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.
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.
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.