. Cook till the chicken is tender and the water is absorbed.

9. Wash the rice and drain it in a colander.
10. Heat the rest of the ghee in a vessel. Add the pother half of the onion and fry till golden brown, add the cashews and raisins and fry with the onions. Remove and keep aside.
11. Add the drained rice and fry for 5 minutes. Add double the quantity of hot water and cook the rice till soft and the water absorbed.
12.Take the vessel with the chicken and sprinkle some of the garam masala powder on to the chicken masala.
13. Put one layer of cooked rice on top of the chicken masala. Sprinkle some garam masala powder, some fried onion, cashew nuts and raisins and some saffron/ food colouring soaked in rose water.
14.Finish with two more layers of rice the same way.
15.Cover with a heavy lid.
16.Place some live coals on top for 15 minutes or put the dish in a pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Ritu's Rajma ( Red Kidney Beans)

Rajma - Red Kidney Bean Curry, Ritu TalwarIf you live in Bangalore and know Ritu Talwar, you'll know that she makes a kick-ass Rajma-Chawal lunch on Sunday, well - maybe most Sundays. These are no ordinary Rajma beans either, they're the best, and come all the way from Jammu.

After years of eating this meal at so many different homes and restaurants all I know is that I can tell a good Rajma meal when I taste one and this is absolutely the best !

1. Soak 1.5 cup of Rajma beans overnight in 6 cups water

2. Cook the beans in the same water with salt for 4-5 whistles in the pressure cooker on a high flame and then on a low flame for 20 minutes

3. Grind together- 3 medium onions, 3 tomatoes, a 2" piece of fresh ginger and 6-8 garlic cloves, 2-3 green chillies

4. Heat a little oil, add the ground masala, half a teaspoon of turmeric. Keep stirring this on a medium flame till it becomes a fairly dry ball

5. Add 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp. red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 2 tsp. mutton masala. You may need to add some of the liquid from the boiled rajma, or a little hot water to loosen the masala paste and the added powders. Stir together to form a thick paste

6. Add the rajma beans only to the dry masala and stir for 7-8 minutes. Add more salt if you need to

7. Heat the pressure cooker with all the liquid in it and add the rajma beans and masala back to it, bring to a boil and cook together till the gravy is of the consistency you like. Once the oil comes to the surface the rajma is ready

8. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with plain boiled rice and kachumbar salad!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Irene Desouza's Nawabi Chicken

I worked with Irene D'Souza's daughter some time ago . When we met at the lunch table in office, Charmaine D'Souza's food was the best !! This gentle but exquisite tasting Chicken Curry is really quite "nawabi" without being heavy and rich.
Irene was generous with the recipe, just like with her food.

1. Marinate a Kilo of chicken in thick curd for half an hour or so

2. Fry 2 onions finely cut till brown

3. Add a tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste

4. When fried well, add a tablespoon of chilli powder, a pinch of haldi (turmeric powder) and 1 teaspoon each of jeera (cumin), dhania (coriander) and garam-masala powder. Fry all the masala till the oil separates

5. Add the marinated chicken , salt to taste and cook till the chicken is soft and cooked

6. Add slit green chillies if you want it spicier

7. Garnish with coriander leaves chopped fine