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.

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.

KOZHI THALAYANA

(CHICKEN PILLOW)

This is a very interesting Arab influenced dish……Like Middle East,  Mappila Cuisine has a lot of stuffed recipes like Arikadukka (Stuffed Mussels Fry), Aadu Porichathu ( Goat Raost : Eggs are stuffed into marinated chicken which in return is stuffed into the goat & roasted together)…… All these dishes take a lot of time to prepare but the outcome is just delicious…. Kozhi Thalayana is a whole chicken stuffed with eggs & then covered with dough & fried.

JpegINGREDIENTS : 800 gms whole chicken.

For Dough : 2 cups maida, 1/2 cup yoghurt, salt to taste, little oil, warm water.

For Marination : 1 tbsp ginger paste, 2tbsp garlic paste, 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder, 1 tsp black pepper powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 4 tbsp yoghurt, 1/2 small lemon, chopped curry leaves (optional), salt to taste, little oil.

For Stuffing : Eggs, 4-5 big onions, 1/2 tsp ginger paste, 1 tsp garlic paste, 1 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp garam masala powder ( powdered cinnamon + cloves + cardamom), 2 green chillies,  few curry leaves, coriander leaves, salt to taste, oil.

For Masala : 6 big onions, 2 tomatoes, 3/4 tsp ginger paste, 1  1/2 tsp garlic paste, 1 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp chilli powder, 1/2 tsp black pepper powder, 1 – 1  1/2 tsp garam masala powder, 2 green chillies, coriander leaves, curry leaves, salt to taste, oil.

DIRECTIONS : First mix all the marination ingredients ….. Clean the whole chicken inside out…. Make cuts on the chicken….. Marinate the chicken with marinade for at least 1 hour.

To make the STUFFING, boil eggs….. Heat oil…. Fry onions till soft & brownish….. Chop green chillies & add….add curry leaves, ginger & garlic pastes….. Sauté for some time….. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, black pepper powder, garam masala powder & salt….. Sauté…….. Now add in eggs & combine with the masala well….Mix in the finely chopped coriander leaves….. Remove the pan  & let the stuffing cool down.

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In the meantime, make the dough by combining maida, yoghurt, little oil, salt  & enough warm water.

To make the MASALA, heat oil….. Sauté onions till light brown….. Add chopped tomatoes, chopped green chillies, few curry leave….. Sauté…… Add the masala powders & salt….. Fry briefly…… Add in the coriander leaves….. Combine well…. Cook till the MASALA is dry….. Remove from heat…. Keep aside.

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Fill the Stuffing inside the marinated chicken….. Close the ends with toothpicks…. Also pin the legs & wings to the sides with toothpicks……

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Heat oil in a big pan…… Cook the chicken covered over low flame till done.

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Finally, roll out the dough…… It should be big enough to cover the whole chicken…. Spread half the MASALA on the rolled out dough….. Place the chicken on it……. Spread rest of the MASALA  on the chicken…..

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Cover the chicken with the rolled out dough…. Heat oil in a deep pan….. Carefully fry the dough covered chicken on low flame till done……

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When the dough becomes crisp, it is done…..

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Serve hot.

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NOTE : One can bake in the final stage to reduce oil intake…… Also I sometimes stuff chicken legs with the MASALA & place egg stuffing by its side on the dough & make small Thalayanas…… These are easier to serve.


ALISA

 Alisa is a fortifying ,wholesome & highly satisfying one pot dish & is normally served as a starter during marriages, religious festivals like Eid & other special occasions….. It is quite similar to harisa or harees which is a traditional Middle Eastern recipe…. Yemeni Arab traders brought this dish with them to Kerala….. Thus, one can say that Alisa is a sort of fusion food of Malabar region & Arabs ……Traditionally, Alisa is cooked in large pots on low flames & although it takes a lot of time to cook, the outcome is delicious….. Here I’m going to use pressure cooker for faster cooking.

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INGREDIENTS : 1  1/2 cups chamba wheat ( branless wheat), 1/2 kg chicken/ mutton, 1-2 large onions (cubed), few cloves of garlic (optional), 1  1/2 – 2″cinnamon, 1-2 cups coconut milk, water as needed, salt to taste.

Garnish : Ghee, few cashew nuts & raisins, sliced onions.

DIRECTIONS  : Wash & soak the wheat overnight….. In the pressure cooker add wheat, meat, cubed onions, garlic, cinnamon & salt……. Pour in water till the level of water is, upto the second knuckle of the pointing finger from the tip ( say upto 1  1/2″), above the ingredients…….  Cover the pressure cooker & cook till a couple of whistle blows…… Now lower the flame & cook for around 45 mins……… Remove from heat & keep aside for some time……. In the meantime, prepare the garnish by frying cashewnuts, raisins & sliced onions till golden brown.

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Now open the pressure cooker lid, mash thoroughly & pour in a cup of coconut milk….. Mix & cook on low flame….. Check for consistency….it should be porridge like…… Add more coconut milk if required…. Turn off the flame……. Serve hot with garnish & little ghee….. Some like to have it with a sprinkling of sugar too.

NOTE :  Alisa can also be had as a breakfast dish….. One can also have it as a main meal with mutton/ chicken fry.

If chamba wheat is not available, one can use rice/ barley/semolina instead….. Cooking time will vary accordingly.

PAZHAM NIRACHATHU

 (STUFFED BANANA FRITTERS)

This is a very tasty & a must have snack during Iftar.

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INGREDIENTS  : 5-6 bananas

Filling : Same like Unnakkaya

Batter : 1/2 cup maida(all purpose flour), a pinch of salt, 3-4 tbsp sugar, water according to requirement, oil for frying.

DIRECTION : Prepare coconut filling like Unnakkaya & keep it aside……..

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Now peel the bananas & make a slit on one side….. Stuff the slit of the bananas with the coconut filling….. To make a thick batter mix maida, salt, sugar & water in a bowl…. Heat oil…. Dip stuffed bananas in batter & fry on low flame till golden brown….

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Drain onto tissue & serve hot.

Kerala- Mappila(Moplah) Cuisine

Mappila, also known as Moplah, food was influenced by the food habits of Arab traders who came to the Malabar region centuries ago in search of spices….. Later trading groups like the Portuguese, Dutch, British also brought in their influences……. Thus Mappila Cuisine, one can say, is a merger of local & borrowed food traditions…… It uses local ingredients with skills borrowed from other cultures. I will present here some of the typical recipes of this cuisine……

UNNAKKAYA

(BANANA ROLLS )

These are traditional, delicious & sweet snack prepared mainly during the Ramzan days…….

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INGREDIENTS : 4 medium ripe bananas

Filling : 2 cups grated coconut, 1/2 cup sugar,  few raisins, few cashew nuts, about 1/2 tsp cardamom powder, 1 tbsp ghee.

DIRECTION  : Pressure cook  halved bananas. After cooking, cool the banana….peel of the skin….mash it well….. Divide it into equal portions & set aside.

Fry resins & cashew nuts in melted ghee in a pan for a minute ……Add grated coconut & toss well…. Add in sugar & cardamom powder and mix well till sugar starts to melt…..

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Remove & let it cool a bit.

Now take one portion of mashed bananas, flatten it, spoon in some coconut filling, cover it in & seal it giving it a cylindrical shape…….  Deep fry these in oil till golden brown….

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Drain onto tissue……Serve hot.