Summer Lemon Sponge Cake

 

Hello my wonderful readers!

How have you all been? As you can see, I haven’t really had much time to blog and cook as I have been spending time at the school and after with my little one. I stay at the school along wth my baby and once we are back we continue with activities etc together. Not cause blogging is not as interesting, its just that it really feels nice to spend time with Adi. In the last few weeks, as a mother there are so many changes in my little one and its just the best. I couldn’t imagine not sharing these changes with him. The perks of staying home with your baby, I guess 🙂

For March – April the temperatures are soaring like crazy and apparently they are only going to get worse. So I decided to make a little lemon sponge cake for the evening tea. The cake is light and spongy and so so delicious. Paired with a cup of tea this makes the perfect summer evening tea.

As the days go by there is this reality that hits you that these moments, hot, cold, summer or rain, will never come back. Little precious moments with the little boy and as a mum the only thing you want is for your little one to be able to make decisions on his own with a sensible head. As a parent we are so so weak. Some times even if its for his good, it takes a lot out of me to keep a straight face when I am trying to explain why he should do some thing . Or when I ask him if he wants to go to school and he replies with “OR THE MALL? ” like its really an option .. lol…. secretly I think he enjoys the car / auto ride to and from the school more than anything. He holds the railing behind the auto driver and pretends to be driving the auto with all the expression and sound effects the auto and its driver. Once we are home, everyday he makes a fuss to enter home. Cause he knows its time for lunch and then his afternoon  sleep which is such a struggle!! But in all its the best feeling to see his little black straight hair flutter gently when he runs to jump, his little look from the corner of his eye when I ask him to keep back things or when I say “What did Amma say?” and he says ” No Skweeeeming ” … These little moments make my heart warm and every moment worth living. Oh my there I go again about how I love my little honey bee.

Ok back to the recipe. You want all the ingredient at room temperature and do not forget to butter and dust the pan WELL!

Ingredients :-

  1. Flour – 1 + 1/2 cups
  2. Butter – 1 cup
  3. Eggs – 3
  4. Butter milk – 1 Cup ( whisked well)
  5. Caster Sugar – 1 + 1/4 cup
  6. Vanilla Extract – 1 tbsp
  7. Lemon Zest – from 2 lemons / 1/4 cup
  8. Lemon Juice – from 2 Lemons
  9. Baking Powder – 2 tsp
  10. Extra butter and flour to grease and dust the pan
  11. Extra powdered Sugar for dusting

 

Instructions :-

  1. Pre Heat the oven to 180C
  2. Grese and dust a pan with butter and flour. Make sure to tap out the excess flour
  3. Now in a large bowl, add the butter and sugar . Cream till pale and fluffy
  4. Then add the eggs one at a time. Make sure to cream the mixture well and incorporate as much air as possible.
  5. In a large pan, mix the flour and baking powder. Sieve the mixture thrice to incorporate air and to distribute the Baking powder well in the flour
  6. Now into the butter and egg mixture, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract and mix well ( if you are using a hand whisk this is easy, the same can be done with a hand held whisk)
  7. Next add the butter milk to the lemon egg mixture and mix well
  8. With a spatula divide the flour mixture into 3 and slowly fold the flour into the  buttermilk butter egg mixture ( wet mixture)
  9. Once you have added all the flour to the wet mixture, your batter is ready! ( do not over mix the batter)
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and tap to release bubbles
  11. Pop the cake tin into the pre heated oven and bake for 45 – 50 mins or till the tooth pick inserted comes out clean
  12. Cool completely on a cooling rack and then turn it out onto a plate
  13. Finally dust with powdered sugar and lemon slices !

 

Enjoy your summer Tea party ❤

Pal Appam — Lace Hoppers

 

 

Hello my wonderful readers,

Do you follow my Instagram feed? Many a times Appam is our preferred breakfast and it is super easy to make once you have the batter. Much like the dosa batter but I use yeast in this recipe. There are recipes that do not include yeast but I love that lovely fermented smell that comes from the yeast and frankly its more like  a – ‘Soak, Dump , Grind and Rest’ method. The reason it is called a Lace Hopper is because of those wonderful intricate lace like weave that it has on the outsides. The inner centre of the circle is thicker and the outer ring is crispier. These are perfect with a coconut milk based egg curry. The recipe for which I will share later. You could also pair with left over curry from the previous day.

My son started school this week and man now I know how it feels to be a mum of child going to school!! no am not talking about the work that goes into getting him ready for school but the fact that this little human being is already ready to start his formal education! The school is like no other school we have ever seen. It believes in being as natural and close to the environment as possible. Infact as you enter into the school you wonder where the building and concrete structures of the school is. Lots of lush green, children learning under trees, no foot wear, greeting each other with a namaste. In all, this is the perfect place for my little one. While the little one is inside his little environment, I sit outside and just breathe! all the fresh air and the sounds of chirping birds, the occasional squirrel running around. It feels like a Gurukula straight out of the Mahabharata! In all this new change is one my little bunny is trying hard to cope up with but is also something he looks forward too. Wish me luck people! I hope he likes it for all the years to come..

So back to the recipe! This recipe makes easily 20 appams and you have 3 breakfasts from the week sorted.

Now before I get into the recipe, I wanted to tell you this. Traditionally appam is make with ” Kallu” / palm wine / Toddy . It helps in the fermentation and it gives the appam its unique smell. But Kallu is hard to find and yeast gives you just about the same smell so why not? My grandmother lives on a property that houses almost 5 dozen coconut trees and so back in Kerala toddy is easier to come across and the appam is so so good! Also the heat and the humidity of the place also helps in making the perfect batter. This is my straingforward recipe and it works all the time. All you need to make sure is it to keep the batter in a warm place of your kitchen over night. Not in the fridge! Not near a window with cold air blowing in etc. A nice warm corner for the yeast fairy to work her magic!


Ingredients :-

  1. Ponni Rice – 2 cups
  2. Boiled cooked rice – 1 cup
  3. Desiccated Coconut – 1 cup
  4. Yeast – 1 tsp
  5. Sugar – 1 tsp + 3 tbsp
  6. Warm Water – 3 cups ( more if required)
  7. Coconut oil for greasing the pan

Instructions :-

  1. In a large vessel, wash the Ponni rice. Then soak the rice in water for 5 -6 hours ( 12 hours is best) I usually soak in the morning and do the rest after dinner
  2. After the rice has soaked in the water for sufficient time, in the bowl of your grinder or blender, add the soaked rice, cooked rice and desiccated coconut
  3. In a small bowl add 1/2 cup of warm water and 1 tsp of sugar. Then add the yeast and let it stand still till the yeast becomes frothy ( activated yeast)
  4. Then add 2 cups of water to the blender jar with the rice and coconut and blend to form a nice smooth paste. There shouldn’t be any coarse rice pieces or coconut pieces
  5. finally just before you remove the blender jar from the machine, add the yeast water and the rest of the water and run the blender for 1 min.
  6. Now use a large vessel / container for the fermentation.
  7. Pour the batter into the container and add 2 tbsp of sugar. Mix well and combine.
  8. Now cover the container loosely and set it on a plate. Place the container in a warm place over night. By the next morning you will see the batter rise up and be bubbly
  9. This is because of the yeast in the batter . Your batter is ready
  10. Now heat up your appam chatti.  ( Appa chatti is a vessel that is used to make these hoppers, the market is flooded with teflon non stick pans, but I DO NOT USE any teflon / non stick pans in my kitchen, so if you are interested in buying a pan I suggest you look for a iron pan, the one I own is from —   the Village Fair 
  11. Heat your Appa chatti on a medium flame. Once it is hot grease the pan lightly with coconut oil. I dip a cotton cloth in oil and then spread it around the chatti
  12. Now using a ladle pour the fermented Batter into the chatti. Slowly swirl the chatti round to spread the batter to all the sides of the chatti and then place it back in the flame. You will notice that the batter settle back to the centre. That is fine, that is what gives it that fully centre and crisp side. Now if you do not like it to thick, just reduce the amount of batter and rotate the chatti for a little longer that way all sides are crisp yet not too thick. Also make sure to use mittens or use a cotton cloth to hold the sides of the chatti
  13. Close with the lid and cook on medium flame for 3 -4 mins
  14. Once it is done, take off the lid and let it cook for 1 min.
  15. Finally using a soft wooden spatula loosen the sides of the appam
  16. Then slowly loosen the centre and transfer to a plate!
  17. Your appams are ready! Serve with egg curry, or Kadala curry 

 

 

Nadan Chicken Cutlet – Kerala style Chicken Croquettes

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Hello my Dear Wonderful People!

How are you all doing? Happy Valentines day! A day for love, a day to be loved and a day for love to be loved! Yup.. Its one whole day when we get to show our special people that they matter to us. And unlike many people, I absolutely love the idea of having this day. No it doesn’t not mean that we can’t show love on other days, and if you see it like that then I feel sorry for you. If you giving me another chance to show you how much you mean to me and you make it mandatory on the 14th of every Feb then I am taking it! Cause you know what? no matter how hard I try, some days, I forget to tell you how much you mean to me. Somedays I try but I might not be able to get to you cause you were having a bad day. But today I am going to take that day. Also maybe 20 years from now, this day might not mean as much as it does today but so what? Today is what matters right?

So on this special day, I decided to make my husband his favourite deep fried snack. These cutlets. I do not make them often, infact the last time I made them was close to a year ago. Simply cause they are deep fried and they involve quite a few steps. But once you make them, you could make a large batch and freeze them and use them as and when you want. That is what I did this time 🙂 This recipe is from my grandmother and her cutlets are out of this world. These little bites of heaven are perfect for a evening snack or a great side for dinner time. There are many variations to these cutlets, some people add cashews to the meat and some others fry the meat and add rice flour. My recipe is quite straightforward. Boil / cook each part of the recipe. Combine , dip , coat and fry! FINISH!

 

Ingredients :-

  1. Chicken – 500 gms ( boneless)
  2. Potatoes – 4 large
  3. Onions – 3 cups ( chopped fine )
  4. Green Chillies – 10 ( adjust to taste)
  5. Ginger – 4 inch knob
  6. Garlic – 14 cloves
  7. Turmeric Powder – 2 tsp + 1 tsp
  8. Coriander Powder – 4 tsp + 1 tsp
  9. Garam Masala Powder – 3 tsp
  10. Pepper Powder – 2 tsp
  11. Fresh Coriander Leaves – 1 cup ( chopped)
  12. Mint leaves – 1 cup (chopped)
  13. Salt – 1 tsp + 2 tsp + 1 tsp ( adjust to taste)
  14. Oil – 2 tbsp + more for deep frying
  15. Eggs – 2 ( beaten )
  16. Bread Crumbs – 1 cup ( more according to shape of cutlet)

Instructions :-

  1. Peel potatoes and boil till soft. Set aside
  2. In a pressure cooker add the chicken pieces. Then add 1 tsp turmeric powder + pepper powder (2 tsp) + Coriander powder 1 tsp + 1 tsp salt. Pressure cook the chicken for 3 whistles. ( If you do not have a cooker, just use a pot and boil the chicken till cooked well.)
  3. Once the chicken is cooked, open the cooker and look for water. If there is excess water, cook the chicken on high flame till all the water has evaporated. Same for when cooking in a pot. Once all the water has evaporated, set aside to cool down
  4. Then in a blender, blend the chicken to form a coarse paste. Make sure not to grind it too much. You want some chucks of chicken to remain
  5. In a large flat bottom pot, add 2 tbsp of oil. Once the oil is hot. add the onions and fry till golden brown. During this time in a mortar and pestle add the ginger + garlic and green chillies. Crush to form a nice coarse paste
  6. Add the ginger paste to the onions and fry till the garlic looses its raw smell
  7. Then add the rest of the turmeric powder + coriander powder + garam masala powder. Give it a good mix and fry till the masala has cooked well into the onion mixture
  8. Set aside to cool. During this time lets get our assembly line ready 🙂
  9. In one plate add the boiled potatoes + the onions spice mixture. Add the fresh mint and coriander
  10. Mix with your hand to evenly distribute all the ingredients. Then add the ground chicken
  11. after you have mixed the chicken with the rest of the spiced potato mixture, make small patties of equal size and set on a large cookie sheet or plate
  12. Now with one hand dunk the patties into the light beaten egg mixture and then into the bread crumbs to coat evenly
  13. Set aside in a large plate ready for frying!
  14. In a large wok or Khadai, heat oil
  15. Once the oil is hot ( on medium heat) fry the patties till golden brown
  16. Reserve on kitchen paper to drain excess oil
  17. Serve right away with ketchup!

Strawberry doughnuts with Honey and Lemon sugar

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Hello My dear wonderful readers,

How are you all doing today? So it was cheat day the other day and I had one of these and OMG I had to give them away cause these doughnuts are so so addictive. Strawberry season is here and I think I would use it in everything and anything. This is my second strawberry recipe for the season and let’s be honest, I can never have enough of these ruby red beauties. These doughnuts are baked and not deep fried so they are more cakey than fried but trust me when I say this, one bite and you wont be able to go back evaaaa!! These pink rings of heaven are the perfect mix of sweet, tart, fresh and  “munchy”. Those little red spots on the donuts are the finely chopped strawberries. The key is to dunk them in honey when nice and warm and therefore the lemon sugar melts into the doughnuts and OH MY GOD., the magic is insane!

In fact I baked 12 of these but only 11 got to the photos 🙂 cause these donuts, my friend, are just so awesome!! lol

So while I was baking these my little munchkin decided it was time for him to play in the kitchen as well. So when I was whisking and piping, my little boy was sitting on the kitchen mat, making “rice, mutta (eggs) and cheese ” which is when I was reminded about how I went to the toy store to see if I could get him a kitchen set or a toy oven but to my surprise all the kitchen toys were only in this hideous bright pink with photos of little girls making food. So what I couldn’t understand is – why is that only girls like these kind of games? I mean some of the best chefs in the world are men and they are respected all over the world, then why is it that boys cant be allowed to play with the same kind of toys. Also why is it pink?? I have never come across a pink kitchen my entire life! And no working real kitchen can ever function to its fullest if it where white or pink! Why not have a kitchen that is the same colour as the real thing! Anyway the bottom line is, I decided if he wants to play he can play with the stuff in my kitchen and when he is old enough I will help him learn and understand that there is no job that was either reserved for men or for women. Girl or boy we all deserve equal opportunity and equal respect for the choices we make.

Now back to the doughnuts, just like all my bakes, (unless otherwise specified) make sure the ingredients are at room temperature and the baking tray is well prepared. Try not rushing this step cause these doughnuts will just pop out easily if you do so. Now for the recipe

Ingredients :-

  1. Butter – 1 tsp
  2. Flour – 2 cups + more for dusting the pan
  3. Baking Powder – 1 tsp
  4. Oil – 1/2 cup
  5. Sugar – 1/ 2 cup + more of dusting
  6. Eggs – 2 large eggs
  7. Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
  8. Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 tsp
  9. Salt – 1/2 of 1/4 tsp
  10. Nutmeg – 1/4 tsp
  11. Butter Milk – 3/4 cup
  12. Strawberry – 1 cup ( chopped fine)
  13. Red food colour – 1 small drop ( optional)
  14. Lemon Zest – from 2 limes
  15. Honey 2 tbsp

Instructions :-

  1. Pre-Heat your oven to 180 C
  2. Prepare your doughnut pan by brushing butter on the inside of your baking pan. Make sure to butter the hole in the centre too . This recipe makes 12 doughnuts
  3. Now lightly dust the buttered pan with flour. Invert the pan and shake of the excess flour. Set aside
  4. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and sieve twice
  5. In another bowl, add the oil, eggs, apple cider vinegar , vanilla, sugar and butter milk. Whisk together till the sugar has mixed well with mixture
  6. Then add the dry mixture to the wet mixture in 3 batches. Make sure to mix well at every addition of dry mixture to the wet
  7. Once you have all the dry ingredients mixed, add the chopped strawberry and colour
  8. Mix well to combine
  9. Now pour the mixture into a piping bag. Snip the bottom and pipe the batter into the prepared doughnut pan
  10. Fill till 80 % of the hole
  11. Pop into the oven to bake for 20 mins or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean
  12. While that is baking lets make the lemon sugar
  13. In a plate, zest the lemons. Then add 1/2 cup of caster sugar. Now with dry hands, mix the sugar and lemon zest. You will see the sugar turn a light green colour
  14. Once the doughnuts are done, let them cool for 5 mins
  15. Then when the doughnuts are still warm, using a pastry brush, brush honey on the face of the doughnut
  16. Then dunk the doughnuts into the lemon sugar
  17. Place on a cooling rack to dust of the excess sugar
  18. Your strawberry doughnuts with honey and lemon sugar are ready

 

Pumpkin Khao Soi with sweet sticky Pork and Egg noodles – (soup)

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Hello my dear wonderful readers!!

How are you all doing today? I cannot believe its already November and the year is coming to an end. The air is a little chilly and I pulled out my baby’s jackets and I realized I have to buy him new ones 🙂 . How time flies.

Anyways, so this time I am back with a lovely creamy, bold soup. Now traditionally it is made without the pumpkin and usually it goes with chicken. But this time I decided to make the soup creamy and thick and give it a new dimension.  Hence the pumpkin.Trust me this soup is a meal in itself. You can make it completely vegan my omitting the pork but I wanted that little extra protein and so the addition of pork.

We absolutely love noodles at home. May it be rice, buckwheat, whole wheat, egg any sort, is always welcome. So the recipe calls of egg noddles but if you cannot get a hold of them then go ahead and use any noodle that you like. Just make sure that you add them just before you serve them in a bowl, or else they tend to absorb all the moisture from the soup and then just turn mushy. No one wants a mushy bowl of noodle soup right? This is not your typical noodle in a broth.

 

Preparing the Pork :-
Ingredients

  1. Pork – 400 gms ( lean fillet)
  2. Oil – 1 tsp
  3. Garlic – 1 tbsp ( choppped)
  4. Oyster Sauce – 1 tbsp
  5. Soya Sauce – 1 tsp 
  6. Brown Sugar / Palm Sugar – 3 tsp 
  7. Salt – to taste ( 1.2 tsp)
  8.  Pepper – 1.2 tsp 

Instructions :-

  1.  In a non stick pan, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook till soft
  2. Then add the rest of the ingredients and cook on high for 2 min
  3. Then cover and cook for 5 min on medium heat
  4. Finally open the lid and cook till all the moisture is out 
  5. Remove the cooked pork from the pan and toss out any excess fat on the pan

To Prepare the Pumpkin

 

Ingredients :-

  1. Pumpkin – 4 cups (skin peeled, innards removed and chopped)
  2. Potato – 1 cup ( chopped)
  3. Ginger – 1 tbsp ( choppped)
  4. Salt – 1 tsp
  5. Water – 4 cups

Instructions :-

 

  1. In a large pot, combine all the ingredients and place on medium heat
  2. Cook till the pumpkin and potatoes are soft
  3. Once they are soft, spoon them out, into a blender
  4. Make a fine paste and set aside


To make the Khao Soi Paste :-

  1.  Dried Red chilies – 25
  2. Water – 1/2 cup
  3.  Garlic – 20
  4. Ginger – 2 tbp ( chopped fine)
  5. Cilantro leaves and steam – 1 cup ( packed)
  6. Shallots – 13 
  7. Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
  8.  Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
  9. Garam Masala Powder – 1/2 tsp 

Instructions :-

  1.  Heat water till boiling point
  2.  Place all the dried chillies into the boiling hot water and let them soak for 30 mins
  3. Later in the bowl of a blender add all the ingredients along with the soaked red chillies and the water and blend to make a fine thick paste
  4. Set aside ( you can use as much as you want for this recipe and freeze the rest for later use)

Making and Assembling the soup 

Ingredients for the soup :-

  1.  Egg noodles – 250 gms 
  2. Oil – 2 tbsp
  3. Yellow Bell Pepper – 1/2 cup ( finely sliced)
  4. Red Bell Pepper – 1/2 cup ( finely sliced)
  5. Chicken Broth – 2 cups
  6. Basil Leaves – hand full 
  7. Lime Juice – 3 tbs
  8. Coconut Milk – 1 can 
  9. Coriander and lime for the final garnish 


 Instructions :-

  1.  In a large pot, heat oil 
  2.  Then add Khao Soi Paste and cook till the oil separates from the mixture
  3. Then add the pumpkin and potato mixture
  4.  Cook and combine for 2 mins .Then Bell Pepper and chicken broth
  5. As the mixture begin to simmer add the coconut milk. Again mix well 
  6. Mix well and bring to a boil again ( on medium heat)
  7. Once the mixture boils, add the basil leaves, lime juice and salt according to taste
  8. Cover and cook for another 5 mins and you are ready!
  9. While serving, first add the soup into a bowl, then add the noodles, the pork and finally garnish with some fresh corinader , lime and basil leaves! Yummm!!   

Murgh Kofta – Rich chicken meat balls in a creamy tangy gravy

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Hello my Dear wonderful readers!!

Its the weekend and this time I have made some thing rich and indulgent for you. This dish is inspired from the famous Malai Kofta, which is a croquette made with paneer / cottage cheese and potatoes. It all started with the fact that I had a little white basmati rice left and I wasn’t sure what kind of gravy to prepare along with it. Now it might come as a surprise to you, but we usually serve red rice at home. I mean the fat grainy kind. So white basmati is like having refined sugar in our coffee ( we usually add palm sugar).

After last week festivities I also had some khoya left in the fridge. So I decided to go all out and make a rich, creamy indulgent curry to pair well with rice and a salad. The recipe is divided into two steps. First making the Kofta and then the curry. Just to give it an “imperial” feel, I wrapped the koftas in silver warq. That is totally optional.

Ingredients for the Kofta :-

  1. Chicken mince – 500 gms
  2. Onions – 1 cup ( chopped fine)
  3. Khoya – 200 gms
  4. Green Chillies – 3 medium (sliced)
  5. Ginger garlic Paste – 1 + 1/2 tbsp
  6. Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  7. Garam Masala Powder – 1 tsp
  8. Besan / Gram Flour – 2 tbsp ( only if required)
  9. Oil – to deep fry + 2 tbsp
  10. Silver warq (optional)

 

Instructions :-

  1. In a heavy bottom pan, add the oil
  2. When the oil is hot, add the onions and ginger garlic paste. Fry till golden brown
  3. Then add the green chilies, chilli powder, garam masala powder and fry 1 min
  4. Add the chicken mince to the onion mixture and cook till all the water has dried out completely. Make sure you have all the water evaporated. Add salt according to taste
  5. Set aside to cook down
  6. In another bowl, slowly kneed the khoya till its nice and smooth
  7. Add to cooled chicken mixture into a blender jar and add the khoya
  8. Blend together for a nice thick paste
  9. Now grease your hand and make small lime size balls with the mixture. Add gram flour if you find that the mixture is not holding shape. But do not add too much as it will not taste that great
  10. Finally heat oil in a deep pan on medium. When the oil is hot, add the prepared chicken balls and fry till golden brown or slightly dark brown (that’s how we like it)
  11. Reserve on a paper towel to drain excess oil. Cover the balls with silver leaf at this stage ( optional)

 

Ingredients for the curry :-

  1. Onions – 2 cups
  2. Tomato – 1 cup
  3. Cardamom – 5
  4. Cinnamon – 1
  5. Bay Leaf – 1
  6. Oil – 2 tbsp
  7. Fresh Cream – 1/2 cup
  8. Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
  9. Chilli Powder – 1 tsp

Instructions :-

  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan. When the oil is hot, add the cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf
  2. Once the spices release their aroma, add the onions and fry till translucent
  3. Then add the tomato, turmeric and chilli powder. Season with salt according to taste
  4. Fry till the tomatoes are cooked well
  5. In a blender, puree the above mixture
  6. Now again reheat the same pan with the blended mixture. Add fresh cream and mix well to combine.
  7. When it begins to boil, add the chicken kofta and give it a mix without breaking the kofta
  8. Your Chicken Koftas are ready.
  9. This dish pairs well will simple hot rice , pappads and a salad or even chappati / naans

 

Chettinad Milagu / Pepper Chicken

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Hello My Dear Wonderful Readers ,

So the festivities are just around the corner and I have tons of festive food recipes to share with you. But before that I would like to share this recipe. If you are the kind of person who loves rotti and chicken or plain rice and chicken, then this is the dish for you. Pepper chicken has been adapted to suit every taste bud around India. Infact every region has its own version of a pepper chicken. This recipe is from the chettinad region of India. Now the chettiyars are a class of people that loved money and had a fine eye for architecture. But personally I think their greatest contribution is their cuisine!  Every single dish has a distinct taste and unique flavour that keeps you coming back to it ever so often. This is one such dish. Traditionally, you would require a “arakal” to make this spice mixture but a mortar and pestle or even a blender would do the job. Another important aspect of this style of cooking is the fact that whole spices are used in the recipe and not the powder, this helps to enhance the pungency of the spices. Ok I have said enough about the dish. Here is the recipe. Do try it out and I promise that you will not be dissapointed!

 

 Ingredients :-
1. Pepper Corns – 2 tbsp
2.Cumin Seeds -2 tsp
3. Fennel Seeds – 2 tsp
4. Dry Red Chillies – 6
5. Ginger – 1
6. Garlic – 1+ 1/2
7. Coriander Seeds – 2 tbsp
8. Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp

Instructions :
 1. In a khadai, dry roast the above ingredients (except the turmeric powder, ginger and garlic). Take care not to burn the spices
2.Then in a mortar add the spice and the other ingredients and grind to a fine paste. Use 1 tbsp of water if required

Set Aside

 Ingredients :-
1. Chicken – 1 kg
2. Vegetable Oil – 1/2 cup
3. Cardamom – 5
4. Onions – 1 + 1/2 cup finelly chopped
5. Tomato Puree – 1 cup
6. Salt – to taste
7. Water – 2/3 cup

Instructions :-
1. In the same Kadai, heat oil. Once the oil is hot, add cinnamon, cardamom and onions. Mix well and let the onions fry till golden brown
2. Then add the tomato puree. Mix well to combine. Then add the ground up spices (above) and mix well. Cook on medium flame till the oil seperates from the mixture
3.  Then add the chicken into the masala mixture. Let it come to a boil. Then lower the heat, add 2/3 cup of water and cover and cook for 20 mins on low
4. After 20 mins, open the cover and crank up the heat and cook till all the water has evporated and the masala coats the chicken.
5. Your Chettinad pepper chicken is ready! Serve with hot rice or flaky malabar parathas!

Adapted from The Bangala Table