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

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tapioca and Sardine Curry, A Kerala Speciality

Tapioca and Sardine Curry, KeralaKnown as "Kappa-Meen Curry" in God's own country- this is by far the best breakfast, lunch or dinner I have eaten when I'm in Kerala. Its made on most days as a late morning breakfast at my father-in-law's farm, north of Calicut in a place called Thalayad, for the workers who work on the coconut plantation. This breakfast is often eaten along with a chutney that's spicy and tangy.
Don't leave Kerala without trying this dish, and its made with a variety of fish curries other than sardine curry.

Zains Restaurant - Calicut Kerala

Zains Restaurant, Calicut, KeralaBecause of this article we went for an exquisite meal, to Zains in Calicut, Kerala. Below is an extract from the article in Outlook Traveller by friend Hari Menon on North Kerala's Mappila cuisine. You can read the whole article here.

" Zain’s is where Kozhikode’s foodies go for their biriyani fix. There’s a good reason why the lane outside the restaurant fills quickly with cars, bikes and people. It isn’t just the biriyani. The dishes Zainabi Noor’s kitchen turns out every day are among the best examples of Mappila cooking you can get anywhere. It’s been over three decades since Zainabi started this restaurant, a pioneering woman entrepreneur. Today, as she surveys her popular realm with a mixture of businesslike efficiency and grandmotherly charm, it’s hard to believe her critics gave the venture a month. Her husband and partner, Noor Mohammed, an Afghan who once played football for Kerala, takes me through the day’s specials, most of which customers can check out in a glass cabinet in the restaurant—a good thing for visitors, since the menu is entirely in Malayalam. There’s the wonderfully fragrant prawn and chicken biriyani; kozhi adachitathu (whole chicken stuffed with eggs) which is half-cooked in masala, then fried, before being returned to the masala; the wonderful meen pathiri, a rice-based bread this time, steamed in plantain leaves with a fried fish and savoury stuffing, and, to finish with; unnakai, made from mashed boiled bananas, mixed with eggs, sugar, nuts and raisins before being deep fried, and chattipathiri, a savoury dessert made of refined flour pathiris layered with a mixture of beaten eggs, cardamom and sugar, with cashew, poppy seeds and raisins added."

Plain Pathiri and Chicken Curry

Photo: A plate of plain pathiri with chicken curry.

Zains is located behind the Fire Station on Convent Cross Road, South Beach,

Calicut - 673001

Tel: +(91)-(495)-2366311

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Doc Varkey's Pork Chops with Apple Sauce

Pork Chops with Apple SauceI thought I'd include some organic facts about pork before the recipe so we don't immediately relegate this much maligned meat into the "not-so-healthy" category of foods.
Eat in moderation just like anything else you enjoy !!

The information below is sourced from

Nutritional Value of Pork:
Pork makes to the position of most widely consumed meat till today, with being bred almost in all major parts of the world. It is a rich source of proteins and fats. This meat being used to make sausages, ham and bacon is an essential part of people's daily nutrients requirement in many countries. No doubt, Pork has always been an energy packed food.

Nutrition Facts and Information about Pork:
Pork has a high mineral content of Phosphorus, Selenium, Sodium, Zinc, Potassium and Copper. The two minerals which are present in good quantities are Iron and Magnesium, while Calcium and Manganese are found in traces only.

Vitamin Content of Pork:
Pork is highly enriched with Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Thiamin, Niacin, Riboflavin and Pantothenic Acid. However, Vitamin A and Vitamin E are found in very small amounts.

Calorie Content of Pork:
Calorific value of Pork is 458.0 per 100 gm. This is quite high when compared to other animal products like chicken.
Health Benefits of Pork:
Consumption of Pork in moderate quantities is helpful in gaining energy. It is good for skin, eyes, nervous system, bones and mental performance. Intake of Pork also ensures better immunity to body due to presence of essential antioxidants.

Now that we have that out of the way, here's the recipe for this delicious pork chops recipe which is slightly adapted from Doc Varkey's - only in the method of cooking and not in ingredients.


4-6 pork chops/Spare Ribs

2 medium onions sliced fine

1.5 tablespoon olive oil

1 Apple, peeled and chopped small

1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste

1 cup warm water

1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon Maggi hot and sweet tomato ketchup :-)

Salt to taste


1. Sear pork chops on a high flame till brown on either side. Keep aside.

2. Heat 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil in a pressure cooker or a heavy bottomed casserole. Add onions. Cook till soft

3. Add chopped apples and cook till soft

4. Add ginger-garlic paste, honey, wooster sauce, pepper, maggi sauce or any hot & sweet sauce, and stir over a low flame till all ingredients combine well

5. Add browned pork chops and cook together for about 10 minutes

6. Add salt to taste, and a cup of hot water and stir

7. Pressure cook for 30 minutes or cook on low heat in a covered casserole till meat is soft