PACHADI

(RAITA – YOGHURT WITH CUCUMBER & ONION)

Pachadi is made with yoghurt which is served as side dish…… It is also known as RAITA all over India…… It provides cooling effect to offset any spicy food like biriyani.

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INGREDIENTS : 1  1/2 – 2 cups yoghurt, 1 cucumber, 1 small onion, 1-2 green chillies, black pepper powder & salt & sugar to taste.

DIRECTIONS : Beat yoghurt with black pepper powder, salt & sugar….. Keep it aside….. Chop cucumber, onions, green chillies finely…. Mix these with beaten yoghurt…… Garnish with little of sliced onion & cucumber…… Keep in refrigerator….. Serve chilled.

NOTE : Can garnish with coriander leaves/ mint leaves, etc….. Can also add other vegetables like carrots in the pachadi……. One can grate the vegetables instead of chopping….. Can be easily served as a dip too.

BIRIYANI CHAMMANTHI

(BIRIYANI CHUTNEY)

Biriyani Chammanthi is a must with biriyani…….Addition of yoghurt brings in the sour element…… Coriander & mint makes this chutney very flavourful…….. Chutneys are normally grounded in Ammikkal, a mortar & pestle, in Kerala homes……

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Courtesy Mini Mahesh

Food processors/Electric grinders are good enough to make these chutneys.

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INGREDIENTS : 1 cup grated coconut, 1-2 tbsp yoghurt, few mint leaves, few sprigs coriander, 4 green chillies, 4-8 cloves garlic, 1 tsp ginger(optional), salt to taste.

DIRECTIONS : Grind all the ingredients to a paste…… Serve with Biriyani…….. This is also known as Biriyani Chammanthi.

NOTE : One can increase/ decrease chillies according to taste…….. Similarly sour element can be increased/decreased according to taste.

ETHAPAZHAM ACHAR

(DATE PICKLE)

This spicy sweet & sour pickle is a Malabar speciality…… Generally served with Malabar Biriyani/Ghee rice.

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INGREDIENTS :  20-25 Dates, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 3-4 red chillies , 1-2 green chillies, 1″ ginger, 4-6 cloves garlic, 1 tsp mustard seeds, a pinch of asafoetida, 1/3 cup vinegar, 1 tbsp tamarind pulp, 2 tbsp oil, 1/2 cup Jaggery(optional), salt to taste.

DIRECTIONS : Chop washed & deseeded dates into small pieces……. Grind red chillies with vinegar & mix thoroughly with jaggery……. Finely chop ginger, garlic, green chillies…… Heat oil in a pan……. Add crushed mustard seeds & asafoetida……. Sauté…….. Add chopped ginger, garlic & green chillies……. Sauté…… Add turmeric powder…… Sauté for some time on low flame….. Now add date chunks, vinegar-jaggery mixture, tamarind pulp & salt to the pan…….Stir thoroughly & cook for few minutes……. Remove from flame….. Cool & transfer to an air tight container…… Keep refrigerated……. Usually served with Biriyani.

NOTE : Usually oil used is gingelly (sesame) oil…… One can increase tamarind pulp a little more to increase tartness…… Chillies can be adjusted according to taste….. Sugar can replace jaggery……. Those who don’t like sweetness in pickle can ignore jaggery/sugar.

MALABAR KOZHI BIRIYANI

(MALABAR CHICKEN BIRIYANI)

This biriyani is also called Thalassery Biriyani and is evocative of various foreign influences on Malabar Region……Thalassery is sea port through which export of spices took place….. Thus Arab, European & Malabar cultures merged here giving rise to some wonderful recipes like this biriyani…… A short grained, thin & fragrant Kaima or Jeerakasala rice is used in this recipe.

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INGREDIENTS : 1/2 kg Chicken, 250 gms Kaima/Jeerakasala rice.

1st MARINADE : 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1 lemon, salt to taste.

2nd MARINADE : 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, 1- 2 tsp poppy seeds, 2″ginger, 1 pod garlic, 3-4 green chillies, few sprigs coriander, few mint leaves, few curry leaves, 1/2 cup yoghurt.

MASALA FOR CHICKEN : 2-3″ cinnamon, 4-6 cloves, 4-6 cardamom, 2-3 bay leaves, a pinch of nutmeg powder, 4-6 onions, 1 large tomato(optional), 1-2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter).

FOR THE RICE : 2″ cinnamon, 4-6 cloves, 4-6 cardamoms, 2-3 bay leaves, 6-8 curry leaves, 1 large onion(optional), 2-3 tbsp ghee, salt to taste, water.

FOR GARNISH : Eggs, cashew nuts, raisins, 1 pinch saffron, 1/2 cup milk.

DIRECTIONS : Wash chicken pieces thoroughly….. Mix 1st marinade together and marinate the chicken for at least an hour……

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Stir fry the marinated chicken quickly in oil till 1/4th done…….

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Keep aside.

Grind together cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, ginger, garlic & green chillies……. Mix the paste with coriander leaves, mint leaves, curry leaves, yoghurt & the remaining 1st marinade……. Marinate the 1/4th done chicken with this marinade for at least 1/2 an hour.

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Wash the rice thoroughly…… Heat ghee in a pan….. Add cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms, bay leaves & curry leaves…… Sauté….. Add onions….. Fry till it just turns pink……. Add the washed rice….. Sauté till rice turns translucent…… Add just enough water….. Cook till almost done & water is dry. Keep aside.

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Heat ghee in another pan….. Add cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms, bay leaves……. Add sliced onions….. Fry till brown….. Add in chopped tomatoes & a pinch of nutmeg powder….. Sauté….. Add marinated chicken….. Stir properly…..

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Cover the pan with lid & cook on medium flame for at least 5-6 minutes….. Remove the lid, increase the flame, keep stirring, cook till chicken is done & the gravy is thickened.

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Finally, take another pan ….. Layer it with alternate layers of rice & cooked chicken……

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Top layer should be rice…….

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Make some small holes in rice……. Pour into each hole saffron milk…….

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Garnish the top with boiled eggs cut in 4 pieces, fried cashew nuts & fried raisins…… Sprinkle little ghee on top……Cover the pan with lid……. Keep it on very slow flame for few minutes…… Put off the flame…… Let it rest for at least 10 minutes…… Serve hot with pachadi (raita), biriyani chammanthi (chutney), date pickle (Ethapazham Achar) & papad…….

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Instead of water, Dahasamani water is preferred to be used for drinking with the meal……. After the meal of Biriyani, Sulaimani Tea is served.

NOTE : Kaima rice does not need to be pre-soaked…… One can use normal Basmati rice if Kaima/Jeerakasala rice is not available……. If the egg is nicely three fourth done then it can be used as garnish just before serving…….. Can also garnish with fried onions.

CHUKKU KAPPI

(DRY GINGER COFFEE)

Since monsoons are round the corner, I thought I might as well write about one of Kerala’s home remedies……. Kerala is the only State of India where Ayurveda is predominant & not alternative system of medication….. Chukku or dry ginger, in all Ayurvedic medicines, is a common ingredient due to it’s carminative & digestive properties……. The main source of all diseases, as per Ayurveda, is indigestion…… Chukku Kappi is a concoction of coffee with pungent spices, aromatic herbs & jaggery……. It is a strong sweet & spicy brew which helps to reduce nasal congestions, throat infections, mild fevers, indigestion, etc……. One can find similarity of this brew with Kava, Arabic Coffee drunk throughout the Middle East, which is brew of coffee + spices ( particularly cardamom).

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INGREDIENTS : 1 tsp Coffee powder, 1/2 tsp ginger powder, 1/2 tsp black pepper corns(crushed), 1/4 tsp cumin powder, 1/4 tsp coriander powder, 3-4 fenugreek seeds(optional), 2 cardamom(crushed), 2 cloves(crushed), 1/4″ cinnamon(crushed), 5-8Tulsi (basil) leaves, 2-3 guava leaves(optional), 1 tbsp palm jaggery, 2 cups water.

DIRECTIONS : Break dry ginger into tiny pieces…… Grind it to get fine powder….. Can be stored in airtight containers for quite some time……. Heat water in a pan…… Add palm jaggery (if palm jaggery is not available, one can use normal jaggery, i.e., sugarcane jaggery)……… When jaggery melts add in the spices….. Boil……. Add coffee powder & boil for a minute….. Now add tulsi & guava leaves…… Cover the pan with lid & turn off the flame…… Strain the coffee after 5 minutes……. Serve hot.

NOTE : The said importance  of each ingredients…….

Coffee : Potentially protects against liver cancer, Parkinson’s disease, etc.

Ginger : Is anti bacterial & an analgesic…… Serves as a detoxifying agent, aids digestion, helps alleviate cough & cold/fever/nasal congestions/sore throat, etc.

Black Pepper : The health benefits include relief from common cold, coughs, respiratory disorders, anaemia, indigestion, etc.

Cumin : Aids digestion, improves immunity, provides relief from insomnia/Asthma/ anaemia/skin disorders/ common colds/ cancer, etc.

Coriander : Helps in the treatment of high cholesterol levels, skin inflammations, indigestion, anaemia, mouth ulcers, etc.

Fenugreek : Provides relief from fever, sore throat, mouth ulcers, anaemia, insomnia, dandruff, stomach & respiratory disorders, etc.

Cardamom : Combats acidity, bloating, gas, heartburn, loss of appetite, nausea, constipation, etc.

Cloves : Have antioxidant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti -mutagenic, local anaesthetic & carminative properties…… Thus it aids in digestion, fights against oral diseases/ headaches/cancer, boosts immune system, controls diabetes, protects liver, preserves bone quality, etc.

Cinnamon : Has anti-inflammatory compounds which helps to relieve pain & stiffness of muscles/joints due to arthritis….. It enhances antioxidant defences, etc.

Tulsi : Has very powerful anti-bacterial, fungicidal, germicidal & antibiotic properties…… Thus it provides great relief for regular fever, bacterial & viral infections, cold, cough, etc.

Guava leaves : These are full of antioxidants, anti-bacterials, anti-inflammatory agents & tannins which have noteworthy health benefits – from treatment of stomach ailments to chronic diseases like cancer.

Palm Jaggery : Cleanses body, provides a lot of vitamins & minerals,acts as a digestive agent, boosts immunity, helps treat cold & cough, etc…… Being highly rich in calcium it is very good for bones.

SATHA

(TOMATO  CARROT CHUTNEY)

This chutney is influenced from Dakkous, an Arabian tomato chutney, which is served with Arabian Mandi dishes…… Satha has delicious fresh taste.

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INGREDIENTS : 2-3 Tomatoes, 1 Carrot, 1 Onion, Green chillies (according to taste), 3-4 cloves of garlic, Fresh coriander (optional), Salt to taste, 1 – 1 1/2 tbsp vinegar.

DIRECTIONS : Grind all the ingredients together in such a way that little bits of chunks remain…… Serve garnished with green chillies & coriander leaves…….. Satha goes very well with Kozhi Mandi.

KOZHI MANDI

(CHICKEN MANDI)

Kozhi Mandi is normally cooked in a deep hole in the ground which is tiled with clay bricks…… Wood coals are used to cook….. Delicious smoked flavour permeates through the dish….. Kozhi Mandi is a Malabar version of Arabian Mandi recipes which is traditionally found in Yemen & other Middle East countries……. Here is an attempt to give an easier version of this dish…..

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INGREDIENTS 1kg Chicken, little oil.

For Marination : 2 tbsp Mandi masala, 1 large lemon, 1 tbsp ginger paste/grated, 1 1/2 tbsp garlic paste/grated, 2-3 tbsp butter, salt to taste.

For Mandi Masala : 1 cinnamon(about 3″), 6-8 cardamom, 8-10 cloves, 2 bay leaves, 1tbsp coriander, 1/2 tbsp cumin, 1-2 dried red chillies, 1 tbsp black pepper corns, 1 tsp fennel powder, 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder.

For Rice : 2 cups Basmati Rice, 2-3 large onions, 1 -2 tsp ginger paste/grated, 1 tbsp garlic paste/grated, 1 -2 tomatoes, 3-4 green chillies, few strands of saffron, 8-10 black pepper corns, 5-6 cardamom, 2″-3″ cinnamon, 3-4 tbsp butter, salt to taste, 4 cups chicken stock/water, dry fruits like cashew+raisins+pine nuts (optional).

For Chicken Stock: 1/2 kg Chicken giblets, 5-6 large onions, 1-2 pods garlic, 1″ ginger, 3-4 green chillies, few black pepper corns, few green pepper corns(optional), 2 carrots(optional), 1 small potato(optional), 2-3 bay leaves, few cloves, few cardamoms, 1 1/2″ cinnamon, salt to taste, water, little butter.

DIRECTIONS  Wash and soak rice for half an hour.

Mix & grind the ingredients of Mandi Masala to make the spice.

Boil all the Chicken Stock ingredients in a saucepan on high flame for first 10-15 mins….. Use enough water to make 4-6 cups of stock……Now lower the flame & simmer covered for at least 1-1 1/2 hours ……. Skim off any scum which rises to the surface……. Cool…… Strain the stock through a sieve to remove all solids…… Aromatic stock is ready.

To make the Marinade, mix all the spice pastes & powders with lemon juice & salt…… Wash the chicken, make cuts on it & marinate with the marinade….. Keep aside for 2 hours.

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Heat a little butter & little oil in pan…… Cook marinated chicken in it covered on low flame till nicely browned…… Remove the chicken from the pan & keep aside.

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In another pan heat little butter & little oil…… Sauté sliced onions till translucent….. Add in ginger & garlic pastes…..Sauté…… Purée the tomatoes & add it in…. Stir & add green chillies….. Mix in washed & soaked rice…… Fry the dry fruits in another pan & add it to the rice….. Now mix in the leftover fried masala which one gets after cooking the chicken……. Sauté well…… Add in 4 cups of stock/water along with pepper corns, cinnamon, cardamom, butter & salt…..Bring to a boil & cook covered with lid……. (If stock is used, one has to use less pepper corns, cinnamon, cardamom & salt – as these are already there in the stock).

Just before the water is completely absorbed by the rice, remove the lid from the rice & arrange the browned chicken on it…..

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Cover with lid & cook till water is completely absorbed.

Remove the lid again & make a depression in the rice….. Place a bowl with hot coal in the depression…… Add some butter on the coal…..

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Quickly cover with lid & allow the smoke to permeate through the rice & chicken.

Serve hot with Satha ( a tomato & carrot chutney).

NOTE Ghee (clarified butter) can be used instead of butter…… Also if one does not have time to make stock, one can use water, this dish tastes equally good…… Or one can use chicken stock cubes available in market.