Chettinad Chicken

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Chettinad Chicken has become one of my favorites off late. In different restaurants, you will find different versions of chettinad chicken. However, one thing I have realized is that the basic flavor in all of them, is pretty much the same. For that matter, in most preparations, there is something that is unique and common. And in Chettinad preparation few of the ingredients that gives it that distinct flavor are fennel seeds, shallots, curry leaves, coconut paste and mint leaves. So even if you don’t follow the below recipe in the exact manner, ensuring that the above mentioned ingredients are added in some order or the other, the taste will be pretty much good 🙂

What I like about this chicken curry is that, it is different from the usual style of chicken curries we make otherwise. I love the flavor the fennel seeds add to this curry. It goes very well with any kind of bread, ghee rice, dosa, Kerala porotta, idiyappam or even plain rice 🙂 And for me, this is one of the comfort foods 😉 Somehow, I feel it is light to ones’ tummy 😀 I strongly recommend this curry if you are a fan of South Indian food and I guarantee that this will be as good as the chettinad chicken you get in restaurants. Am sure, everyone will like this awesome Chettinad Chicken curry!!!

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INGREDIENTS:
Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Chicken(with bone) – 1 kg
Onion – 3 nos. small sized, chopped
Tomato – 3 nos. small sized, chopped
Garlic – 10-12 pods
Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cloves – 3-4 nos
Cardamom – 3 nos
Bay leaf – 2 nos
Curry leaves – 2-3 sprigs
Mint leaves – 4 strands, chopped
Coriander leaves – 10 strands, chopped
Oil – 5 tbsp or as needed
Salt – to taste (apprx. 1 tsp)

To grind-1:
Ginger – 3/4 inch piece
Shallots – 5-6 nos.
Garlic – 10-12 pods
Green chilli – 3 nos
Chilli powder – 2.5 tsp
Coriander powder – 2.5 tbsp

To grind-2:
Grated coconut – 1/2 cup
Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
Cashew – 5-6 nos

METHOD:
1. Heat oil in a sauce pan. Put cinnamon, fennel seeds, cloves, cardamom, bay leaf, mint leaves and curry leaf mentioned under Ingredients section. Once it splutters, add chopped onion and saute.
2. Once the onion turns light pink, put crushed garlic and saute for 2-3 mins.
3. Add chopped tomato and cook till the tomatoes cook well and become a paste.
4. Meanwhile, grind the ingredients mentioned under ‘To grind-1’ section into a smooth paste. Once tomatoes cook, add this mixture into the pan. Saute till the raw smell goes.
5. Then add the chicken and salt and mix it well so the masala is coated well on the chicken pieces.
6. Cook covered in medium flame till the chicken cooks well. Chicken will leave a lot a water. But if needed, add water for chicken to cook well.
7. Meanwhile, grind the ingredients mentioned under ‘To grind-2’ section into a smooth paste. Once chicken is cooked, add this ground paste into the gravy and mix well.
8. Let it cook for about 5 mins. Add water if you need more gravy. If you want a thicker gravy, cook in medium high flame till the desired consistency.
9. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

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Sambar

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Sambar is one of my all time favorites. So is it for DD 🙂 From my childhood, this is one thing that I have consistently liked. Usually in my home, mom mostly prepares Palakkadan Sambar. Taste-wise, no doubt I like that better, but when it comes to ease of making it, the regular sambar is the best. Especially because I just make it all in one shot, in pressure cooker. There would be rarely any South Indian family that doesn’t have sambar atleast once a week 🙂 These days, things are a little different though, specially when you are in other countries 😛

Though there are various curries that could be used with rice like rasam, moru, dal etc. etc., according to me, there is no replacement for sambar. Till I met people from other states, I was thinking that Sambar is made of assorted vegetables and thats the only way it could be made. But from friends and colleagues, I came to know that they make Drumstick sambar, Raddish sambar, Okra sambar etc. Its individual preference, but atleast the place I come from, Sambar is a lovely combination of lentils and all kinds of assorted vegetables. The aroma of sambar can awaken your pallets. The best part is that it is such a healthy dish to have. I don’t know why I didn’t post this recipe earlier 😮

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INGREDIENTS:
Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Toor dal(yellow dal) – 1 cup
Shallots – 4-5 nos
Asafoetida – 1/4 tsp
Tamarind – 1 inch sized ball
(If you are using tamarind extract – 1 tsp)
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 3/4 tsp
Sambar powder – 1 heaped tsp
Tomato – 1 no, cubed
Assorted vegetables cut lengthwise:
Carrot – 1/2 no
Drumsticks – 1 no
Green Beans – 9-10
Raw banana – 1 no, small sized
Baby brinjal – 2 nos
Salt – to taste (apprx. 1 tsp)
Coconut Oil – 3 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Dry red chilli – 2 nos
Curry leaves – 2 strands
Coriander leaves – 3 strands

METHOD:

1. Soak toor dal in water for sometime, say 30 mins. Boil it in cooker and give 3 whistles. Mash the cooked dal to form a thick smooth paste.
(For those who do not know how much quantity of water to use to boil the dal, use 1:1.5 ratio of dal vs water)
2. Soak the tamarind in warm water for few mins and extract the tamarind juice.
3. In the same cooker, to the dal, add shallots, asafoetida, tamarind, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, sambar powder, tomato, all the cut vegetables, 1 spring curry leaves and salt. Add 3-4 cups of water also.
4. Close the pressure cooker and cook sambar in high flame. After 2 whistles, keep in simmer/low flame for 5 mins.
5. Once all the steam escapes, open the cooker and mix the sambar well. At this time, you can adjust the consistency of the sambar by either adding more water or boiling it for some more time to make it thicker.
6. In a pan, heat coconut oil. Add mustard seeds, let it splutter. Then add broken red chillies and curry leaves to it. Switch off the stove and add this tempering to the sambar.
7. Garnish with some chopped coriander leaves and sambar is ready in no time.

Serve with Idli / Mini Idli / Dosa or rice!

Black Chana/Kadala Curry

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Kadala(whole Bengal gram) curry is the best accompaniment with Puttu/Oats puttu. As I have mentioned before, I totally dislike puttu. But the only possibility of me having puttu is when its served with Kadala curry. The combination of oats puttu and kadala curry is even better than with the traditional rice puttu. So if you decide to make oats puttu, don’t skip this curry :- )

Whole Bengal gram is very nutritive and is a store house of protein. It imparts lot of strength to the muscles and body. I have been anemic in the past and this is one source of energy which is very effective. So I started making black chana/chick pea/kadala/Bengal gram curry more often. It goes well with chappati too. But plan it ahead if you want to make this dish, since it has to be soaked overnight before cooking.

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INGREDIENTS:
Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Kadala/Whole Bengal gram – 1.25 cups or 200 gms
Onion – 1.5 nos, chopped
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
Green chilli – 2 nos, chopped
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1.25 tsp)
Curry leaves – 2 strands
Coconut oil – 4 tbsp

To grind:-
Shredded coconut – 1/4 cup
Cinnammon – 1/2 inch
Cardamom – 1 nos
Black peppercorn – 1/2 tsp
Cloves – 2 nos
Coriander seeds – 2 tsp

METHOD:

1. Soak chana/kadala overnight and keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Put chopped onion, ginger garlic paste, curry leaves, chopped green chilli and salt and let it cook in medium flame. Saute occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, heat a pan and dry roast all the ingredients mentioned under the ‘To grind’ section. Roast it in medium flame till coconut becomes light brown.
4. After it cools down, grind these ingredients into a fine smooth paste using a mixie/blender and keep aside.
5. After the onions cook well, add the ground paste and saute well. Let it cook till oil starts to separate.
6. Add the soaked chana/kadala into the cooker. Add enough water(apprx. 2 cups) and give a good mix.
7. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and give about 8-10 whistles. After that keep it in simmer for about 5-10 mins.
8. After you open the lid of the cooker, you could either add more water to make more gravy or keep boiling it for some more time if you prefer thicker gravy.

Kadala curry is ready to be served with either puttu or chappati!

Naadan Mutta Curry(Egg Curry)

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When I say Egg curry, there is only one standard egg curry that I could think of. Though that egg curry is tasty, I wanted to try some other style of egg curries. Once I had bought parampara’s egg curry packet and I really liked it. So this time, when I planned to make egg curry, I thought of trying something similar to Parampara’s egg curry or more like a Naadan Mutta curry.

What I liked most in this egg curry is the fact that you could have a lot of gravy that is more than sufficient for Porotta, Idiyappam, Appam or Chappati. With my regular egg curry, usually I struggle with quantity of gravy. We really enjoyed this egg curry with chappati. Gave some of it to our friends too and I was happy when they said that they enjoyed it too 🙂

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INGREDIENTS:
Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Egg – 4 nos
Onion – 2 nos medium sized, chopped
Tomato – 1 no large sized
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Dry red chilli – 2 nos
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Coriander leaves – 4-5 strands
Oil – 3 tbsp
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/2 tsp)

To grind :-
Shallots – 5-6 nos
Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
Garlic – 5-6 pods
Green chilli – 2 nos
Red chilli powder – 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Chicken masala(Eastern/Nirapara brand preferred) – 1 tsp
Garam masala – 1/4 tsp

METHOD:

1. Boil eggs and cut into halves. Keep aside.
2. Grind all the ingredients mentioned under ‘To grind’ section into a smooth paste and keep aside.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Put mustard seeds in it and let it splutter. Then add broken dry red chilli and curry leaves. Saute till it splutters or starts to turn brown.
4. Add chopped onion and salt to it. Saute till onion turns light brown.
5. Then add chopped tomato and let it cook well in medium flame. Oil should start to separate.
6. Add the ground paste and saute well. Let it cook in medium-low flame.
7. The spices need to cook well. Once the spices are cooked, the oil will start to separate. You can sprinkle some water if the spices seem to stick to the pan or burn.
8. Once it becomes a thick paste, add water and let it boil till it becomes thick gravy.
Note: I added 2.5 cups of water.
9. Then add the boiled eggs into the gravy and let it cook for 3-4 mins.
10. Remove from flame and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve with chappati, idiyappam, appam or plain rice.

Karuveppilai Prawns(Shrimp in Curry leaf based sauce)

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Karuveppilai prawns – To be honest, I borrowed this fancy name from Aachi Aapa Kaddai’s menu card. For those of you who do not know the meaning of Karuveppilai, it means Curry leaves. Curry leaves is a very flavorful leaf used mostly in South Indian cooking and usually for seasoning/garnishing or tadka as we commonly call it. Last day, my friend gave me some curry leaves from her backyard. There was quite a lot and I didn’t want to freeze it. But there was no way I could consume it all in a short time too. So that week, I was making dishes which needed curry leaves in abundance. I still had a lot of it remaining. That is when suddenly I remembered seeing this dish in a restaurant’s menu card. That name always caught my attention, but I never ordered the dish. So frankly speaking, though I have borrowed the name from the menu card of a restaurant, I haven’t tried to re-create that same dish here. I just came up with the recipe keeping in mind the Chettinad style of cooking.

This dish was an experiment. This was the most risky experiment I have done in the recent times. The reason for this being risky was because, all the spices(including the curry leaves) are ground together and cooked at the same time. And at that time I had no clue, how, this much quantity of ground curry leaves would taste. But I went all out and gave it a shot and I am so happy I took the risk 😀 This dish was soo flavorful and so different. Both DD and me enjoyed our dinner. I had made lemon rice along with it and the combination somehow clicked 😀

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INGREDIENTS:

Shrimp/Prawn – 250 gm
Onion – 1 no, chopped
Tomato – 1 no, puree’d
Curry leaf – 1 strand
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaf – 1 sprig
Oil – 3 tbsp
Salt – to taste (apprx. 1/2 tsp)

To grind:-
Ginger – 1/4 inch piece
Garlic – 5-6 pods
Curry leaves – 3-4 sprigs
Black pepper – 1 tsp
Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

METHOD:
1. Grind all the ingredients mentioned under ‘To grind’ section into a smooth paste and keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Put mustard seeds in it and let it splutter. Then add curry leaves.
3. Add chopped onion and salt to it. Saute till onion turns light brown.
4. Then add the tomato puree and let it cook well in medium flame. Oil will start to separate.
5. Add the ground paste and saute well. Let it cook in medium-low flame.
6. The spices need to cook well. Once the spices are cooked, the oil will start to separate. You can sprinkle some water if the spices seem to stick to the pan or burn.
7. Once it becomes a thick paste, add the shrimp/prawns to it. Mix well so that the spices coat the shrimp well.
8. Now add water as required. I didn’t add much water(apprx. 1 cup) because I wanted thicker gravy.
9. Cook till the shrimp cooks well and gravy consistency is per your liking.

Serve with lemon rice or plain rice.

Chilli Chicken Gravy

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Chilli chicken, what can I say about it. It tops my favorites list, especially this version of it. As I have mentioned in my earlier posts, Indo Chinese is my favorite cuisine and for the same reason, I am very particular about how it tastes. I miss the kind of variety of Indo Chinese dishes we get in India. I haven’t found a restaurant here that serves good Indo Chinese food.

Some of the these dishes that has sweet, hot and sour taste, can be really tricky. They would taste awesome with the perfect proportions and awful if the proportions go wrong. For me, Indo Chinese and Chat varieties fall in that category. That’s my problem with these restaurants. Somehow, the proportions don’t go with my liking. The problem with most restaurants is that they make the dishes more sweet. I am a person who can manage more hot or sour taste but I totally dislike when the dish/main course is sweet.

This is my mom’s version of Chilli Chicken which has been a hit in our family and also among my friends. When I go home for vacation and return to the hostel, my friends would wait for me to get my mom’s chilli chicken and tomato rice. The combination might not sound very appetizing, but trust me, we all used to just dig in and end up licking our fingers, still wanting for more 😛

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INGREDIENTS:
Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Chicken – 300 gm
Bell pepper/Capsicum – 1 no, chopped
Onion – 1 no, chopped
Garlic – 10 pods, minced
Green chilli – 1 no
Soy sauce – 1/2 tsp
Chilli garlic sauce – 1 tbsp
Vinegar – 1/4 tsp
Ajinomotto – 2 pinches
Ground black pepper – 1/4 tsp
Cornflour – 1 heaped tsp(optional)
Oil – 5 tbsp
Salt – to taste (1/2 tsp)
Red color – 2 pinches
Coriander leaves – 5 stands(optional)
Green onion – 2 nos

To cook chicken:
Soy Sauce – 1 tsp
Vinegar – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/2 tsp)
Water – apprx. 1/4 cup

METHOD:

1. In a saucepan, boil and cook the chicken with some soy sauce, vinegar and salt. Cook covered and add water as required. Measurement given under ‘To cook chicken’ section.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan. Fry the minced garlic till its turn light brown. Strain the extra oil and keep the fried garlic aside(on a kitchen towel for the oil to drain fully).
3. Now fry the chopped bell pepper/capsicum till it turn crisp and light brown. Strain the extra oil and keep the fried bell pepper aside(on a kitchen towel for the oil to drain fully).
4. Now in the same pan, fry chopped onion. Let it cook till it becomes light brown. To this, add the fried garlic and bell pepper(that was kept aside).
5. Add red chilli powder(optional), green chilli, salt and ajinomotto and saute well.
6. Add cooked chicken along with the stock and stir well.
7. When the stock starts to dry up, add the hot sauce(Chilli garlic sauce), vinegar and food color(mixed in 1/4 cup water) and mix well.
8. Once the sauces evenly cover the pieces, add ground black pepper. Also, add water if you want gravy.
9. If you want the sauce to be thick, mix cornflour in 1/4 cup water and mix it to the chilly chicken. (I avoided step 9 since I din’t want a thick sauce.)
10. Let it boil and when it reaches the right consistency, remove from burner.
11. Garnish with chopped green onion/chives or coriander leaves.

Pineapple pachadi

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Pineapple pachadi is a sweet and sour side dish used for meals. Especially during onam, when there are many dishes that fill the banana leaf(For Onam, meals or food is served on Banana leaf), pineapple pachadi is a popular pick. It is a perfect blend of the sweetness from pineapple, the sourness from yogurt/curd and heat from green chilli. The seasoning or flavor of thick coconut-cumin-mustard paste makes it yummy 🙂

Pachadi can be make from different vegetables like Beetroot, Okra(Vendakka), Ripe mango etc. Made this for the first time and I was thinking that I might not like it due to it sweetness. But surprisingly, it was good!!!

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INGREDIENTS:
Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Pineapple – 100 gm or 1 cup
Red chilli powder – 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Yogurt – 3 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Dry red chilli – 1 no
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Salt – to taste(apprx. 3/4 tsp)
Oil – 1 tbsp

To grind:-
Grated coconut – 1/2 cup, approx. 65 gm
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
Green chilli – 1 no

METHOD:

1. In a saucepan, heat some water(approx. 1 cup). To this, add the finely chopped pineapple, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and half the salt.
2. Cook covered till the pineapple pieces cook well and becomes very soft(that it can be mashed). Add water if you think that the pineapple will stick to the pan.
3. Meanwhile grind the ingredients mentioned under ‘To Grind’ section into a smooth paste using a mixie/blender.
4. Once pineapple cooks, add the ground coconut mix to the bowl and mix well.
5. Let it boil for few mins and cook through in medium flame.
6. Add the yogurt/curd and mix well. Reduce the flame to sim once you add yogurt/curd. Let it stay for a minute or so.
7. Add the remaining salt and mix well. Remove from flame.
8. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. Once mustard seeds splutter, add broken dry red chilli and curry leaves. Remove from flame once it splutters.
9. Put this on the prepared pineapple pachadi and give a stir.

Serve with rice!