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.

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