Syrian Christian Cuisine Conclusion ……

Journey through the Syrian Christian Cuisine has been a superb experience……. Also known as Nasrani/Suriani Cuisine, this wonderful cuisine is rich & varied……. Other than the dishes I have tried out there are so many…..
Fish Molee : Mildly spiced fish stew with coconut milk.
Palappam : Lace rimmed pancakes.
Vattayappam : Steamed spongy rice batter cakes.
Kallappam : Toddy pancakes.
Inriappam : Unleavened bread of rice & black beans….named after the abbreviation INRI on the crucifix….. Prepared & had on Maundy Thursday…. After supper, inriappam is dipped in molasses & coconut milk and offered to all family members in a symbolic reenactment of the Last Supper.
Tharavu Roast : Tharavu or Duck roast is generally made during festive occasions.

They have a wide varieties of sweet & savoury snacks called Palahaarams which can generally be stored in airtight containers……
Avalos Podi : Ground roasted rice, coconut, cumin seeds, salt mixture which is mixed with sugar.
Churuttu : Syrupy avalos podi encased in wafer thin pastry made from stiff unroasted pastry dough in banana leaf.
Avalos Unda : Grainy balls made with avalos Podi which is held together with a thin sugar syrup containing lime juice, ghee & cardamom powder.
Manga Thera : Mango & roasted rice flour leather/mat.
Elayappam/Ela Ada : Steamed banana leaf cakes…… These can be kept refrigerated for at least a week.
Kumbilappam/Chakka Appam : Steamed jackfruit cones steamed in fragrant vazhana (also known as Edana/ bay) leaves…. Lasts a week when refrigerated.

Mentioned a few…..there are so many!!!

Recipes handed down from generation to generation, Syrian Christian Cuisine is an unique part of Kerala.

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PINEAPPLE PACHADI

(PINEAPPLE IN YOGHURT & COCONUT CURRY)

Pachadi is a traditional side dish…….. It is generally a yoghurt and coconut based dish…… Varieties of pachadi are created from different vegetables and fruits like beetroot, pumpkin, lady’s finger, ginger, cucumber, tomato, pineapple, mango, grape etc….. Easy to make and is normally had with lentil curry & rice…… Pineapple Pachadi is a sweet & sour preparation and is very delicious & different.

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INGREDIENTS : 1 medium sized pineapple, 1 cup grated coconut, 3/4 cup yoghurt, 1-2 green chillies, 2 red chillies, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 1″ ginger, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1tsp+1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 3-4 onions (optional), few curry leaves, 1 tbsp oil, salt & sugar(optional) to taste, water as required.

DIRECTIONS : Wash the pineapple, remove the skin and dice into small cubes……..p_20161201_111540_1.jpg Grate fresh coconut…… Grind the freshly grated coconut with green chillies, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, ginger & 1/2 tsp mustard seeds…….. Keep aside…..p_20161201_111647_1_1.jpg Beat the yoghurt and keep aside……. Now cook the pineapple cubes with salt, sugar and enough water till soft……. p_20161201_113405_1.jpgAdd the ground coconut paste and cook till it thickens…… p_20161201_114125_1_1.jpgTake off from heat….. Keep aside to cool a little….. Now add the yoghurt and mix lightly…….. p_20161201_122353.jpgKeep aside…… p_20161201_122620_1.jpgHeat oil in another pan….. Add 1tsp mustard seed….. Sauté till it splutters….. Add red chillies & curry leaves ……p_20161201_122925_1.jpg Sauté…… Meanwhile slice onions & add….. p_20161201_123108_1_1.jpgSauté till light brown…… Now pour the pineapple mixture into the pan…… p_20161201_123433_1.jpgMix well & heat for a few minutes……p_20161201_123722_1.jpgServe.

NOTE : Consistency of the dish can be adjusted by increasing/decreasing water in Coconut paste……. Generally this dish is not reheated……. Onions can be ground with coconut mixture.

 

NEY CHORU

(GHEE RICE)

This dish is a very popular & simple dish…… Very easy to prepare and is normally cooked for special occasions…… Goes very well with spicy chicken/mutton/vegetable dishes.

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INGREDIENTS : 2 cups Basmati/Jeerakasala rice, 2-3tbsp ghee, 2-3 onions, 4 cups water, salt to taste.
Whole spices : 2-3  1″cinnamon, 1 star anise, 4-6 cloves, 4-6 cardamoms, few black pepper corns, 2 bay leaves.
For garnishing : Few cashew nuts, few raisins, 1-2 onions.

DIRECTIONS : Wash the rice thoroughly & soak for at least half an hour……. p_20161124_172648_hdr_1.jpgHeat ghee….. Stir fry cashewnuts & raisins separately and keep aside…… Stir fry sliced onions in the same ghee with little salt till golden brown……. Keep aside.p_20161124_172638_hdr_1.jpg

Drain rice…… Heat ghee…….. Add whole spices….. Sauté….. Add sliced onions & stir fry till slightly pink….. Now add the drained rice & salt…..Sauté till rice becomes translucent……. Mix in half of fried cashewnuts, raisins…….p_20161124_173508_hdr_1_1.jpg Add water…….p_20161124_173652_hdr_1.jpg Cook till rice is done & water is completely absorbed…… p_20161124_174550_hdr_1.jpgGarnish with fried onions and remaining fried cashewnuts & raisins……… Serve hot.

NOTE : One can add ginger-garlic-green chilli paste & lemon juice to spice up the dish.

KURUMULAKU KOZHI

(PEPPER CHICKEN)

This recipe is a quick & easy Chicken dry roast….. A bit on the spicy side but very delicious & flavoursome ….. Goes very well with rice, Ney Choru (ghee rice), appam,etc….. Since it is dry, can also be served as starter.p_20161124_212121_hdr_1_1.jpg

INGREDIENTS : 1kg chicken, 8-10 onions, 8-10 cloves garlic, 1 lemon, 4 red chillies, crushed black pepper, 2 1″cinnamon sticks, salt to taste, oil.

DIRECTIONS : Marinate chicken with black pepper powder, salt & lemon juice….. p_20161124_164525_hdr_1.jpg

Keep aside for at least half an hour……. Heat oil….. Add sliced onions & sauté till lightly browned…… Add in garlic cloves, red chillies, cinnamon & salt…… Sauté till the mixture turns golden brown…… In the meantime, heat oil in another pan….. Add marinated chicken in batches and lightly brown on high heat……p_20161124_165736_hdr_1.jpg

Now add the browned onion mixture to the chicken…… Add in crushed pepper & salt according to taste….. Cover & cook over low heat till chicken is tender and nicely coated with onion mixture……p_20161124_173832_hdr_1.jpg

Serve hot with Ney Choru…..p_20161124_212157_hdr.jpg

NOTE : If curry leaves are used, add them at the end of roasting to get proper flavour of the leaves…….Can use slit green chillies instead of red chillies….. Chicken with bones is preferable….. Chicken pieces with skin will taste even better as the skin becomes crisp on frying…… Must use freshly crushed pepper for proper flavour.

IDDIYAPPAM

(STRING HOPPERS)

Iddiyappam is a favourite breakfast dish….. It is made by steaming & is generally had with a side dish….. The side dish is usually stew, particularly vegetable stew….. Sundays being special, it is had with Chicken stew…… Kids generally like to have iddiyappam with grated fresh coconut, ghee & sugar.

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INGREDIENTS : 2 cups rice flour, water, salt to taste, 1 tsp oil, freshly grated coconut, banana leaves.

DIRECTIONS : In a medium pan, heat water with salt & oil till it just starts boiling…….. Pour the hot water to the rice flour stirring continuously to form a dough….. For 2 cups rice flour generally 1 cup water is enough…….. The dough should be moist enough to form into logs without the dough sticking to the fingers……  img-20160630-wa0000_1.jpgIn the meantime, heat water in the iddiyappam steamer…… Place lightly oiled banana leaf (it imparts wonderful flavour) on the steamer plate & sprinkle freshly grated coconut over it……. There are various types of iddiyappam makers found in market……. img-20160630-wa0006_1.jpgTake an iddiyappam maker, oil it and place the dough in it……. Squeeze the dough in circular motion to form a pile of strings……. The pile should not be too thick, reason being it won’t steam evenly…….Place the plate in the steamer over rolling boiling water……. Cook till done, usually 2-5mins…….. Serve hot with stews.p_20160629_144703_hdr_1.jpg

NOTE : The water needs to be just hot to make the dough………if it is boiling hot then the dough will become hard & it would be difficult to press it through the iddiyappam maker…… Also one can use idli steamer to make these.

KOZHI ISHTEW

(CHICKEN STEW)

Influenced by the milder stews of the West, this refreshing & flavoursome stew is delicately seasoned so that the spices do not overpower the natural flavours……. Crushed peppercorns perfectly balances the sweet flavour of the main ingredient, i.e. the fresh coconut milk……… Every home have their own style of cooking…….. This is a favourite dish of Syrian Christians & is particularly served during breakfast & sometimes dinner…….. Ishtew is usually served with idiappam/appam/puttu….. It goes very well with bread too.

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INGREDIENTS : 500 GMs Chicken, 2 + 4onions, 2 potatoes, 4-6 cloves garlic(optional), 1″ ginger, 2-3 green chillies, few curry leaves, 3-4 Cloves, 2 (1″) Cinnamon sticks, 3-4 Cardamoms, 2 cups thin coconut milk, 1 cup thick coconut milk, 1 tsp vinegar, water as required, 1-2 tsp black peppercorns, salt to taste, 1 tbsp coconut oil.

DIRECTIONS : Clean, wash & cut chicken into medium pieces & keep aside…….. Heat oil, fry two sliced onions till golden brown & keep aside for garnishing……. In the remaining oil add slit green chillies & curry leaves…….. Now cut four onion into cubes & sauté till soft……. Stir in freshly grated ginger & crushed garlic …….. Add cloves, cinnamon & cardamoms & sauté for a minute or two…….. Stir in the cubed potatoes & chicken pieces…… Stir fry till the chicken is lightly browned……Now add in the thin coconut milk, vinegar & salt……. If required add water….. Cook till chicken is done & potatoes are well cooked…….. Stir in thick coconut milk & crushed peppercorns……… Lightly mash 2-3 cubes of potatoes in the gravy……. Simmer till done……. Garnish with fried onions & serve hot with idiappam/appam.

NOTES : Boneless chicken is not preferred in this recipe…… Instead of coconut oil any white oil can be used.

KOZHI PERALAN

( CHICKEN WITH THICK GRAVY)

This is a traditional chicken recipe with a thick gravy of roasted aromatic spices……. It goes very well with chapati/ rice/ ghee rice/ appam……. This dish has an unusual & distinct flavour due to it’s main ingredient being coriander powder.

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INGREDIENTS : 500gms Chicken, 4 tbsp coriander seeds, 1tsp fennel seeds, 4-6 pepper corns, 2 dry whole red chillies, 2″cinnamon sticks, 4 cloves, 4 cardamoms, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1″ginger, 8-10 garlic cloves, 1 tsp vinegar, few pearl onions, 2 large onions, 1tsp rye(black mustard seeds), 2-3 sprigs curry leaves, coconut oil as required, salt to taste.

DIRECTIONS : Dry roast coriander seeds, fennel seeds, pepper corns, red chillies, cinnamon sticks, cloves, & cardamoms……… Cool the spices & grind them finely…… Grind the ginger & garlic to make paste…… In a pan mix chicken with ground spices, pearl onions, ginger & garlic pastes, vinegar, turmeric powder and salt……. Add enough water to cook the chicken till almost done & very little gravy remains…….p_20160421_135554_hdr.jpg

Take out the chicken pieces from the gravy & keep the gravy aside……. In the meantime, heat oil….. Add rye, curry leaves & stir…… When the rye splutters, add sliced onions & fry till golden brown……p_20160421_135452_hdr_1.jpg

Stir in the cooked chicken & fry till the chicken pieces are lightly browned…… Now add in the reserved gravy & cook till it becomes thick…….p_20160421_140729_hdr_1.jpg

Serve hot.

Note : Increase or decrease black pepper & red chillies according to taste……. Coconut oil gives authentic flavour……. But one can also use groundnut oil…… If pearl onions are unavailable, one can use shallots.p_20160624_114750_hdr_1.jpgPearl onions.